Why does brown rice get such a bad rap? Sure, rice can be a little bland. And yes, the brown version does take longer to cook. But here’s the thing: In addition to being one of the healthiest foods in the human diet—rich in fiber, cholesterol-lowering fats and nutritious minerals and antioxidants—brown rice has a deep, nutty flavor and hearty texture that’s anything but boring.
White rice is highly processed brown rice that’s been stripped of its bran—and nearly all its nutrients. You’ll find short- and long-grain varieties; short-grain rice tends to be more sticky and compact when it’s cooked, while long-grain rice is fluffier. You may also be able to find quick-cooking brown rice (which is partially cooked and then dried). Brown rice is different from wild rice (which is actually a grass, not a rice), though they’re delicious together. Here are some great ways to enjoy brown rice:
Cooking brown rice.
To make 3 cups of cooked rice, bring 1 cup of brown rice, 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 40 to 50 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on the pan and let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. (You can also make brown rice in the slow cooker.)
Oven-Baked Brown Rice.
This SparkRecipes member recipe is dubbed “foolproof”; it’s baked in a foil-covered dish in the oven for an hour.
Prepared And Make-Ahead Brown Rice.
You’ll find already-cooked brown rice on your grocery shelf, and it’s a quick and easy way to enjoy this staple. Too, cooked rice freezes well, so if you plan to cook a batch of brown rice for a recipe, make double what you need and freeze the rest for up to 6 months.
Now, onto those recipes and meal ideas...
Better Than Takeout Chicken Fried RiceCook the rice ahead of time (or use heat-and-serve prepared rice) and use pre-cut vegetables, and you’ll have dinner ready in no time. Chef Meg’s healthy version of fried rice has far fewer calories and less sodium than takeout.
10-Minute Fried RiceIf you're short on time, try this even faster version of fried rice.
Black Beans ‘N’ RiceChef Meg renovated a member recipe for a Mexican favorite, with plenty of diced tomatoes and great spices to give the dish lots of kick (and plenty of fiber and protein, too).
Delicious Broccoli-Rice BakeYou may remember broccoli-rice casserole from your childhood: It’s hearty, comforting and tasty, even for kids who hate broccoli. Use any kind of whole grain in this recipe: brown rice, wild rice, wheat or barley, even whole-wheat orzo.
Chicken Stir-Fry with Vegetables and Brown RiceIt’s easy to swap brown rice for white with your favorite Asian dish. Need some inspiration? This combo of lean chicken, fiber-rich brown rice and tons of veggies makes for a smart and satisfying meal.
Slow-Cooker Chicken And Rice SoupThis creamy, delicious (and low-calorie!) soup takes just 10 minutes of hands-on prep time. Toss the ingredients into your slow-cooker and let the soup make itself.
Zesty Chicken And Rice SkilletThis easy recipe uses quick-cooking brown rice as a time-saver. Low-fat Italian dressing and Dijon mustard create a kicky sauce that surrounds cooked chicken and bell peppers.
Garlicky Brown RiceThis flavorful recipe would make a great side dish for chicken. Here, the rice is cooked pilaf-style, which means the grains are sautéed with garlic in a little olive oil before the cooking liquid (in this case, low-sodium chicken broth) is added.
Brown Rice with Pecans and CranberriesDried fruit and nuts add flavor and texture to your favorite brown rice. This side dish is fast and fancy, the perfect accompaniment to any cool-weather supper.
Herbed Brown Rice with MushroomsA hearty side or a light meatless entree, this savory dish is packed with flavor and fiber. It would pair perfectly with roast meat.
This hearty, healthy salad is great warm or cold. It's even better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to mingle.