Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Help! I've Got Leftover Take-Out Rice and Don't Know What to Do with It

Leftover Take-Out Rice Salad
Do you leave all that extra rice at the Chinese place?  (What do they do with all that rice?  Make fried rice!)  When you pick up take-out and there's two of those "little" boxes stuffed to the gills with white rice, do you eat it all?  Do you soy sauce it up with a scrambled egg for breakfast? That's one idea.  Throw it in chicken broth with chopped green onions, a drop of soy sauce, and shredded deli chicken?  That's another.

Last night, in the warmth of a March day that thinks it's May in St. Paul, Minnesota,  my creative force held forth and as a side for a big piece of salmon that'll last us a couple of days, I made the rice salad you see up top.  Now I have lunch for a day or two as well. 

 Dream on, solo cooks; you can use quite of bit of what you have in your crisper or in your pantry.  It's quick, easy, and yummy.  Be creative, friends.  Sub pintos for the white or cannellini beans, cheddar for the feta, and  cilantro for the parsley; go Tex-Mex.   Try wine instead of wine vinegar if that's too strong for you.  Add tuna for a bigger meal.  Go on, fill 'er up.

leftover take-out rice salad
    4 servings (or cut in half for 2)

  • 2 cups leftover rice, cold or at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup each:  chopped green onions, diced zucchini or yellow squash, diced fennel, sweet red bell pepper, thawed green peas , or any combination of veg you like*
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and well-drained
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2T chopped capers, optional but lovely
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta  (could use diced cheddar) Leave out for vegan option
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Generous pinch each of salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper (or aleppo pepper is milder)
  • 2T good quality red vinegar (can sub 2 more T lemon juice)
  • 4T extra virgin olive oil 
  • cherry tomatoes for garnish 

 In a medium bowl, combine rice, vegetables, and beans.  Stir well.  Add parsley, capers, and feta.  Stir gently.  Squeeze lemon over all and season with salt and peppers.  Stir gently again and taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with vinegar and stir.  Drizzle olive oil over all, stir again, and garnish with tomatoes.  

*I added some leftover cooked chopped asparagus. 

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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