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This wonderfully simple Mexican rice recipe is the perfect side dish for Taco Tuesdays!
I have a serious love affair with Mexican food. It might even border on obsession, I’m not sure. But I will say this, we have some sort of Mexican-style dish for dinner around here at least once or twice a week, and I would cook that way far more often if I thought I could get away with it.
Typically, I make this dish with brown rice for the purpose of healthier eating. But occasionally, I’ll make it with white rice too. There is actually a bit of debate over which one is healthier. So I’ll give you both versions and let you decide which one to make. You’ll find the white rice version in the recipe card, and the brown rice version listed below under “Brown Rice Version”.
Can I Use Brown Rice Instead Of White Rice For Mexican Rice?
Yes, you can use brown rice, but note that brown rice requires a longer cooking time and more liquid. Adjust the cooking time and liquid amount accordingly.
Can I Use Chicken Broth Instead Of Vegetable Broth?
Absolutely, you can use chicken broth if you prefer. It will add a different flavor profile to the rice.
Can I Make This Recipe Spicy?
Certainly, you can increase the amount of black pepper or add red pepper flakes to add heat. Adding minced jalapeños or other hot peppers is another option.
Can I Use Frozen Vegetables Instead Of Fresh?
Yes, frozen vegetables are a convenient option. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, especially if using frozen peas. And if you use a mixture of peas and carrots, do not cook them ahead of time.
Can I Make This Recipe In A Rice Cooker?
Yes, you can adapt the recipe for a rice cooker. Sauté the aromatics separately, then transfer everything to the rice cooker and cook according to the rice cooker’s instructions.
Can I Customize This Recipe With Other Ingredients?
Absolutely, Mexican rice is versatile. You can add ingredients like corn, diced bell peppers, or even cooked chorizo to enhance flavors.
Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice
We all have that Mexican rice dish with love to order at our favorite Mexican restaurant. So before you even ask, yes. This easy Mexican rice recipe is very similar to that. Isn’t that awesome?
- Rinse the Rice: Always rinse the rice under cold water until it runs clear to remove excess starch and prevent stickiness.
- Toasting Rice: Briefly toasting the rice in oil before adding liquid can help enhance its nutty flavor.
- Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning as you cook. Remember, it’s easier to add more seasoning gradually than to fix an overly salty or spicy dish.
- Sauce Consistency: If the sauce seems too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a bit more vegetable broth.
- Fluff the Rice: After cooking, let the rice sit covered off the heat for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork. This helps separate the grains.
- Garnish Creatively: Consider garnishing with chopped cilantro, lime wedges, or even a sprinkle of grated cheese for extra flavor and visual appeal.
Brown Rice Version
Makes 8 servings.
- 2 cups short-grain brown rice (uncooked)
- 2½ cups chicken broth (low sodium and no added sugar if purchased)
- 15 oz. canned tomato sauce (no sugar added)
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- Veggies are optional
- In a medium pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
- Stir in tomato sauce and bring to a boil once more.
- Stir in rice, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has been soaked up. (About 40-50 minutes)
If you want to make life easy, instead of messing with blending and straining veggies, you can use salsa instead.
What To Serve With This Mexican Rice
This will pair well with almost any Mexican dish.
- Chicken, pork or beef enchiladas
- Burrito bowl
- Beef, pork, or chicken tacos. Even vegan tacos will work.
- Refried beans
Mexican Rice Garnishes
- Fresh lime juice
- Fresh cilantro
About The Ingredients
Rice – Any short grain rice, white or brown will work here, though you may need to add a little extra broth for brown rice towards the end of cooking. You can also use long-grain rice or basmati rice if you prefer that. Even jasmine rice will work here.
Tomatoes – Just standard Roma tomatoes will work best here.
Garlic – If you like stronger garlic, you can use large cloves or add in extra cloves of garlic. The choice is yours.
Onion – Yellow onion will work best here, but you can use any color onion you have on hand.
Peas – These can be fresh or frozen.
Carrots – If you don’t want to bother with chopping carrots, you can use a frozen “peas and carrots” blend.
Salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but you can use whatever salt you normally cook with.
Oil – Any light-flavored oil will do.
Vegetable Broth – Look for no sugar added and for low sodium.
How To Make Mexican Rice
Gather, measure, and prep all your ingredients as indicated.
Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch from the rice and prevents it from becoming too sticky.
Peel and finely dice the carrots. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the diced carrots. Cook for about 15 minutes or until they become tender, stirring occasionally.
While the carrots cook, in a blender, combine the diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, a dash of salt just for flavor, and vegetable broth. Blend until smooth.
Strain the blended mixture through a fine mesh strainer to separate the liquid from any solids. This will give you a clear liquid.
In a pot, add a little bit of oil and the rinsed rice. Sauté the rice for a minute or two.
Then, pour the filtered and clear sauce over the rice. Cover the pot and let the rice cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, allowing it to absorb the flavors from the sauce.
After 15 minutes, add the peas and carrots to the rice. Stir to combine. Keep the pot covered and let the rice and peas cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, allowing the peas to cook and the flavors to meld.
Season the rice with black pepper and salt according to your taste preferences. Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning as needed.
Your Mexican rice is now ready to be served as a delicious side dish or as part of a main meal.
Storing Mexican Rice
Allow the rice to cool slightly before storing. Place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing Mexican Rice
Portion rice into freezer-safe containers or into a freezer bag. Label and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheating Mexican Ric
Microwave: Reheat in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until heated through (165°F/74°C).
Stovetop: Heat in a non-stick pan with a bit of oil or water, stirring until hot.
More Mexican-Style Recipes
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Mexican Rice Recipe Card
- 1 Large Skillet or pot
- 1 Wooden Spoon or spatula for stirring
- 1 Knife for chopping vegetables
- 1 Cutting board for chopping vegetables
- 1 cup short-grain rice (dry)
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes (diced)
- ½ cup frozen peas (or fresh)
- 2 medium garlic cloves (peeled)
- 1 medium carrot (peeled and diced small)
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth (no sugar added, low sodium is best)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- Gather, measure, and prep all your ingredients as indicated.
- Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch from the rice and prevents it from becoming too sticky.
- Peel and finely dice the carrots. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the diced carrots. Cook for about 15 minutes or until they become tender, stirring occasionally.
- In a blender, combine the diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, and vegetable broth. Blend until smooth.
- Strain the blended mixture through a fine mesh strainer to separate the liquid from any solids. This will give you a clear liquid.
- In a pot, add a little bit of oil and the rinsed rice. Sauté the rice for a minute or two.
- Then, pour the filtered and clear sauce over the rice. Cover the pot and let the rice cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, allowing it to absorb the flavors from the sauce.
- After 15 minutes, add the peas and carrots to the rice. Stir to combine. Keep the pot covered and let the rice and peas cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, allowing the peas to cook and the flavors to meld.
- Season the rice with black pepper and salt according to your taste preferences. Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Your Mexican rice is now ready to be served as a delicious side dish or as part of a main meal.
Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted on 9/12/11.