What to Eat with Rice: Delicious and Nutritious Pairings

Rice is a staple food in many cultures and is enjoyed in a variety of ways. It is versatile, easy to cook, and pairs well with a wide range of flavors.

Whether you are looking for a main dish or a side dish, rice can be a great addition to any meal. In this article, I will share some ideas for what to eat with rice and how to make the most out of this delicious and nutritious grain.

The Basics of Rice Before we dive into the different ways to enjoy rice, let’s review some of the basics. Rice is a grain that is grown all over the world and comes in many different varieties.

Some of the most common types of rice include white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, and basmati rice.

Rice can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, steaming, and frying. It is important to follow the cooking instructions for your specific type of rice to ensure that it turns out perfectly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rice is a versatile and easy-to-cook grain that pairs well with a wide range of flavors.
  • There are many different types of rice, each with its own unique flavor and texture.
  • Rice can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, steaming, and frying.

The Basics of Rice

Rice is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. It is a staple food in many countries and is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. There are many different types of rice available, each with its own unique flavor and texture.

Brown Rice vs. White Rice

Brown rice and white rice are the two most common types of rice. Brown rice is the whole grain version of rice, while white rice has had the bran and germ removed.

Brown rice is considered to be healthier than white rice because it contains more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, white rice is more commonly used in cooking because it has a longer shelf life and cooks faster than brown rice.

Different Types of Rice

There are many different types of rice available, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Some of the most popular types of rice include jasmine, basmati, arborio, long grain, and short grain.

  • Jasmine rice is a fragrant rice that is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Basmati rice is a long-grain rice that is commonly used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine.
  • Arborio rice is a short-grain rice that is commonly used in risotto dishes.
  • Long grain rice is a versatile rice that can be used in a variety of dishes.
  • Short grain rice is a sticky rice that is commonly used in sushi dishes.

Cooking Rice

Cooking rice is a simple process, but it can be tricky to get it just right. The basic ratio of rice to water is 1:2, meaning one cup of rice requires two cups of water.

However, the amount of water needed can vary depending on the type of rice being used. For example, short-grain rice requires less water than long-grain rice.

To cook rice, simply rinse it in cold water and then add it to a pot with the appropriate amount of water.

Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and then cover the pot and let the rice simmer until all the water is absorbed. This usually takes about 18-20 minutes for white rice and 30-40 minutes for brown rice.

Conclusion

Rice is a versatile and nutritious food that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you prefer brown rice or white rice, long-grain or short-grain, there is a type of rice that will suit your needs.

By following a few simple steps, you can cook rice that is perfectly fluffy and delicious every time.

Cooking Methods

When it comes to cooking rice, there are several methods to choose from. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for you.

Stovetop

Cooking rice on the stovetop is a classic method that many people prefer. To cook rice on the stovetop, you will need a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Simply add the rice and water to the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

This method is simple and straightforward, but it does require some attention to make sure the rice doesn’t burn or stick to the pot.

Oven

Cooking rice in the oven is another option that can be convenient if you’re already using the oven for other dishes. To cook rice in the oven, you will need an oven-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid.

Simply add the rice and water to the dish, cover it with the lid, and bake it in the oven until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. This method can be hands-off, but it does require a longer cooking time than some other methods.

Rice Cooker

Cooking rice in a rice cooker is a popular method that many people prefer for its convenience. Simply add the rice and water to the rice cooker, press a button, and let the machine do the work.

Rice cookers can vary in size and features, so it’s important to choose one that meets your needs. This method is easy and hands-off, but it does require an extra appliance to store and use.

Pressure Cooker

Cooking rice in a pressure cooker is a fast and efficient method that can be great for busy weeknights. To cook rice in a pressure cooker, you will need a pressure cooker with a rice setting.

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Simply add the rice and water to the pot, set the timer, and let the pressure cooker do the work. This method can be fast and hands-off, but it does require a pressure cooker, which can be an investment.

Overall, the best cooking method for rice depends on your personal preferences and needs. Whether you prefer the classic stovetop method or the convenience of a rice cooker, there is a method that will work for you.

Healthy Rice Options

When it comes to pairing rice with healthy foods, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy rice options:

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain that contains all three parts of the grain kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm.

This gives it a higher nutrient content than white rice. Brown rice is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a healthy option to pair with your favorite vegetables and proteins.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is a type of grass seed that is native to North America. It is a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Wild rice has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture that pairs well with roasted vegetables, mushrooms, and grilled meats.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a low-carb and low-calorie alternative to traditional rice. It is made by grating cauliflower into small, rice-like pieces.

Cauliflower rice is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. It has a mild flavor and can be seasoned with herbs and spices to complement your favorite dishes.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is high in protein and fiber. It has a nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture that pairs well with roasted vegetables, beans, and grilled meats. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, and other important nutrients.

In conclusion, there are many healthy rice options to choose from when planning your meals. Whether you prefer brown rice, wild rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa, these healthy grains can be paired with a variety of vegetables and proteins to create delicious and nutritious meals.

Rice as a Main Dish

When it comes to rice, it’s not just a side dish. Rice can also be the star of your meal as a main dish. There are many rice recipes that are hearty, flavorful, and satisfying.

Here are some of my favorite rice-based main dishes:

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a classic dish that can be made with various ingredients. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice and add in vegetables, protein, and seasonings.

To make fried rice, start by sautéing garlic and onions in a wok or large skillet. Then, add in your choice of vegetables like carrots, peas, and bell peppers. Next, add in cooked rice and stir to combine.

Finally, add in beaten eggs and your choice of protein like chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Add soy sauce and other seasonings to taste. Fry everything together until the rice is crispy and the ingredients are well combined.

Risotto

Risotto is a creamy, Italian rice dish that can be made with various ingredients like mushrooms, asparagus, and seafood. To make risotto, start by sautéing onions and garlic in a large pot.

Then, add in Arborio rice and stir to coat with the oil. Next, add in a ladle of hot broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding broth and stirring until the rice is cooked and creamy.

Finally, add in your choice of ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, cooked shrimp, or roasted asparagus. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a spicy, Cajun rice dish that can be made with sausage, chicken, and shrimp. To make jambalaya, start by sautéing onions, peppers, and celery in a large pot. Then, add in sliced sausage and cook until browned. Next, add in diced chicken and cook until browned.

Finally, add in rice, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and Creole seasoning. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Add in cooked shrimp and stir to combine.

Stir Fry

Stir fry is a quick and easy way to make a rice-based main dish. To make stir fry, start by cooking your choice of protein like beef, chicken, or tofu in a wok or large skillet.

Then, remove the protein and set it aside. Next, add in your choice of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and snow peas.

Stir fry the vegetables until they are tender. Finally, add in cooked rice and the cooked protein. Add soy sauce and other seasonings to taste.

Casseroles

Rice casseroles are a great way to feed a crowd. To make a rice casserole, start by cooking rice according to package instructions.

Then, mix in your choice of ingredients like cooked chicken, broccoli, and cheese. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake in the oven until bubbly and golden brown.

Soups

Rice soups are a comforting and filling meal. To make a rice soup, start by sautéing onions and garlic in a large pot. Then, add in your choice of vegetables like carrots, celery, and potatoes. Next, add in chicken broth and cooked rice.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add in your choice of protein like cooked chicken or shrimp. Finally, season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste.

As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy rice as a main dish. Whether you prefer fried rice, risotto, jambalaya, stir fry, casseroles, or soups, there is a rice recipe for everyone.

Rice as a Side Dish

Rice is a versatile and delicious side dish that can be paired with a variety of main dishes. Whether you are looking for something to serve with chicken, fish, or beef, there is a rice dish that will complement your meal perfectly.

One of my favorite rice side dishes is wild rice salad. This dish is a great option for those who are looking for a healthier alternative to traditional rice dishes. Wild rice is high in fiber and protein, making it a nutritious addition to any meal.

To make a wild rice salad, simply cook the rice according to the package instructions and then mix in your favorite vegetables and dressing. Some great options include diced bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, and a simple vinaigrette.

Another delicious rice side dish is rice pilaf. This dish is made by cooking rice in a seasoned broth and then adding in vegetables and other ingredients.

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Rice pilaf is a great option for those who want a flavorful and filling side dish. Some great ingredients to include in your rice pilaf include diced onions, sliced mushrooms, and chopped carrots.

For those who prefer a spicier rice dish, southwestern rice is a great option. This dish is made by cooking rice with a variety of spices and then adding in black beans, corn, and other southwestern-inspired ingredients.

Some great spices to include in your southwestern rice dish include cumin, chili powder, and paprika.

No matter what type of rice dish you choose, it is important to remember that rice is a great source of carbohydrates and can help keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.

So next time you are looking for a delicious and nutritious side dish, consider adding rice to your meal.

Rice and Proteins

When it comes to adding proteins to your rice dishes, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Here are some of my favorite proteins to pair with rice:

  • Chicken: Chicken is a classic protein that pairs well with rice. You can add cooked chicken to your rice dish, make chicken fried rice, or even use leftover rotisserie chicken.
  • Beef: Beef is another great protein to add to your rice dishes. You can use ground beef to make a rice and beef bowl, or add thinly sliced beef to your stir-fry.
  • Tuna: Tuna is a lean protein that adds a unique flavor to your rice dishes. You can make a tuna and rice salad, or add canned tuna to your rice bowl.
  • Meatballs: Meatballs are a flavorful way to add protein to your rice dishes. You can make your own meatballs or use pre-made ones, and add them to your rice bowl or stir-fry.
  • Tofu: Tofu is a vegetarian protein that pairs well with rice. You can add cubed tofu to your stir-fry or make a tofu and rice bowl.
  • Fish: Fish is a healthy protein that adds a lot of flavor to your rice dishes. You can use any type of fish you like, such as salmon, tilapia, or cod.
  • Sausages: Sausages are a flavorful way to add protein to your rice dishes. You can use any type of sausage you like, such as chicken sausage or pork sausage.
  • Grilled Chicken: Grilled chicken is a healthy and flavorful protein that pairs well with rice. You can add grilled chicken to your rice bowl or stir-fry.
  • Turkey Curry: Turkey curry is a delicious way to add protein to your rice dishes. You can make your own turkey curry or use pre-made curry sauce.
  • Shrimp Fried Rice: Shrimp fried rice is a classic dish that is easy to make at home. You can add other vegetables and proteins to your shrimp fried rice, such as peas, carrots, and scrambled eggs.

Overall, there are plenty of proteins that pair well with rice. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, tofu, or fish, there is a rice dish out there for you.

Rice and Vegetables

When it comes to pairing rice with vegetables, the possibilities are endless. Vegetables can add flavor, texture, and nutrition to any rice dish. Here are some of my favorite vegetables to pair with rice:

Avocado

Avocado is a great addition to any rice dish. It adds creaminess and healthy fats to the dish. I love to add diced avocado to my rice bowls or make a simple avocado salsa to serve alongside my rice.

Onion

Onion is a versatile vegetable that pairs well with rice. It adds a sweet and savory flavor to the dish. I like to sauté diced onion and mix it into my rice for added flavor.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a great low-carb alternative to rice. You can either grate it or pulse it in a food processor to make cauliflower rice. It has a similar texture to rice and pairs well with any vegetable or protein.

Corn

Corn is a sweet and crunchy vegetable that adds a pop of color to any rice dish. I love to add corn to my rice salads or mix it into my fried rice for added texture.

Cucumber

Cucumber is a refreshing vegetable that pairs well with rice. It adds a cool and crisp texture to the dish. I like to dice cucumber and mix it into my rice bowls or make a simple cucumber salad to serve alongside my rice.

Scallions

Scallions are a great way to add a pop of flavor to any rice dish. They have a mild onion flavor and can be used as a garnish or mixed into the rice. I like to chop scallions and sprinkle them on top of my rice bowls for added flavor.

In conclusion, vegetables are a great way to add flavor, texture, and nutrition to any rice dish. Whether you prefer avocado, onion, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, scallions, or any other vegetable, there are endless possibilities when it comes to pairing rice with vegetables.

Flavor Enhancers

When it comes to adding flavor to your rice, there are a variety of options to choose from.

Here are some of my favorite flavor enhancers:

Sauces

Sauces are an easy and delicious way to add flavor to your rice. Soy sauce, spicy mayo, and harissa are just a few examples of sauces that pair well with rice. You can also try making your own sauce by mixing together ingredients like lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic powder.

Cheese

Cheese is another great addition to rice dishes. Try sprinkling Parmesan or feta cheese on top of your rice for a salty and savory flavor.

Curry

Curry is a flavorful spice blend that pairs perfectly with rice. You can make your own curry powder by combining spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, or you can use pre-made curry paste.

Lemon

Lemon adds a bright and refreshing flavor to rice dishes. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over your rice, or try adding some lemon zest for an extra burst of flavor.

Black Beans

Black beans are a great source of protein and pair well with rice. Try mixing cooked black beans into your rice for a hearty and flavorful dish.

Bacon

Bacon adds a smoky and savory flavor to rice dishes. Cook some bacon and crumble it on top of your rice, or try mixing cooked bacon into your rice for a delicious and filling meal.

Basil

Basil is a fragrant herb that pairs well with rice. Try mixing chopped fresh basil into your rice for a fresh and herbaceous flavor.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds add a nutty and crunchy texture to rice dishes. Toast some sesame seeds in a dry pan and sprinkle them on top of your rice for a delicious and flavorful garnish.

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Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein and pair well with rice. Try mixing cooked lentils into your rice for a hearty and flavorful dish.

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder adds a savory and slightly sweet flavor to rice dishes. Sprinkle some garlic powder on top of your rice, or try mixing it into your rice for a delicious and easy flavor enhancer.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil adds a rich and nutty flavor to rice dishes. Drizzle some sesame oil over your rice, or try mixing it into your rice for a delicious and flavorful meal.

Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy and tangy Korean side dish that pairs well with rice. Try mixing some chopped kimchi into your rice for a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Rice in Different Cuisines

Rice is a staple food in many cuisines around the world. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Here are some examples of how rice is used in different cuisines:

Japanese Cuisine

In Japanese cuisine, rice is an essential component of many dishes, especially sushi. Sushi is a popular dish that consists of vinegared rice, seafood, and vegetables.

The rice used in sushi is short-grain rice that has a sticky texture. It is seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt, which gives it a slightly sweet and sour taste. Sushi is often served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Mexican Cuisine

In Mexican cuisine, rice is often used in burrito bowls. Burrito bowls are a popular dish that consists of rice, beans, meat, vegetables, and toppings such as cheese, salsa, and guacamole.

The rice used in burrito bowls is usually long-grain rice that is cooked with spices such as cumin, chili powder, and garlic.

Korean Cuisine

In Korean cuisine, rice is often served with kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that is made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage, radish, or cucumber. The rice used in Korean cuisine is usually short-grain rice that is sticky and slightly sweet.

Mediterranean Cuisine

In Mediterranean cuisine, rice is often used in stuffed peppers. Stuffed peppers are a dish that consists of bell peppers that are filled with a mixture of rice, meat, vegetables, and spices.

The rice used in stuffed peppers is usually long-grain rice that is cooked with herbs such as parsley, mint, and dill.

Overall, rice is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different cuisines. Whether you are making sushi, burrito bowls, kimchi, or stuffed peppers, rice is a great addition to any dish.

Meal Planning with Rice

As someone who eats rice frequently, I find it to be a versatile and essential pantry staple. It’s a kitchen staple for me because it’s easy to prepare and pairs well with a variety of flavors.

One of the benefits of cooking with rice is that it’s a great way to use up leftovers. I often cook a large batch of rice and use it throughout the week in different dishes. For example, I might use leftover rice to make a quick fried rice dish or add it to a soup for extra bulk.

Rice is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cuisines. For example, it’s a staple in Asian cuisine, but it’s also used in Latin American and Caribbean dishes. This versatility makes it a great ingredient to have on hand when meal planning.

When planning meals with rice, I like to think about the flavors and ingredients that will pair well with it. For example, I might make a rice and bean bowl with roasted vegetables and a flavorful sauce. I could also make a rice and vegetable stir-fry with tofu or chicken.

Overall, rice is a pantry staple that is easy to cook and pairs well with a variety of flavors. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different cuisines and is a great way to use up leftovers.

When meal planning with rice, I like to think about the flavors and ingredients that will pair well with it.

Special Dietary Considerations

When it comes to dietary restrictions, rice is a versatile option that can easily be incorporated into a variety of diets.

Here are some considerations for those with special dietary needs:

Vegetarian and Vegan

Rice is a great staple for vegetarian and vegan diets, as it is a good source of carbohydrates and can be paired with a variety of vegetables and plant-based proteins.

To add some extra flavor and nutrition, try mixing in some tofu or tempeh, or adding some roasted veggies like bell peppers or zucchini.

Veggie Burgers

For those who love veggie burgers, rice can be a great base for the patty. Mix in some black beans, corn, and spices for a delicious and filling meal. You can also use rice as a side dish to complement your veggie burger.

Dairy-Free

Rice is naturally dairy-free, making it a great option for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. You can use rice milk as a substitute for dairy milk in recipes like rice pudding or smoothies.

And if you’re looking for a creamy rice dish, try adding some coconut milk instead of dairy cream.

Overall, rice is a versatile and nutritious option that can be adapted to fit a variety of dietary needs. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or have other dietary restrictions, there are many delicious and healthy ways to enjoy rice as part of your diet.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some easy and cheap meals to make with white rice?

White rice is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make many easy and affordable meals. Some options include stir-fries with vegetables and protein, rice and beans, fried rice with leftover meats and vegetables, and rice bowls with toppings like avocado, salsa, and cheese.

What are some Asian-inspired dishes that pair well with rice?

Rice is a staple in many Asian cuisines and pairs well with dishes like stir-fries, curries, and sushi. Some popular options include chicken teriyaki, beef and broccoli stir-fry, shrimp pad thai, and vegetable fried rice.

What are some breakfast options that include rice?

Rice can also be a great addition to breakfast. Some options include rice porridge with toppings like fruit and nuts, rice and egg bowls with vegetables and hot sauce, and rice and yogurt bowls with honey and granola.

What are some healthy and filling lunch options to eat with white rice?

For a healthy and filling lunch, try pairing white rice with lean protein like grilled chicken or fish, and vegetables like roasted broccoli or sautéed spinach. You can also add flavor with spices and herbs like garlic, ginger, and cilantro.

What are some dinner ideas that go well with white rice?

White rice can be a great base for many dinner dishes. Some options include baked salmon with rice and vegetables, beef and vegetable stir-fry with rice noodles, and chicken and vegetable curry with basmati rice.

What are some creative ways to use plain rice in meals?

Rice can be used in many creative ways to add texture and flavor to meals. Some options include using it as a base for grain bowls with roasted vegetables and protein, adding it to soups and stews for a heartier meal, and using it to make sushi rolls or rice paper wraps.