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Updated: Oct 11, 2020

This isn’t the first recipe I’ve shared to spruce up your leftover rice. But, this Leftover Makeover is certainly my favorite!

You’ve probably seen my Pumpkin & Mushroom Fried Leftover Rice recipe. If not, that is also a good way to give your leftover rice a makeover. But, this one right here is probably my favorite and the one I make the most. It’s not only easy to make, it’s also quite flavorful!

I mean... it’s pesto! Yum!

Don’t tell anyone, but I make this even when I don’t have leftover rice. I make a fresh batch. It is that good!

The process is quite easy. You first need to make my easy-peasy spinach walnut pesto, which requires very little oil. I use this stuff on EVERYTHING! All ingredients are listed in the recipe below. Then, sauté some sliced mushrooms before you mix everything together with your leftover rice.

Simple! And tasty!!

Serve this with your favorite protein. It goes quite well with very savory options like my Baked Sriracha Tofu or some grilled spicy vegan sausages, like I served mine today.

So, let’s get started!



  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach

  • 3 Tbsp walnuts

  • 3 large cloves garlic

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 Tbsp water (plus more as needed)

  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 to 4 Cups cooked rice of choice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Optional: vegan parmesan cheese for topping


  1. Start by making the pesto sauce. To a food processor , add the spinach, walnuts, 3 garlic cloves, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, olive oil and water.

  2. Process until finely chopped and everything is well incorporated. Add more water if too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Set aside.

  3. Heat a large or wok (you’ll be mixing the rice in here later) over medium high and add a bit of oil. Sauté the mushrooms until soft. Add the minced garlic and sauté until flagrant. Add additional seasoning, if desired.

  4. Add the cooked rice and pesto sauce to the pan and mix everything together. Cook until well incorporated and the rice is warmed through.

  5. Serve warm. Grate some vegan parmesan on top, if you’d like.

  6. Enjoy

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