6 Recipes Making a Second Meal Out of Leftover Pasta

It’s easy to forget just how much pasta swells when it cooks, which means most of us end up with way too much of the starch for one meal. Throwing it out might be the easiest option, but that’s such a waste of food and money. That doesn’t mean you have to resort to nuking noodles in the microwave until they’re flabby and bland, though. These six recipes take a variety of different pasta shapes and show you how to transform them into something completely different. They’re also just as delicious as the first go-around was. When leftovers are this tasty, you might start cooking too much pasta on purpose.

1. Moroccan Pasta Salad

Couscous Salad with Mint

Moroccan pasta salad | iStock.com

Often confused for a grain, couscous is actually a tiny pasta shape. It’s perfect with some simply cooked fish or grilled chicken, but it’s easy to end up with tons of extra. Give that plain pasta a complete makeover with this Moroccan-spiced side dish from Saveur. The starch will absorb all the flavors from preserved lemon, olives, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin. This recipe features carrot and onion for veggies, but you can use up anything from roasted cauliflower to wilted spinach. To turn it into a main dish, stir in some cooked chicken or beans.


  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups Israeli-style couscous, cooked, and cooled
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup green picholine olives, pitted, and chopped
  • ½ cup preserved lemon, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions: In a large bowl, soak onion in lemon juice for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Toss, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.