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Revive your leftover rice!
Leftover rice is one of my favorite foods to revive, re-create, or reimagine its entire purpose. And this time it’s leftover Jamaican Rice and Pigeon Peas. And the revival comes with a shower of sweet, savory, bitter fried onions, caramelized roasted carrots, and fragrant fresh parsley. A quick and easy dressing made with the oil used to fry the onions pulls everything together. Pretty cool, right?!
Revive any leftover by elevating a few basic ingredients
The key to reviving an old dish is giving a little T.L.C. to the simple ingredients you add to it. Basically, it’s all about using the right seasonings and techniques to impart the most flavor, color, and texture.
In this recipe, I use simple seasonings to let the natural flavors of the veggies to shine through. And the methods include frying and roasting to provide texture and maximize flavor in reduced cooking time.
How to elevate simple ingredients:
- USE SEASONED RICE/GRAIN–for a delicious foundation. In this case, the rice I used had a mild coconutty, herby, spicy essence which pairs well with both sweet and savory flavors.
- ROAST THE VEGGIES–simply season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to bring out the natural sweetness. Roast them to get that yummy caramelization and charred edges. Roasted carrots add a hearty, firm bite to the dish.
- FRY UP THOSE ONIONS–to provide crunchy texture, a variation of color, and a savory, sweet, and bitter flavor profile—making the dish a bit more complex.
- MAKE DRESSING FROM THE FRYING OIL–combine the onion-infused frying oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon grain mustard, and honey to add moisture and bring harmony to the dish.
- ALWAYS ADD FRESH HERBS–because they add freshness and make anything look gourmet! Or, blend them up with some oil to make a gorgeous herb oil.
Check out the recipe notes for more tips and alternative ingredients.
As you can see, just by tweaking a few basic ingredients you can have a gourmet revamp on an old leftover. That’s how you reign in the kitchen, boo!
Eat well, my friend.
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- 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 TB grapeseed oil for frying (reserve post-fry)
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp salt
Onion Oil Dressing
- 1 1/2 TB reserved onion-infused oil
- 1 TB red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon grain mustard
- 1/2 tsp honey
- Pinch of salt and pepper
Leftover Rice (or Grain of Your Choice)
- 4 c cooked rice (leftover Jamaican Rice and Pigeon Peas was used in my version)
- 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
- Cooking spray
- Roast the carrots. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray it with cooking spray. Place the sliced carrots onto the baking sheet in a small pile. Season them with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking time (set your timer for 10 minutes so you don't forget)).
- Fry the onions. While the carrots are roasting, place a large skillet on medium heat and add the grapeseed oil. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the sliced onions. As they turn golden, toss them frequently to avoid burning but making sure they become crispy (it's okay if some of them become dark brown). Turn off the stove, remove the skillet from the heat, and place the fried onions on paper towels to drain. Keep the oil!
- Make the dressing. Carefully pour the onion-infused oil into a small jar. Add all of the remaining items listed under the Onion Oil Dressing ingredients. Shake vigorously until the ingredients have emulsified and look like, well...dressing!
- Reheat the rice and toss it all up. Add your leftover rice to a large microwave-safe bowl and reheat in the microwave (about 2-3 minutes on high power). Next, add the parsley, carrots, dressing, and 2/3 of the fried onions. Toss together. Garnish with the remaining onions, more parsley, and feta (if desired).
- Grains: Any other grain will do! Feel free to use whatever you have--quinoa, couscous, farro, barley, etc. would all be great options.
- Veggies: Other great alternatives to carrots would be eggplant, sweet potato, or butternut squash. I recommend cutting them into a medium dice before roasting as they may become too mushy if sliced. Also, add a little bit more oil because these alternative veggies tend to suck up oil more than carrots.
- Herbs: No parsley, no worries! Arugula would be excellent in this dish.
Alternative Cooking Methods
- Air fry the onions. Just coat them lightly with salt and oil before air frying them at 375-400 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes. (Every air fryer is different, so adjust it to whatever temperature you would use normally to make fries.)
- Pan-fry the carrots. If you choose this option, just make sure to sear the carrots at a high temperature to caramelize them. Then, remove them from the heat and cover them so they can steam and finish cooking. This is so you don't overcook them and end up with mushy carrots.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 336mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used. I am not a doctor, nor a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. Please consult your personal physician with any questions you may have regarding your own health and diet.
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