What to Do with Leftover Wild Rice: A North American Guide

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Cooked wild rice in a skillet with a text "what to do with leftover wild rice"

There’s this semi-aquatic grass that grows in abundance in the North American continent. It’s a native grain and one of two that is commonly eaten in the United States. 

Wild rice…

Though, can we really call it that?

It isn’t like any of our Asian rice. Since it’s an aquatic grass seed, wild rice is technically a pseudo grain. 

But no matter how we categorize it, this doesn’t change the fact that its story is interwoven into the culture of the indigenous around the Great Lakes region.

The Ojibwe people are known for honoring wild rice through ceremonies. Manoomin or good berry, as they call it. 

To them, it shows the enduring spirit of the communities who contributed in sustainably managing wild rice for countless generations. 

Did that bit of information make you feel guilty about throwing your leftovers away? 

Well, it d*mn should. 

We both owe it to the Ojibwe and their years of hard work to figure out just what to do with leftover wild rice. Because to do otherwise is like tossing a piece of history!

A Flavorful Origin

Wild rice in wooden bowl with wooden background.

Wild rice is traditionally harvested in shallow freshwaters like lakes and rivers. Sustainable harvesting techniques are used in order to preserve the health of the wild rice beds.

Their natural habitat is also how they got their name. 

Because unlike the domesticated rice we’re all familiar with that grows in flooded paddies, wild rice grows in shallow freshwater areas (hence the “wild”). 

The rice’s earthy, nutty, and grassy flavor piqued the interest of fur traders during the 1600s. 

They incorporated it in their diets and started trading them, which helped in spreading it beyond the indigenous communities. 

Another point that should really make you rethink throwing your leftovers. It took a long (and fascinating) history for those to rich your plate. 

Might as well learn what to do with leftover wild rice. 

From Lakes to Plates

While some of you may question the uniqueness, it’s honestly the taste that adds to wild rice’s sophistication. 

It’s a far cry from white rice’s blandness, both in taste and appearance. Have I mentioned that wild rice comes in various colors depending on the variety and location?

There’s black, red, and brown.

But no matter what is left from yesterday’s meals, what to do with leftover wild rice will be an easy enough endeavor for you to do.

Just follow these three recipes:

Smoky Salmon + Wild Rice

Salmon and a cup of wild rice.

Equals one heck of a first recipe! And breakfast…


  • 2 cups of leftover wild rice
  • 4 oz of flaked salmon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup of chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp of softened cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp of chopped fresh dill
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Skillet
  • Spatula


  1. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium fire. Toss in the onion and bell pepper once the oil is hot and cook them for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the salmon and cook for another minute, just enough to warm it. 
  3. Push the veggies and salmon to the side, then add another drizzle of oil.
  4. Throw in the leftover wild rice and heat it for a couple of minutes. 
  5. Whisk the eggs and cream cheese in a bowl then season with salt and pepper. Pour in the center of the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Fold the wild rice mixture into the scrambled eggs and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  7. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Poblano Peppers + Wild Rice

Equals an explosion of flavors in a potluck!


  • 2 cups of leftover wild rice
  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • ½ cup of cooked black beans
  • ¼ cup of chopped corn
  • ¼ cup of chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup of crumbled queso fresco cheese
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Skillet
  • Spoon
  • Baking sheet


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prep the poblano peppers while waiting. 
  2. Cut off the tops and remove the seeds using a spoon (or your fingers, but I suggest wearing gloves).
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium fire. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or just until it’s fragrant. 
  5. Add the leftover wild rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, 
  6. Throw in the black beans and corn. Season with salt and pepper, then sauté for 1-2 minutes. 
  7. Remove the pan from heat and mix the cilantro. 
  8. Carefully spoon the rice mixture into the hollowed peppers. Make sure not to overstuff, the rice expands during baking. 
  9. Sprinkle the tops with cheddar cheese and queso fresco cheese. 
  10. Put the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. 
  11. Remove the peppers from the oven and let them cool before serving. 

Butternut Squash Soup + Wild Rice

Equals a cozy autumn night in a bowl (no matter the season)! 


  • 2 cups of leftover wild rice
  • 1 medium peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup of chopped sage
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 sliced shallots for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Immersion blender
  • Small skillet
  • Bowl


  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium fire. Add the butternut squash and onion then cook for about 10 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower the fire and simmer for 15 minutes or just until the squash becomes tender. 
  4. Add the almond milk and leftover wild rice to the pot. Mix everything for a couple of minutes. 
  5. Throw in the sage and season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Use the immersion blender to puree the soup until a smooth texture forms. If you want to adjust consistency, just add more milk or broth. 
  7. While the soup simmers, heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium fire. Add the shallots and cook them until they’re golden brown and crispy. 
  8. Garnish the soup with the shallots before serving.

Ending It with an All American Flair

Wild rice with salmon on top in white plate.

Did you enjoy our little trip up North? Because I sure did! 

The culinary journey may be wild, but it sure was worth the trouble of knowing what to do with leftover wild rice. 

No more fridge dwellers for you from now on. 

Because as we’ve proven time and time again, a little creativity can do wonders. 

Dig into that rich history of wild rice, foodies!

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