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Doing more with: leftover rice

Fried rice with shredded cabbage and lime

For the record, I have never been great at cooking a pot of white rice. We almost always eat brown rice, and I am infinitely worse at cooking a decent batch of whole-grain rice using just a pot, some water and the stove. I broke down last year and bought a cheap rice cooker, and I no longer grow fearful when I look at dishes that beg for an accompanying pile of steaming, fluffy rice.

In fact, it’s so much easier now for me to make larger batches of rice than I need for the meal at hand.

The leftover portion always provides a great opportunity to exercise some creativity in the kitchen–not to mention a break from the usual lunch fare–the next day.

Most often, I make a quick fried rice that uses up all the other leftover bits I’ve got laying around. I have never used a recipe, but here‘s one that’s pretty close to what I do. I saute the vegetables I’m using before I add the rice, and I keep them in the pan with the rice to make things move faster. I have used everything from eggplant to leftover shredded cabbage in here.

A fried-rice lunch is certainly not the only reason to be happy if you find yourself with extra portions of rice after an evening meal or an order of takeout. Here are some other ideas:

  • Eat it for breakfast. Heat it up with some milk, or just add some yogurt, and season it like you would oatmeal.
  • Make rice pudding. You can do this with either brown or white rice.
  • Throw it in something else. Soups, stuffed peppers or mushrooms and any number of casseroles can benefit from an addition of leftover rice.
  • Pie crust – this works especially well for quiche and other savory pies. Here is one recipe.
  • Make a salad. Toss with your favorite dressing and the best you can pull together from your crisper drawer and pantry. A chopped hard-boiled egg is nice in this.
  • Not feeling inspired? Don’t forget that cooked rice freezes well. Put it in a freezer bag or container and it will last for about six months.

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