12 Delicious Meals You Can Serve With Brown Rice

Brown rice is an underappreciated grain. Most people reach for a bag of white rice because they feel it tastes better. But what they don’t know is that brown rice is incredibly delicious if you pair it with the right dishes. Brown rice is often thought of as the “healthier” rice when compared to white rice because it’s a whole grain. But just because something is healthy, that doesn’t mean it has to taste bland or have the texture of cardboard. Whole grains are wonderful when prepared properly, and each of these thirteen delicious dishes will go perfectly with brown rice.

1. Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew

A white crock filled with Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew sits on a cutting board with some flatbread pieces.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This garam masala red lentil stew recipe is a hearty, tummy-warming bowl of deliciousness. It pairs incredibly well with brown rice, making a hearty, filling meal that practically tucks you into bed with comfort. It also makes a big enough serving to feed a crowd and even have some leftovers. So, it’s a great option for meal prep and freezing future meals. It also travels well in a Thermos if you want to take it for lunch instead.

2. Butter Chicken

A bowl of Butter Chicken on a cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

As a classic Indian dish, butter chicken‘s creamy and rich texture goes perfectly well with brown rice. Mixing the curry with mild, nutty brown rice is a delicious combo you’ll enjoy again and again. This one isn’t very spicy, so even younger family members may enjoy it. It also goes really well with naan, which is a classic combination with this type of dish. Make a big batch and enjoy it several nights in a row, or freeze portions for future meals. Just don’t forget to add the brown rice.

3. Pork Roast

A whole Slow Cooker Pork Roast with carrots on a white platter.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Made from a meaty cut of pork, either shoulder or Boston butt, this pork roast is cooked slowly in a slow cooker to achieve wonderful, fork-tender meat. The vegetables cook along with the meat, so you’ve got two-thirds of a complete meal that cooks while you do other things, such as making a pot of brown rice, which will go perfectly with this. If you have leftovers, you can pack some up with brown rice and freeze it all together, or you can shred it and make a rice salad or a shredded pork sandwich for lunch.

4. Salsa Verde

A closeup of a white, fluted bowl filled with salsa verde sauce.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you crave something tangy, salsa verde made with ingredients like tomatillos, green chili, lime, garlic, and cilantro is a good place to start. Since it has a heartier texture, chewy brown rice perfectly complements this salsa. Thanks to the use of fresh vegetables and herbs, the salsa’s nutritional profile is another benefit. You can even add some of this to the pot when cooking your rice to make a lovely salsa verde rice.

5. Carnitas

An overhead view looking down on a Slow Cooker Carnita laying on a cutting board with an orange and lime.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Slow-cooked pork carnitas is a Mexican dish that’s wonderful served with a side of brown rice. Cook the rice with salsa for an extra kick. This dish is wonderful for stuffing tacos, burritos, wraps, and sandwiches or just enjoying with the rice as a side dish and some veggies or refried beans. Leftovers can easily be frozen with or without the rice.

6. Orange Chicken

A closeup of orange chicken garnished with sliced green onions and laying on a bed of rice.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

The sweet and tangy taste of orange chicken makes it a perfect pairing with white or brown rice. Prepare the orange chicken in just 15 minutes and serve it over a bed of brown rice. This recipe is simple to make and uses all-natural ingredients that won’t leave you hungry an hour after you eat. There is no MSG or any of the other additives that come with the stuff you get from a restaurant, so you can enjoy your Chinese take-out without any of the unwanted stuff.

7. Turkey Chili

A white crock filled with turkey chili and garnished with fresh parsley.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Turkey chili is a thick and chunky dish combining ground turkey, beans, spices, and tomatoes. With brown rice, the dish becomes heartier and quite filling. Moreover, if you are health-conscious, this combination will perfectly suit your choices with a high protein and fiber content. 

It freezes really well for up to 6 months, with or without rice stirred in, and is perfect for a hot Thermos lunch served with some garlic bread or cornbread.

8. Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken stir fry cooking in a skillet.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Chicken stir fry cooked with bok choy is a great partner for brown rice. It rounds out the dish nicely and gives you whole grains that will truly fill you up and keep you that way for hours after eating. It’s easy to make, and you can serve the rice on the side or stir it right into the stir fry once the rice has been cooked separately. Cook the rice in vegetable broth or chicken broth for some extra flavor. Serve the whole thing together with some soy sauce or coconut aminos for amazing flavor.

9. Citrus Grilled Chicken

A single Citrus Grilled Chicken breast on a white plate, garnished with an orange twist.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Citrus grilled chicken, cooked to perfection, pairs perfectly with brown rice. A squeeze of orange and a sprinkle of parsley can elevate the dish’s flavors even further. This is amazing, served with a side of brown rice and a side of steamed vegetables. Cook the rice with chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor. Add a pat of butter while it’s still warm to top things off. It makes a wonderful dinner you’ll make again and again.

10. Lentil Curry

A bowl of orange colored curry lentils in a blue bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Lentils cooked with a blend of sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, yellow onions, coconut milk, and oil are a comfort food for many. Mixing the lentil curry with warm brown rice will give you a delicious, comforting dinner that is perfect for a cozy night in. It also provides a source of complete protein for plant-based folks.

11. Teriyaki Salmon

A closeup of a teriyaki salmon fillet. A fork lifts a bit of it up.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Teriyaki Salmon is another recipe that goes really well with brown rice’s nutty flavor. Whether for a quick weeknight dinner or preparing something delicious for guests, this versatile combo never disappoints. Add a side of steamed veggies to round out the meal. You can also flake the fillets and use them to make a salmon rice salad. Add a little extra teriyaki sauce to the rice salad to make things nice and saucy.

12. Bison Stew

An overhead view looking down into a white bowl filled with this Bison Stew Recipe.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Bion stew, cooked in a slow cooker, is a perfect comfort food for days when temperatures are chillier. With a blend of flavors, it offers a rich taste that is sure to leave you craving more. The chunks of tender beef with stew vegetables perfectly complement the nutty texture of brown rice. If you prefer, you can substitute the bison with beef. This freezes really well with or without rice, and the leftovers are almost better than the day it’s made.

13. Easy Black Bean Taco Soup

An overhead view of a white crock filled with Black Bean Taco Soup.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This easy black bean taco soup is great on its own. But stir some brown rice into it, and you’ll take it to a whole other level. This is a very filling recipe that has lots of great Mexican spices and flavors. It will freeze well for up to six months, with or without the rice added, and will travel well in a thermos. Don’t pass up this delicious meal if you love Mexican food. The flavors are real, authentic, and ever so delicious.

More From The Gracious Pantry

A dutch oven with a cooked whole chicken topped with rosemary twigs.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Need more dinner ideas? These recipes can help you get a meal on the table fast, and make sure there are no complaints in the process.

This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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