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10 Rice Recipes That Prove It’s the Ultimate Healthy Grain

Plain rice can be boring – there’s no disputing that. But who says you have to eat plain rice as a side dish instead of using the staple grain as the base of something more satisfying?

Rice has such a neutral flavor that it works well in a variety of recipes, from flavored rice like lemon or coconut to more composed dishes like wild rice salad and healthy rice pudding.

It also has plenty of nutritional value, it’s a great source of carbs, and it has a little protein as well. And if you go for brown rice, you’ll also get four times the fiber found in white rice.

Whether you want to make rice as the main meal, serve it as alongside something heartier, or have it for dessert, you’ll find an awesome new way to prepare rice on this list.


Black Rice Risotto

healthy-rice-recipes Picture courtesy of Food Network

Not just any rice can be used to make risotto, but because of its naturally high starch content, black rice works as a replacement for the classic Italian Arborio.

It also has more protein than white and brown rice, plus antioxidants to boot. Get more of Ellie Krieger’s recipes in So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.


Serves 4


6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 ½ cups black rice

½ cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

¾ cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 450

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 65 grams

Fat: 13 grams


Get the Recipe

Rice & Bean Casserole with Guacamole

healthy-rice-recipe Picture courtesy of eat, live, run

Next time you have leftover guacamole, or when you have to make a big batch of the popular party dip, don’t forget this simple casserole as a way to use it up.

This cheap dinner takes no work to put together – dump it all in a pan, and stir – but it’s also got that comfort food cachet that makes the final result taste amazing. This is one easy meal you’ll want to make again and again.

Serves 6


1 cup brown rice, dry

3 cups chicken broth

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (14.5 oz.) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

1 ½ tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili power

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2 avocados, very ripe

1 whole jalapeno, minced

Pinch of cumin

Big pinch of garlic salt

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 547

Protein: 24 grams

Carbs: 88 grams

Fat: 17 grams


Get the Recipe


Green Tea Jasmine Rice

healthy-recipes-rice Picture & recipe courtesy of Pocket Change Gourmet

A simple way to infuse rice with flavor is to make it with a liquid other than water. You’ve surely used vegetable or chicken broth, it probably never occurred to you to try a light green tea.

You can also use other teas to flavor your rice – get creative with herbal varieties like lemongrass, yerba mate, or spiced orange.

The best part? Tons of flavor with zero added calories.

Serves 4


1 ½ cups water

1 green tea bag

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice

1/8 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 160

Protein: 3 grams

Carbs: 36 grams

Fat: 0 grams


Get the Recipe


Spiced Coconut Rice

healthy-recipe-rice Picture & recipe courtesy of The Yummy Life

If you’re planning a get-together or need to cook for a potluck, consider this big dish of Thai coconut rice.

Not only will it be a hit no matter what meat is being served as an entrée, but it’s packed with flavor from coconut milk and spices like turmeric, ginger, and bay leaves.

Top with macadamia nuts or cashews, if desired.

Serves 30 / Makes 15 cups


1 Tbsp. dried turmeric

½ cup water

Zest of one lemon

1 Tbsp. minced ginger

4 dried bay leaves

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 cans (27 oz.) coconut milk

2 cans (27 oz.) lite coconut milk

2 lbs. (5 cups) brown basmati rice

Fresh chopped cilantro (optional garnish)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 184

Protein: 3 grams

Carbs: 26 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Get the Recipe



Tangy Lemon Rice


rice-recipes-healthy Picture & recipe courtesy of Z Living

This dish is similar to the Thai coconut rice, except without any coconut, and it has curry leaves and black mustard seeds for more Indian flair.

If you don’t have ghee, aka clarified butter, substitute regular butter or any type of oil. Fresh lemon juice instead of lemon zest lends a lighter flavor that makes for a bright, bold rice.

Serves 4


1 cup basmati rice

2 cups water

½ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp. turmeric

2–3 fresh curry leaves

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

1 tsp. split black gram (lentils)

½ tsp. rock salt (optional)

½ cup chopped cashews

1 Tbsp. clarified butter

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 305

Protein: 7 grams

Carbs: 44 grams

Fat: 12 grams


Get the Recipe


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South Indian Curd Rice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Picture courtesy of Cook to Jhoom

One way to add protein to your carb-heavy side is to mix in yogurt, as in this recipe.

It might sound a little strange at first, but this cool and creamy rice dish is traditional in South India. It’s like a chilled rice salad with lentils, cucumber, and carrots – a tasty side dish if you’re making curry, or a filling vegetarian lunch that’s portable.

Serves 4



½ cup rice

¼ cup split moong dal (lentils), washed

3 cups water

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 cup yogurt (curd or strained yogurt)

¼ cup shredded cucumber

¼ cup shredded carrots

1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger


2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. mustard seeds

½ tsp. cumin seeds

2 whole red peppers

1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno (adjust to taste)

8–10 curry leaves (optional)

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 270

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 29 grams

Fat: 14 grams


Get the Recipe


Portuguese Tomato Rice (Arroz de Tomate)

recipes-healthy-rice Picture & recipe courtesy of A Family Feast

Forget the Mexican rice that comes in a box – or any rice that comes in a box!

This dish only takes a little prep time, and this recipe also gives you an excuse to use bacon fat. If you don’t keep the renderings from the pan when you make bacon, well first of all you should. Second, you can use lard in place of it.

Serves 4


2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. bacon fat (or lard)

1 cup diced onion

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 cups fresh tomatoes, cored and cut into huge chunks (reserve juice)

1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or any broth)

1 cup long-grain white rice

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 302

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 44 grams

Fat: 11 grams


Get the Recipe


Pomegranate, Kale & Wild Rice Salad

recipe-healthy-rice Picture & recipe courtesy of Pinch of Yum

Wild rice makes a great side dish for just about any main course. So if you have leftovers at the table, reserve them to use for a delicious salad the next day.

Of course you can make a salad with any greens and dressing you have, but this recipe has everything you’d want with crunchy walnuts, creamy chunks of feta, and juicy pomegranate seeds. It’s finished with an apple cider vinegar dressing.

Serves 4



1 cup pomegranate seeds

2 cups chopped baby kale

2 cups cooked wild rice

¼ cup toasted walnuts

¼ cup feta cheese


½ cup minced onion or shallot

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. honey

½ Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

½ tsp. salt

1 squeeze lemon or orange juice

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 509

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 83 grams

Fat: 15 grams


Get the Recipe


Biryani Rice

rice-healthy-recipes Picture & recipe courtesy of Veg Recipes of India

If you’ve gone to an Indian restaurant, chances are somebody at the table ordered biryani rice. And boy, was everybody happy!

That’s because it looks like an unassuming bowl of basmati rice, but the flavor is out of this world. It will require a lot of spices to achieve the final result, but once you master this North Indian recipe, you’ll never serve plain rice with curry again.

Simply hit up the bulk spice section at Whole Foods or a local grocery store, and you’ll be well on your way to eating Indian food at home.

Serves 6



2 cups basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly

¾ tsp. caraway seeds

1-inch cinnamon stick

2–3 whole cloves

3–4 green cardamom pods

2 star anise

1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste (adrak lahsun ka)

1 or 2 tsp. chopped mint leaves (or mint and cilantro mixture)

1 bay leaf

Pinch of mace

Pinch of saffron

1 Tbsp. strained yogurt

Fresh drops of lemon juice

4 cups water

2 Tbsp. oil or ghee (clarified butter)

Salt to taste


1 medium onion, thinly sliced

8 – 10 whole cashews

1 Tbsp. oil

Pinch of salt

Fresh mint leaves

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 336

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 54 grams

Fat: 11 grams


Get the Recipe


Raspberry Vanilla Rice Pudding

rice-healthy-recipe Picture & recipe courtesy of Nutmeg Nanny

It’s possible to sneak a little protein powder into most creamy desserts, so why not pick one that’s already relatively healthy?

That’s the thinking behind this delicious protein rice pudding. It’s bursting with fresh sweetness from the raspberries. Plus, coconut milk and vanilla bean paste give this dessert a rich, classic note.

You could use pure vanilla extract instead, but then the final result will be missing a little something – and not just the black flecks of vanilla bean.

Serves 4


2 cups whole milk

1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk

½ cup raw medium grain rice

Pinch of kosher salt

2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

2 large egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

2 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1 pint fresh raspberries

2 Tbsp. sugar

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 485

Protein: 28 grams

Carbs: 64 grams

Fat: 14 grams


Get the Recipe


What did you think of these healthy rice recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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