25 New Ways to Spice Up Rice


Pop quiz: What's a naturally shelf-stable, impressively inexpensive ingredient that most of us have in bulk on our pantry shelves? The answer? Rice! Whether white, brown, purple, wild, basmati, jasmine, or you name it, rice is a filling side dish when served plain with many of our favorite meals. Spiced up, you might find yourself using rice for many more recipes than you ever imagined — even whole dinners. (See also: Best Rice Cookers)

1. Fried Rice

Do you often order fried rice out because you think you can't replicate it at home? Think again. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make perfect Vegetable Fried Rice every time — and it's easier than you might imagine.

2. Rice Pilaf

This Mexican Rice Pilaf is as gorgeous as it is flavorful. With a number of spices and seasonings, including cumin, chilies, and cilantro, it would make a fast weeknight meal or even serve as a suitable side, according to the author, at your holiday dinner table.

3. Coconut Lime Rice

Looking for the epitome of simple, but satisfying? Use full fat coconut milk for the richest flavor in this Coconut Lime Rice. It goes wonderfully with Thai entrees, but could even serve as the base of a meal with some steamed or fried veggies to top things off.

4. Rice Stew

With just five ingredients, this Sausage and Rice Stew is both cheap and easy to make. Oh, and did I mention it comes together in less than 30 minutes? Time is money, people! (See also: 25 Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes)

5. Yellow Rice

This bright Turmeric Rice With Peas is a vibrant addition to any meal. You may even have all the ingredients already in your pantry. Add dried Italian spices for some extra kick and use frozen peas to make everything budget friendly. (See also: 20+ Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Veggies)

6. Green Rice

If you're looking to sneak in some veggies, this classic Arroz Verde has a twist. Whereas similar dishes rely heavily on cilantro for color, this one packs a hefty punch of spinach as well, making it an easy way to get in more greens for the day.

7. Rice Soup

There are lots of tasty spices in this Chicken Rice Soup — cinnamon, paprika, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, and more. Plus, sweet potatoes and spinach give the whole meal some special superfood powders, making it a particularly healthy bowl as well.

8. Sweet Rice

Want to make something unique for that upcoming potluck? Try this Coconut Mango Rice Pudding. It's spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla and punctuated with chunks of healthy mango for natural sweetness. (See also: Weird and Wonderful Ways to Use Rice)

9. Tomato Rice

Need to use up some produce before it goes bad? Add whatever veggies you have in your fridge to this basic Tomato Rice dish, and you've got a full meal. You can easily adjust the spice level of this recipe by seeding the jalapeno pepper (or not, if you're a heat-lover like me).

10. Vegetarian Rice Bowl

For this Vegetarian Mixed Rice Bowl, all you need is a single cup of rice per person. From there, the veggies and vegetarian proteins take over, making it an easily customizable meal that comes together in a flash. The author offers up a number of garnish options to salivate over, too.

11. Pesto Rice

Served hot or cold, this Pesto Rice Salad can stand on its own as a starter or as accompaniment to the main course. If you're pressed for time, skip the pesto recipe and purchase some at your local grocery store. (See also: 21 Uses for Jarred Pesto)

12. On-the-Grill Rice

Cooking out? This tangy Grilled Rice dish is made in a disposable foil pan. Inexpensive chopped onion, peppers, and mushrooms lend some veggie flair — and vegetarians can substitute in vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

13. Crockpot Risotto

I adore a good risotto, but I hate taking the time to make it myself. Enter the slow cooker. This creamy Asparagus Risotto comes together in just 15 minutes and takes only three hours to cook after that. (See also: Best Slow Cookers)

14. Curried Rice

How about some Baked Lemon-Curry Rice topped with toasted pine nuts? I can't wait to try this one myself. Though this recipe is written specifically for individuals on the South Beach Diet, I'm confident you can substitute your favorite rice with fabulous results.

15. Rice Salad

The magenta and green from the pomegranates and pistachios in this Wild Rice Salad are sure to entertain your taste buds. I love how the author uses lemon juice, honey, and fresh ginger to naturally sweeten and dress this sumptuous salad, but includes a jolt of black pepper for good measure.

16. Homemade Rice-a-Roni

Maybe you have a thing for the San Francisco treat, but would rather leave the packaging behind and make it at home. I've got the recipe for you! This Broccoli Au Gratin Rice-a-Roni has so few (but wholesome!) ingredients, you'll wonder why you ever bought boxed in the first place.

17. Fruity Rice

This next recipe bridges the gap from the savory to the sweet. Wild Rice With Dried Fruit and Pecans sounds more complicated than it actually is. You could even substitute brown or white rice with the same mix of spices, fruits, and nuts for a similar dish.

18. Leftover Rice Soup

Have you ever made too much rice one night and not known what to do with it the next? This Black Bean and Leftover Rice Soup recipe has you covered. Not only is this bowl filling, but it's also purposefully budget conscious. (See also: 35 Rice and Beans Recipes)

19. Rice Cooker Jambalaya

Maybe you're a pro at this rice thing, enough that you have a rice cooker at home. This Rice Cooker Jambalaya has all the goodness of more tricky counterparts, all without the fuss it takes to cook this Cajun staple.

20. Asian Rice

Brown rice takes center stage in this Asian-Style Rice Salad. This recipe is great if you're looking to add both color and texture to your meal. And feel free to substitute other proteins in for the chicken. I think shredded beef or even cubed, fried tofu would make a solid replacement.

21. Custom Rice

The author claims this Versatile Rice "recipe" takes only 10 minutes to assemble and costs just 10 dollars. The customization is all in the seasonings, where you can use "olive oil for an Italian Rice Dish, grapeseed for Chinese Rice Dish, a little bacon grease for French or Cajun."

22. Rice Pudding

You can fix and forget this Rice Pudding recipe in your slow cooker. After just two hours, you'll have a delicious dessert the whole family can enjoy. (See also: 23 Microwaveable Desserts)

23. Sushi Rice

Making sushi at home can be tough, so why not try this California Roll Sushi Bowl? It contains all the fun flavors and textures that are inside your favorite rolls, just deconstructed for more instant gratification.

24. Brown Rice Burgers

Rice can be used in a number of different ways, including as a hearty base for vegan Chickpea Brown Rice Burgers. After cooking, mixing together with some spices, and a little pureeing, these filling burgers are ready to cook on your stove-top.

25. Caprese Rice

I absolutely love caprese salad, so this Rice Salad Caprese dish looks incredible to me. The best part? The ingredients are fresh and super simple. All you need is rice, some vine-ripened tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, garlic, onion, and a few other basics like olive oil and black pepper.

Yum, rice! What's your favorite way to enjoy rice?

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Guest's picture

I'm so surprised that we can cook rice in 25 more different ways. I will try and cook some of the recipes listed here next week. :)

Ashley Marcin's picture

It's amazing how versatile that simple grain can be. Happy cooking!

Guest's picture

I love the affordability and versatility of rice! These ideas are going to make their way into my kitchen!