Lunch Slaw… how I made a simple meal from scraps and leftovers. 

colourful, tasty, inspired, grateful

When it feels like you have no food to make a filling meal, you’ll be thankful for not having wasted any along the way. I always save every little leftover ingredient or dish and get the deepest joy out of creating something new with them another day.


Last updated Jun 21, 2024 at 1:40PM | Published on Oct 16, 2019

pumpkin 999

 So you’re thinking what can I make for lunch? The fridge looks bare.

Thing is I quite like this. I have to say I relish the challenge when Paul says – go on.. make one of your great meals ‘out of nothing’ ! The other thing I love to do is re-use left-overs in a different way. This time, I got to do both.

We were setting off to see family and friends the next day so I was running down the consumables in the fridge. It looked pretty bare and I had 2 days to go ! This quote from Oprah Winfrey was also on my mind, so see how I did it below. The only reason I’m sharing this is because Paul loved it so much – now that’s praise enough for me. If he likes it, I’m happy, and I’m pretty sure anyone would be then !

 Tools & Tips



A hand blender ( do you have a good one ?) It’s simple and fast, and easy to clean as you go.

I used the Bamix Swissline hand blender with it’s chopping bowl ( they call it the processor, or wet and dry mill) for grinding thehard cheese almost to a powder.

I could have used the blender stick in general to mix the ingredients for the sauce, but actually I was able to just beat it a bit with a fork in a bowl, as I wanted some texture to remain.



We always try to have essentials topped up in the fridge and cupboards – so the cupboards are never really bare and you can easily make a meal by adding to the little fresh food you have. Essentials for us can be…

In the fridge…

I always like to have a soft mixing ingredient that will take me in any direction… a spice based paste, a miso one, a mustard (usually dijon), a tahini, a spicy tomato sauce (there are many variations !) and there’s usually some leftover vinigrette.

Something creamy… maybe some mayo, and I keep a light cream cheese for quick aperitif snack making, or maybe there’s some long life cream in there that Paul likes to buy ! And, something cheesy – there’s usually a hard cheese of some sort in there, usually at least a parmesan.

Something citrus, like lemons, oranges or orange juice… and limes if possible.
Something meaty like bacon lardons or dried meat.

In the cupboard…

We always have jars of nuts handy. Also jars of seeds, spices, herbs, powders… all sorts ! Bottles of oils and vinegars. Some dried fruit, dried mushrooms, and some tins of tomato, tuna, and maybe backup jars or  tins for when I don’t have fresh corn or beans handy.


Servings : 2    |   Prep Time : 10 mins     |    Cooking  Time :  0 mins     |   Difficulty : 1/5

My little Ingredients

  • some white cabbage
  • some red cabbage
  • very little red onion !
  • 1 green apple ( i use 3/4 of it here)
  • some grated carrot ( not necessary but nice for colour !)
  • handful of walnuts ( or other nuts, but I did walnut because I knew it worked in the roquefort salad reference )
  • a few inches of strong hard cheese (I used a local one… needs to have some bite ! )
  • a dollop of vinaigrette ( if not home-made then, thousand island or ranch dressing would be good too )
  • a heaped dessert spoon of cream cheese ( I use Philadelphia light )

Optional ingredients

1. raisins or chopped dates or apricots ( I would have automatically added these to a slaw but Paul doesn’t like dried fruits !)

2. Sunflower seeds or green pumpkin kernals just for an added chew and crunch.

My method

1. Thinly slice of grate the veggies and mix up together in a large bowl.


2. Slice about half to 3/4 of the apple into matchsticks and add to the vegetable salad bowl. (You don’t need any more and see what I did in the next recipe below with the leftovers !)


3. Slice thinly a few slices of red onion and dice… add to salad bowl


4. Add a handful of roughly chopped walnuts to the bowl and mix around everything around.


5. Finely grate or grind the hard cheese in a hand blender chopping bowl.


6. In a small bowl, beat mix the dollop of vinegrette and the cream cheese to a paste. Then add the ground cheese. Taste and if necessary, add more of each ingredient to suit you taste.


7. Add the cheesy mix into the shredded vegetable salad. Mix and serve.


I’m sure we’ve all heard this said in different ways, and it’s so true.
Whatever you focus on… gets more concentrated. .
Whatever you see…. gets bigger.and brighter.
Whatever you feel… gets stronger … until you’re full.

So don’t focus on what you don’t have, or what you don’t see or what you don’t feel.

This was one of our last meals before we set off for the weekend ! What an abundance of food we had… when we focused on what we saw in that ‘empty’ fridge rather than what we didn’t see… boy did we feel full after! 


Bonus snack recipe.


I can’t believe this went even further ! I had some cheesy sauce left over, as well as some vinegrette and hard cheese (from the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura), and a little Feta. I don’t like to waste, so here’s what I did. First I had a peek at recipe for the corny cheesy snack I love to make,  and then kind of adapted it.


Cheesy Corn Cabbage snack

Wrap it up and enjoy 4 or 5 crunchy mouthfuls – delish !



1. I used a wee tin of corn and fried it in butter to make it brown and delicious.
3. I made up some more cheesy mix and added it to the leftover I had already.
4. Cut the leftover 1/4 apple into cubes about the size of the corn, or mush it with a hand blender.

5. I tore some of the outer leaves off the remaining white cabbage to use as wraps for my mix.

6. I mixed the warm cooked corn with the cheesy mix and the apple.

7. Added a sprinkle of cayenne and mixed it up.

8. Cut some cubes of feta and store cupboard sunflower seeds and lightly mixed those in.

9. Put a spoonful in each cabbage leave and serve in the cabbage leaf as a wrap

 What’s your magic meal made from nothing?

I’d love to know ! Please do tell us in the comments below.


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