Any of these recipe ideas works for white or brown rice.
Eggs. Add the rice to omelets or frittatas, with or without leftover beans, capers, olives, sliced green onions and diced vegetables.
Fried Rice. This is what Chinese restaurants do with leftover rice. Simply toss the rice in a frying pan with some oil and the “mix-ins” (see the recipe is below). You can make your recipe as complex as you like, using whatever vegetables and cooked meats you have in the fridge.
We recently made a batch of fried rice with cilantro, cashews, edamame and pineapple. If you like hot and spicy foods, add minced jalapeños or hot sauce to your recipe. Fried rice is a wonderful opportunity to be creative and turn out a different recipe every time.
Rice Pudding. While rice pudding is typically made by cooking raw rice in milk, you can add milk, sugar and mix-ins to cooked rice. It’s our favorite use for leftover rice from Chinese food take-out. Simply combine the rice, just enough milk or cream to the top of the rice, sweetener and dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Add dried blueberries, cherries or raisins, a pinch of salt and an optional 1/8 teaspoon vanilla. Cook on the stovetop or the microwave. Serve hot or chilled. We like to garnish rice pudding with chopped pistachios.
Rice Salad. Make rice salad by adding any ingredients you have on hand: carrots, peas, bell pepper, green or red onion, fresh herbs, nuts. Use a vinaigrette dressing; for an Asian-style vinaigrette, combine 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil, with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You can serve it as a side, or on a bed of lettuce as a first course.
Seasoned Rice. If your leftover rice is relatively plain, kick it up a notch or two by adding other ingredients, such as those options in the rice salad above. It’s like fried rice but not fried; like rice salad but hot and without the dressing. We’re happy just mixing in fresh herbs and some toasted sesame seeds. For a real treat with roast poultry, make Persian rice with sour cherries (recipe).
Soups and Stews. You can add the rice to any soup or stew. For an artistic touch, use an ice cream scoop to place a mound of rice in the middle of a soup bowl. Garnish the top of the rice with some herbs, and spoon the soup around it.
Sandwich wraps. Season the rice, add it to the tortilla with other ingredients—beans, chicken, grilled or tofu. Seasonings can range from Asian ingredients (sesame seed, soy sauce) to herbs to red pepper flakes.
It’s easy to turn leftover rice into rice pudding. Photo courtesy UNK.
EASY FRIED RICE RECIPE
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons cooking oil
4 cups cold cooked rice
1-2 tablespoons light soy sauce or oyster sauce (an earthy, sweet and salty sauce)
2 green onions, washed and finely sliced
Other ingredients of choice (diced bell pepper, chicken, pork, sausage, etc.)
1. BEAT the eggs with the salt and pepper.
2. HEAT the oil in a frying pan or wok and add the eggs, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled. Remove, set aside and clean pan with a paper towel.
3. ADD 2 tablespoons oil, heat and add the rice. Stir-fry for a few minutes; then add the soy sauce.
4. ADD the scrambled eggs, combining thoroughly. Stir in the green onion and any other ingredients. Heat through and serve.