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Turning leftovers into flavorful side dishes… using RICE.

I always cook too much rice.

On purpose.

Here’s why…

Cooked rice (brown or white) is wonderful leftover in a quick cold or room-temperature salad.  It absorbs flavors easily and can be turned into wonderfully flavorful dishes.

If you are cooking for a family – very often you will have small portions of leftover veggies from meals.  Not really enough to serve everyone again – but smaller bites that can be incorporated into another dish.  Save them!


With a mixture of leftovers and some fresh veggies/herbs – you’ll have a colorful side – or even a balanced main dish.  

Add a simple salad dressing and it will dazzle your taste buds.

The above rice salad was a combination of these LEFTOVER items:

  • cooked kidney beans with sausage
  • cooked swiss chard (chopped)
  • carrot & zucchini sautee

Here were my FRESH ADD-INS from the garden:

  • finely chopped lacinato (Tuscan) raw kale
  • sliced green onions
  • chopped fresh basil
  • baby currant tomatoes

Bring rice to room temperature, or warm slightly on the stove top (this will allow the rice to absorb the new flavors).  Toss in leftover beans, meats, veggies.  Chop and add in fresh veggies/herbs.  Make dressing and toss.


  • 1/2 tsp. Sea (or Kosher) Salt
  • 1/2 fresh garlic clove, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (approx. 1/8 cup)
  • Red Wine Vinegar & Fresh Lemon Juice (approx. 3 tablespoons total)
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or honey

For other dressing ideas, click here.

This rice salad was packed on a picnic at the lake.  We forgot our bowls, but used our half avocados instead! This one had cooked black beans, chopped carrots, red onions & cilantro – with a lime juice dressing.


Here’s a quick brown rice salad with cucumber, tomatoes, onion & basil.  Sometimes a sprinkle of salt, drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice is all you need.


Add toasted pine nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch and boost of protein.  Crumble some bacon on top or feta cheese… the possibilities are endless!

Remember… always cook too much rice.


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