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7 Ways to Use Up Leftover Pasta

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Anyone who has ever cooked pasta knows how hard it is to get the portion size correct. So what to do with all of those leftover noodles? Soups, salads, and more are here to save the day. 

Quick to cook and easy to throw into almost anything, pasta is a great leftover to have on hand and these seven suggestions prove it. Be sure to choose whole wheat pasta to help you get your daily serving of whole grains. 

  • Stir-Fry - Nothing screams easy weeknight dinner like stir-fry. Just toss your preferred protein and veggies into a sauté pan or wok and serve over a bed of noodles. Drizzle with an umami-rich sauce to bring the whole dish together. 
    Photo: Brian Woodcock
  • Soup - Soup is the ultimate dish for using up leftovers, just take a look at minestrone for some inspiration. A pot of broth with some vegetables and meat can be turned into a hearty meal with the last-minute addition of cooked whole wheat pasta. 
  • Pasta Bake - Overcooking pasta is a culinary sin of the highest caliber, but cooking it then baking it? Well that just results in chewy, crunchy, and creamy goodness. Baked pasta allows you to load up on the veggies while using just the right amount of rich sauces and meats to add flavor. 
  • Jarred Salad - Mason Jar salads are perfect for quick grab-and-go lunches or tucking into a backpack to picnic. Orzo and other small pasta shapes make a great addition to these layered salads and will hold up well in the dressing at the bottom. 
  • Frittata - Pasta isn't just for dinner, it can add a twist to the classic breakfast frittata. Place cooked noodles in the baking dish before pouring the frittata egg mixture atop. Bake until fully firm. The result is a hearty and unique meal that can easily join the breakfast table rotation. 
    Photo: Jennifer Causey
  • Pasta Salad - Easy and ever-popular in the warmer months, pasta salad is a great way to use up noodles. Combine with sauce (whether cream or vinegar based), chopped vegetables, and fresh herbs to make a dish that no one would guess came from leftovers. 
  • Noodle Cup - Leftover al dente Asian noodles can make a satisfying lunch. Layer in a heat-proof jar with your choice of vegetables, kimchi, cooked chicken or tofu, and your desired condiments (we swear by a mix of low-sodium soy sauce, samal oelek, and rice wine vinegar). When lunch time rolls around, boil a little water and pour atop the noodles. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes, then dig in!