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14 Ways to Give Your Rice or Pasta Dregs New Life

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Here's how to make that looming container of leftover rice or pasta even more exciting than the fresh stuff.



You did it! You made enough rice or pasta to get you through the week—but maybe now you feel like you would've been better off cobbling together a sandwich or something instead of doing all that planning (that is, getting yourself stuck with a looming container of leftovers). We asked the Hotline: How do you use up your leftover rice or pasta?

  • Get rid of your extra rice and whatever is lingering in your vegetable crisper by making fried rice.
  • Pasta and rice make mighty additions to frittatas.
  • Or freshen up a-few-days-old pasta with some fresh sauce, top with something cheesy, and bake as a casserole
  • You could also just bake a bunch of pasta into a big cake—like this Spicy Thai Basil Noodle Cake.
  • Add leftover pasta or rice to soup for something a little bulkier. 
  • Make it into dessert! Plain pasta lays the groundwork for noodle kugel, and Riddley reminds us that rice can easily be reborn as rice pudding
  • Turn it into a pasta or rice salad, says cv
  • Use rice to make arancini or supplì, suggests QueenSashy: Rewarm the rice with a bit of soup or milk—just enough so that it's creamy—and add grated cheese or cubes of mozzarella and beaten egg. Form the rice mixture into balls with wet hands, and dip them in beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden brown.
  • HalfPint shares a tip for reheating dried-out rice: "When the rice has dried out, steam it to rehydrate. The Vietnamese call it broken rice (which is cooked rice that has been purposely dried out, then steamed) and serve it with an assortment of grilled meats. It's called cơm tấm and there are restaurants that specialize in it."
  • Boulangere often cooks more rice than she needs—and just freezes it until she's ready for it.
  • AntoniaJames gives Green Rice a big endorsement.
  • Stuff peppers, zucchini, or tomatoes with rice (and vegetables and meat) before baking, like Kristen W.
  • Heat rice in some milk and eat it à la oatmeal.
  • Press rice into a cheesy crust and fill it with eggs for a quiche. 

Photo by James Ransom

Tags: dregs, pasta, rice, leftover