Recipes for Latin American Christmas leftovers

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By Emma Le Breton

26 December 2021


With the Christmas season bringing food in abundance, using up all of those leftovers may seem like a daunting challenge.


Here is a list of Latin American-inspired meals, made from traditional Latin Christmas leftovers - so there’s no need for any of that old lunch to go to waste.


Tostones to salad bowls


Prepared for holiday gatherings throughout Latin America, deliciously crunchy, fried tostones are an incredibly easy dish to reuse.


They can find themselves topping salads for added crunch, or chopped up and mixed through a salad bowl for extra fibre.


Mojo cirillo, often used alongside tostones, can also be added to a salad for a garlicky vinegar dressing.


Salad with tostones photo by: Host The Toast


Panatone to cake pops


Despite originating in Italy, Panatone has done the rounds across Latin America, becoming a Christmas staple for a number of homes.


Even when stale, panatone can be blended or ground into crumbs and mixed with icing or condensed milk to create a sweet and fruity cake on a stick.


The added moisture immediately rejuvenates the batter and creates a dense ball that can be dipped in chocolate, or left as is.


Mixing in a little coquito is a great way to give these pops a coconut rush, whilst also using up those extra drinks!


Panettone cake pops photo by: The Panettone


Tamales to tacos


You wouldn’t want to waste all the hard work put into making this quintessential Latin Christmas food, by not knowing where the leftovers should go.


If you’re not a fan of freezing tamales, to warm up another time, then the stuffing makes an easy, preflavoured morsel to break up and put in many other dishes throughout the season.


Applicable in tacos, as a source of protein for Mexican fried rice, on nachos, salad, or even in empanadas, tamales are a diverse source of flavour!


The stuffing brings a different texture and flavour to these original meals, without losing the gist of the dish.


Tacos and tamales photo by: Coast Packing Company


Mashed yuca to stuffed peppers


Mashed yuca even with almost any vegetables, cheese or spices included, is a fantastic filler for stuffed peppers.


The yuca can line the outside or bottom of the pepper soaking in the flavours from the other fillings, whilst giving a creamy texture, or can be used as the only ingredient for a dense dish.


Stuffed peppers photo by: Yum of China


Vegetables to empanadas


All of those leftover vegetables can find a home in the pockets of empanadas, bringing together flavours and textures that can’t seem to be used up elsewhere.


Adding any leftover spices and sauces to these packets is an easy way to add flavour without buying more ingredients!


Vegetable empanadas photo by: PCRM Everything to PASTA!


From a Mexican seafood pasta to a spiced polenta bake, all of those veggies, meats, sauces, and spices can be absorbed into delicious meals which can feed a whole family.


Pasta doesn’t discriminate when it comes to leftovers, with a dish already made for almost any food, and a base flavour that accepts almost all others as complimentary.


A pasta dish full of Christmas favourites is hard to pass up.


Mexican pasta photo by: Well Plated by Erin