Healthy Cooking

5 Creative Leftover Rice Recipes—Because It’s the One Pantry Staple That Seems to Last Forever

Emily Laurence

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Photo: Candice Kumai

Some foods may have become precious commodities these past few weeks, but if there’s any food most people still seem stocked up on it’s rice. Those big bags can really last.

There’s a reason why rice is a popular staple food all over the world. It’s cheap, can be made in big batches, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and despite what carbo-phobes may tell you, it’s good for you. Rice has more than 15 key vitamins and minerals, and brown rice in particular is a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, and B vitamins.

Six-time healthy cookbook author Candice Kumai and Healthier Together author Liz Moody both say they often have containers of rice hanging out in their refrigerators post-meal prep. Here, they share five leftover rice recipes and give tips on using the staple in creative new ways.

Keep reading for 5 leftover rice recipes that are creative *and* healthy:

leftover rice recipes latte
Photo: Liz Moody

1. CHURRO rice milk LATTE

It may not look like it, but there’s leftover rice in this latte! “I love blending my leftover rice with water to make a quick and easy non-dairy milk,” Moody says. She uses a 1:4 rice-to-water ratio, putting both ingredients in the blender and blending until smooth. “You can strain it or use a nut milk bag for the ultimate smooth results, but often, I don’t even bother,” she says. Also in her churro latte: maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, sea salt, and cashew butter.

smoothie with leftover rice
Photo: Liz Moody

2. SUPER GREENS SMOOTHIE WITH LEFTOVER RICE

“Leftover rice is a great way to add bulk and creaminess to any smoothie,” Moody says.  “Just use whatever green smoothie recipe you like, and add the rice directly to the blender with your greens, fruit, and healthy fats. It’ll make it more filling and impart a lovely, thick texture.” If you’re looking for a recipe to follow, check out the one linked to above, which has spinach, cauliflower, banana, almond butter, cacao, cinnamon, and dates.

turmeric fried rice
Photo: Candice Kumai

3. TURMERIC FRIED RICE

If there’s anything that can give leftovers new life, it’s spices—and turmeric just might be the healthiest one in your pantry. “This is by far my most popular recipe using leftover grain,” Kumai says. “It’s based off my mom’s recipes. It’s magic when you learn to marry basic ingredients and turn them into something gratifying and delicious!”

Do turmeric’s health benefits really live up to the hype? Check out the verdict from an RD:

sweet potato bowl
Photo: Candice Kumai

4. ROASTED SWEET POTATO BOWL WITH CARROT-GINGER VINAIGRETTE

Another way to make leftover rice not taste like, well, leftovers is to incorporate a bright vinaigrette into the dish. When Kumai has rice leftover from dinner the night before, often she adds it right into her lunch, like with this sweet potato bowl. The vinaigrette, made with carrots, yellow onion, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger, is what gives the rice new flavor, while also complementing the orange tubers.

leftover rice recipes porridge
Photo: Candice Kumai

5. RICE PUDDING

Both Moody and Kumai say they like putting leftover rice into their breakfasts, mixing it with nut milk (or coconut milk for a little added sweetness) and topped with berries, Greek yogurt, and honey. The above recipe uses amaranth, but Kumai says any type of leftover rice will work too and it will taste just as yummy.

Join Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group for more healthy cooking ideas. And here’s what to do with leftover pasta.

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