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Over half of Brits prefer Christmas leftovers to the main meal – yet 90 million plates are thrown away on average each year*

  • 90 million plates of Christmas leftovers are thrown away on average every year*, despite more than half the population saying they prefer them to the main meal
  • Asda has partnered with TV presenter and foodie Sam Nixon to create three delicious new recipes that hero the most thrown-away or hard-to-use festive leftovers
  • Give new life to leftovers with Yorkie doughnuts, risotto with a stuffing crumb and a brie-topped vegetable bake that can’t be missed!
December 22, 2022 09:59am
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At the most wonderful time of the year, for many the food takes centre stage when it comes to Christmas. Yet whilst we all love a Christmas dinner, leftovers are inevitable and new research from Asda shows that on average 90 million* plates of leftover food are thrown away each year after the big day.

To help make leftovers go further this Christmas, Asda has partnered with Celebrity MasterChef finalist, Sam Nixon, to create three delicious new recipes that are a far cry from the standard leftover recipes that grace people’s social media feeds post-Christmas. Each recipe is easy to make and takes no longer than approximately 25 minutes. From Yorkshire pudding doughnuts to risotto with a stuffing crumb and a brie-topped Brussels sprouts bake, these recipes will give a new lease of life to the nation’s festive leftovers.

All three recipes have been developed to hero the foods that people find the hardest to use or are most likely to be thrown away. When it comes to the most disposed of festive food, the ever-divisive Brussels sprouts (20%) top the list for people who have leftovers followed by broccoli (15%), cabbage (15%), and cauliflower (14%). More than 1 in 10 of those who have leftovers say they find it hard to use or throw away their leftover Yorkshire puddings (13%), cranberry sauce (14%) and stuffing (13%).

Asda’s research also showed that lunch was the most popular time for people to enjoy festive leftovers, with more than a third (37%) citing this as their favourite and 2.9 million Brits say they prefer to have their Christmas leftovers for breakfast!**

A nation of leftover lovers, almost two-thirds of those who have leftovers (64%) say they enjoy Christmas leftovers more than the main Christmas dinner itself. However, whilst the likes of turkey curry or a turkey and ham pie may seem the obvious choice, more than a third say they don’t enjoy or wouldn’t eat these dishes (35% and 34% respectively).

Sam Nixon, TV Presenter and Foodie says: “Christmas is a time for enjoying great food with family and friends, however we’re all guilty of having eyes bigger than our stomachs at this time of year! That’s why I’ve partnered with Asda to help people get the most out of their leftovers this Christmas and avoid throwing out any perfectly good portions. It’s been so much fun developing these recipes and trying to do something different than the usual turkey curry!”

An Asda spokesperson says: “We know food waste can be an issue at Christmas and with the rising cost of living people will be looking for ways to make their food go further. We hope these exciting leftover recipes will give people inspiration on what to do with their surplus food which may have otherwise been thrown away and help them enjoy their delicious leftovers all the way to New Year!”

Find full details on the delicious recipes below and online at https://www.asda.com/good-living

Leftover Parsnip and Chestnut Risotto topped with a Sage and Stuffing Crumb

A creamy and delicious dish that gives a new life to leftover veggies!

Ingredients - Serves 4

2 tablespoon olive oil

½ white onion, finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

350g Arborio rice

Optional: 1 small glass of leftover fizz or white wine

1.5 litre vegetable stock (use as needed)

250g leftover roasted parsnips - cubed

1 handful of leftover cooked chestnuts - finely chopped

1 knob of salted butter

Freshly milled black pepper and salt to taste

100g cooked leftover stuffing

4 sage leaves, finely chopped

20g Parmesan, grated


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan with a lid and cook white onion and celery for 1-2 minutes, add garlic and cook for a further minute. Add in rice and stir, pour in leftover fizz, or wine (if using) and bring to a boil.

Slowly incorporate the vegetable stock, stirring well at a simmer. Cook for a total of 15 minutes until the rice is al dente.

Stir in cooked parsnips and chestnuts and season with a knob of butter, salt, and pepper. Cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small pan and fry off sage leaves and cooked stuffing to a crumb-like consistency and golden brown.

Serve Risotto in bowls topped with generous helpings of stuffing and sage mix and a sprinkle of grated parmesan.

Leftover Ham, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprout & Brie Bake

The ultimate cosy brunch dish to warm you up after a long walk with loved ones. Think cauliflower cheese meets potato gratin - YUM!

Ingredients - Serves 4

200g cooked gammon - chopped into lardon-size pieces

750g leftover cooked cauliflower - broken into florets

250g leftover cooked brussels sprouts - finely chopped

50g butter

40g plain flour

500ml semi-skimmed milk

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

75g cheddar cheese - grated

165g leftover Brie - sliced


Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Layer the leftover cooked cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and gammon into an oven-proof dish

To make the cheese sauce, use a small saucepan and melt the butter over a medium heat. Turn down to a low heat and stir in the flour for 1 minute until cooked.

Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth and then (still whisking) bring to a simmer. Add in the French mustard and grated Gruyere cheese.

Pour the sauce over the ham, cauliflower and brussels sprouts and then top with slices of leftover Brie. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve with cranberry sauce for an extra special festive treat!

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon sugar ‘yorkie doughnuts' made with leftover Yorkshire puddings

Give leftover Yorkshire Puddings a new lease of life with this deliciously sweet and spiced dessert

Ingredients - Makes 4

4 leftover Yorkshire Puddings

100g dark chocolate

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp Demerara Sugar

Optional, to serve: 4 scoops of Vanilla Ice cream


Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Place the leftover Yorkshire puddings on a wire rack and put in the oven for 3-5 mins to reheat thoroughly.

In the meantime, melt dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Combine the Demerara sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Once the Yorkshire puddings are hot, spoon over melted chocolate and dip in cinnamon sugar mix. Serve and enjoy!

For an added treat, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in each yorkie doughnut

*The average number of plates thrown away each year based on research findings which showed that the average number of plates thrown away is 1.7 multiplied by 54,098,971 (ONS population estimate) multiplied by 98% (those who have leftovers).

** 5.5% (those who prefer leftovers for breakfast) x 54,098,971 (ONS population estimate).

Survey completed by Cenuswide between 14.11.2022-16.11.2022. 2017 Nat Rep General Consumers surveyed.

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