Healthy in a Hurry: 6 Ways to Use Leftover Cooked Grains

published Sep 14, 2012
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Making big batches of grains and refrigerating or freezing the leftovers not only maximizes your time in the kitchen, it also makes throwing together a healthy meal on a busy weeknight a lot easier. And once you have them on hand, there are plenty of ways to incorporate cooked whole grains into your meals. Here are six!

1. Add them to soups. Chewy whole grains add a new textural dimension and extra nutrition to any type of soup or stew. Beyond chicken and rice, try barley in split pea soup or farro in a hearty minestrone.

2. Toss them in salads. You can either use cooked grains as the basis for a hearty grain salad, or add grains to a vegetable- or bean-based salad, like this chickpea, barley and zucchini ribbon salad.

3. Bulk up frittatas. For a stick-to-your-ribs frittata, add a handful of cooked grains along with whatever vegetables or meat you are using.

4. Use them in stir-frys. You can either make a version of fried rice with any cooked grains you have on hand, or add a smaller amount of grains to a vegetable-heavy stir-fry. Either way, you’ll have a tasty one-dish meal.

5. Turn them into porridge. Add extra water to already-cooked grains and simmer until soft for a comforting porridge that is good topped with brown sugar for breakfast or cooked vegetables and a poached egg for dinner.

6. Transform them into pancakes. Bind the grains together with a little egg and flour, and crisp them up on the griddle for wholesome pancakes that can be eaten alone or topped with vegetables or a sauce. Gourmet has a great recipe for quinoa cakes topped with eggplant-tomato ragu (pictured above).

How do you use leftover cooked grains?

(Image: Romulo Yanes/Gourmet)