Don’t Throw Away Pasta Water: 7 Ideas to Reuse It

Once the spaghetti is in the sieve, the valuable pasta water has often disappeared down the drain. The starchy broth is far too good to simply throw away. Here are some ways you can use leftover pasta water in the kitchen or garden.

Whether as spaghetti, as fusilli, as homemade spaetzle; whether with pesto, tomato sauce or simply with garlic and oil: noodles and pasta are certainly among the most popular favorites on the dining table at home.

Pasta water? Too bad for the cast

And of course, just as often as the pasta is cooked, water must be heated to soften the pasta. What a lot of people don’t know: In the water pot, some of the nutrients from the noodles are also transferred to the water. But if the pasta water then simply disappears down the drain, the carbohydrates and minerals it contains are gone too.

A better idea: When you drain your pasta, catch the pasta water in a second saucepan or other container. You can still do this with the liquid:

1. Water flowers or plants with pasta water

Obvious and useful: Your plants are not only happy about ordinary water, but also about pasta water that has of course cooled down sufficiently. The plants also benefit from the minerals that have passed from the pasta into the cooking water. But beware: Only use unsalted pasta water for watering so that the plants are not damaged. Alternatively, mix pasta water with regular tap water and water your plants with it.

2. Soak lentils, chickpeas etc. in pasta water

Many legumes such as (red) lentils, raw peas, beans or chickpeas have to be soaked for a while before preparation so that they become digestible. Pasta water is good for this.

3. Pasta water as a base (or ingredient) for stews, soups & broths

Cornstarch is used anyway to thicken soups, stews and the like. What could be more obvious than using the carbohydrate-rich pasta water – or at least part of it – to cook a liquid dish out of it? For example, simply replace half the liquid you need for your soup with leftover pasta water. Here, too, the pinch of salt that is already in the liquid does not harm the result.

4. Pasta water as a base (or ingredient) for sauces

Of course, what applies to soups also applies to sauces: If you are making a pesto, a sauce or a dip with your pasta, use the (pre-salted) water that you already have on hand.

5. Use pasta water for baking recipes

What applies to soups and sauces also applies to other recipes that need liquid anyway. Think of baking instructions for bread or pizza dough, for example, which also benefit from the (extra) portion of salt.

6. More pasta water ideas

Of course, you can also cook rice or potatoes in the pasta water or use it to stir up mashed potatoes – although you probably already have a filling side dish on the table with the pasta.

Probably the better idea: Use the still hot pasta water immediately afterwards to steam cook fish, for example. Because: Cooking and steaming is not only delicious, but also protects the nutrients. Also read: Healthy nutrition: The most important tips and forms of nutrition

7. Use Pasta Water: Bonus Tips

1. Bonus tip: After cooking, rice water and potato water also have a similar composition to pasta water and contain a lot of starch. That’s why they can also be “overcooked” or used for watering flowers or plants.

2. Bonus tip: As you probably know, whole wheat pasta has better nutritional values ​​than products made from durum wheat. In comparison, whole grain pasta contains more fiber, iron, magnesium and vitamins than light-colored pasta. This means that the pasta water that comes from whole grain pasta also has (slightly) better nutritional values ​​than the cooking water from classic pasta.

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Written by Mia Lane

I am a professional chef, food writer, recipe developer, diligent editor, and content producer. I work with national brands, individuals, and small businesses to create and improve written collateral. From developing niche recipes for gluten-free and vegan banana cookies, to photographing extravagant homemade sandwiches, to crafting a top-ranking how-to guide on substituting eggs in baked goods, I work in all things food.

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