Have you ever cooked brown rice and ended up with four cups left over? If so, you may have just gotten a head start on some tasty meals for the rest of your week. Here are five ways to maximize your leftovers, as well as our go-to recipes to help you get started.
Why Choose Whole Grains?
You may notice that eating a portion of brown rice fills you up faster than a similar portion of white rice. This is because whole grains help keep you more full and satisfied than their refined counterparts. Whole grains have most of their fiber intact, which is usually taken out during processing. On top of that, whole grains can lower your cholesterol, help you sleep better and relieve stress, too. In general, aim to make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains. Now, here are five great ways to make use of any whole grain leftovers.
1. Stuffed Peppers
The filling in many stuffed pepper recipes is some combination of grains and protein. Use leftover cooked grains to shave some prep time off these tasty recipes:
- Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers
- Barley Stuffed Peppers with Cheese
- Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale and Rice
- 5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Stuffed Peppers
- Loaded Breakfast Stuffed Peppers
2. Fried Rice (or Other Grain)
All you need is soy sauce, veggies and eggs to turn leftover cooked grains into takeout-worthy fare. Try this fried rice recipe as a starting point. Add any fresh or frozen veggie you have on hand, as well as the protein of your choice. You can also experiment with using different whole grains like barley, quinoa and farro. Here are great go-to variations:
- Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Quinoa “Fried Rice”
- Farmers Market Fried Rice
- Thai Fried Rice
- Asian Edamame Fried Rice
Photo Credit: EatingWell
A frittata is a quick and easy way to use up leftover veggies and herbs, and adding some cooked grains can turn it into a one-dish meal with just the right amount of complex carbs. Here’s a simple frittata recipe to use as a guideline. Or try these:
If you tend to shy away from salads because they’re not-so-filling, try adding a whole grain to bump up the satisfaction. Our favorite grain-filled salads include:
- Farmhouse Farro Salad
- Brown Rice Greek Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
- Broccoli Quinoa Salad
- Roast Chicken and Pomegranate Farro Salad
- Southwest Quinoa Salad
Cooked grains are the perfect ingredient to bulk up a homemade veggie burger. Whole grains work best because they have a firm texture when cooked. Combine the grain of your choice with a few kitchen staples like beans and spices for a quick, filling meal. Here are a few of our favorite grain-based burgers:
- Spiced Millet and Chickpea Burgers
- Epic Quinoa Veggie Burger
- Lentil-Barley Burgers with Fiery Fruit Salsa
This post was originally published on April 6, 2016. It was last updated on June 17, 2017.