One of the things I love about cooking with whole grains—in addition to amazing nutritional value—is the versatility and the myriad possibilities of creating great new dishes from leftovers. This month I’ve taken one large pot of plain brown rice and turned it into six meals. Here’s how:
First, make an extra-large batch of plain brown rice (short or medium grain). Start with 3 cups of dry rice and 5½ cups of water; you’ll end up with close to 9 cups of cooked rice. Enjoy the brown rice the first night with stir-fried vegetables and a protein of choice (tofu, nuts, organic chicken, or fresh fish)—this is meal number one.
Then, while you’re cleaning up dinner, make a batch of Sun Burgers (see recipe below). Keep a few in the refrigerator for a lunch during the week (meal two) and freeze the rest for future use (meal three). Make some of the mixture into “meatball”-sized shapes and enjoy a dinner of whole-wheat spaghetti and “sunballs” with marinara sauce (meal four). Cool 2 cups of the cooked rice and follow the recipe below for a delicious rice and nut salad—add a fresh green salad and you have a wonderful lunch (meal five).
Finally, with the last of the cooked rice, soak 1 cup overnight in 1 cup of soy or rice milk, plus some chopped dried fruit (dates are my favorite), a few chopped raw almonds, and 1 teaspoon of cardamom. In the morning, heat the rice and add more liquid (either milk or water) until rice is warm and creamy. Add a banana or some fresh-picked blueberries and you have a hearty and nutritious breakfast. (meal 6).
Makes 4 burgers plus 12–16 sunballs.
3 cups cooked brown rice
4 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup washed and chopped parsley
1 cup grated raw carrots
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon each of ground cumin and onion powder (optional)
In a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds until well crushed (but not paste). Add remaining ingredients except rice and blend until well combined. Add rice and pulse until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Using wet hands, shape the mixture into burger and balls. Burgers and sunballs can be baked on an oiled baking sheet or heated in a skillet with a small amount of oil. Both freeze well; thaw before cooking.