Leftovers Hack: Fried Rice

I hate to waste food. Minimizing food waste is one of the greenest things we can do. When I waste food, I am not just wasting the food itself, but the labor, water, and land use that went into the food; the labor and fuel it took to get the food from the farm to my plate; and the money I spent on the food. On top of that, I also consider the pollution and, when I am not eating organic, the pesticides that growing my food required. I don’t even want to talk about what I am throwing away when I waste meat.

I really can’t.

Thinking about how to use my perishable food items consumes a good chunk of my mental energy, and it took me a long time to learn to shop and plan for meals. And I still end up wasting food sometimes! That is why I always appreciate a good recipe for using up leftovers.

Fried rice is kind of amazing in that you can put almost anything in it and it is a great dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Skeptical about breakfast fried rice? Put bacon in it and get back to me.

For this recipe, I used the leftover rice from my failed sticky rice buns, and the leftover brisket and slaw from my beef brisket abode recipe. I also threw in the other half of the cabbage that I did not use in the spicy slaw.

Dressing the cabbage with fish sauce and letting it sit while prepping the shallots and garlic adds umami flavor to the otherwise bland vegetable. I know I said I was going to cut back on specialty ingredients, but I truly believe fish sauce should be a part of any fully-stocked pantry. If you do not have fish sauce, soy sauce will do until you can remedy the situation.

Most leftover meats and veggies work in fried rice, though it doesn’t need meat at all. Give fried rice a try next time you find yourself with a few Tupperware containers of various leftovers that need to be used up or stretched! Fried rice using leftovers.

Fried Rice

4 tbs olive oil

1/2 small head of cabbage, core removed and cut into shreds (other veggies will do too)

2 tbs fish sauce, soy sauce can substitute

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

2 cloves garlic

1 shallot

About 2 cups leftover rice, fresh rice can substitute

Leftovers, meat and veggies (optional)

Fried rice with leftover beef brisket adobo

Put cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and fish sauce.

Heat 1 tbs olive oil on high heat in a wok or large frying pan.

Lightly beat eggs with 1 tbs olive oil. Pour into wok, and cook until edges begin to set, less than 1 minute. Push eggs gently around the pan, folding them over occasionally until they are just cooked. Do not brown. This should take another minute, possibly 2 minutes. Remove eggs from pan and set aside.

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in wok. Add cabbage, shallots, and garlic. Cook until shallots begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice, meat, additional leftovers, and eggs. Toss and stir ingredients, breaking up the egg, until rice and any leftovers are warmed through.

Serve with soy sauce if desired.

If you want to pin this recipe to make later, here are some snazzy pins I made!

Fried rice pin from Baboy Club NYC
Pin this fried rice recipe!
Fried rice pin from Baboy Club NYC
Pin me to use up leftovers later!

7 thoughts on “Leftovers Hack: Fried Rice

    1. I’m glad I’m not alone in my anxiety!! Do you have any recipes or hacks for minimizing food waste? Put a link in the comments and I’ll try it! 🙂


      1. North Indians can make paranthas (fried breads) out of everything :). Anything less than a bowl in my fridge at night gets stuffed in a parantha in the breakfast :).


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