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Spanish Brown Rice Recipe - Delicious, Wholegrain and Healthy

Updated on July 16, 2013
Deliciously nutritious brown Spanish rice!
Deliciously nutritious brown Spanish rice! | Source

Growing up in a Hispanic household, Spanish rice was a frequent side dish with our family meals. The aroma of the rice cooking and the incredible sound of the sizzle as my mother added the spice mixture to the browned rice and onion will live forever in my mind.

Today, Spanish rice is still a favorite of mine. As I have begun to eat more wholegrains, though, I needed to adapt my recipe a bit to make way for brown rice. This recipe is my simple adaptation of my mother's traditional Spanish rice recipe to be cooked with wholegrain brown rice. Enjoy!

3.6 stars from 48 ratings of Spanish Brown Rice

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 6 servings (1/2 cup each)

Shop for Garlic Powder and Ground Cumin

Kirkland Signature Granulated California Garlic, 18 Ounce
Kirkland Signature Granulated California Garlic, 18 Ounce

Garlic powder is a great way to add the fresh flavor of garlic to your cooking. It is easier than pressing garlic cloves and has an equally satisfying flavor. Try it!

 
Simply Organic Cumin Seed Ground Certified Organic, 2.31-Ounce Container
Simply Organic Cumin Seed Ground Certified Organic, 2.31-Ounce Container

Ground cumin is THE essential spice in Spanish rice. When you use it, you will recognize its unique aroma and feel like you've been transported to Mexico. Ole!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil

How to Cook Brown Spanish Rice

Instructions for Cooking Brown Spanish Rice

  1. Add sunflower oil to the bottom of a 2 quart sauce pan and heat over medium high heat.
  2. Add 1 cup of brown rice and finely chopped onion. Cook rice and onion until rice is brown and onion is translucent while stirring constantly. (3-5 minutes)
  3. Measure salt, garlic powder, cumin and black pepper into a small bowl or cup.
  4. Add 1-1 1/2 cups of water to browned rice. Expect the pan to sizzle and steam a bit when water is added. Stir.
  5. Add measured spices and stir. You will have a beautiful aroma of spanish rice in your kitchen at this point.
  6. Add tomato sauce and remaining water. Stir gently until mixed well.
  7. Return to boil. Then, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Remove from heat, uncover, and ENJOY!

Shopping List for Spices for Spanish Rice

The wonderful flavor and aroma of spanish rice comes from this mixture of spices:  salt, garlic powder, ground cumin, black pepper and tomato sauce.
The wonderful flavor and aroma of spanish rice comes from this mixture of spices: salt, garlic powder, ground cumin, black pepper and tomato sauce. | Source

What Makes Spanish Rice Taste So Good?

The combination of spices used in Spanish rice is a typical blend of ground cumin, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I have often said that you could cook an old boot in those spices and it would taste delicious! Though I have never done THAT, I have used this combination of spices in everything from Spanish rice, to potato and egg tacos, refried beans, frijoles a la charra, and more!

If you are going to dabble in Spanish or Mexican cooking, these spices are essential to your spice cabinet.

Nutrition Facts for Brown Spanish Rice

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories 77
Calories from Fat27
% Daily Value *
Fat 3 g5%
Carbohydrates 12 g4%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 2 g4%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 604 mg25%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Use a small amount of oil (1 Tbsp or less) to brown the rice and sauté the onions.
Use a small amount of oil (1 Tbsp or less) to brown the rice and sauté the onions. | Source

Heat 1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil in a 2 or 3 Quart Saucepan

Heat the oil in your saucepan over medium high heat while you measure brown rice and finely chop 1 small onion. Then, the oil will be ready for browning the rice and sauteing the onions by the time you prepare the ingredients.


Wholegrain brown rice makes traditional spanish rice as nutritious as it is delicious!
Wholegrain brown rice makes traditional spanish rice as nutritious as it is delicious! | Source

Measure 1 Cup of Brown Rice

This recipe is just as easily made with white rice. For some extra protein and fiber, lentils might also be great to try. I also like to add 1 can of black beans, 1/2 cup of frozen sweet corn, and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro to the rice to make a delicious one pot meal. Yummy!






Sauteed onion adds classic flavor to spanish rice.
Sauteed onion adds classic flavor to spanish rice. | Source

Finely Chop 1 Small Onion

Chopping onions is probably not your favorite thing. I have learned to make light work of it by letting the onion do some of the work for me. Here's how:

  • slice the onion in round slices that are 1/4 -1/3 inch wide
  • you should see all of the rings in each onion slice
  • cut each round slice in half
  • place one half slice on top of the other
  • finely chop small pieces of each half ring from the center to the outside of the onion
  • each ring creates small pieces and saves time in chopping!

Sauteing brown rice and onion for spanish brown rice.
Sauteing brown rice and onion for spanish brown rice. | Source

Saute Onion and Brown the Rice in Oil

Browning the rice in oil allows it to cook partially and to expand a bit. It is my mother's method, and I don't know all of the reasoning behind it. I only know that her rice is ALWAYS delicious. So, I follow the leader.

It should take between 3-5 minutes to brown the rice and cook onions until translucent. Measure your spices and water. And open tomato sauce while this is going on. Oh, and stir frequently!

Wholegrain brown spanish rice should simmer in tomato sauce, water and spices for 45 -50 minutes.
Wholegrain brown spanish rice should simmer in tomato sauce, water and spices for 45 -50 minutes. | Source

Enjoy the Sizzle as You Add Spices, Water and Tomato Sauce

When you pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the browned rice and onions, the pot will sizzle and steam. It is an exciting sound! Add spices and tomato sauce immediately and stir. Return to boil; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Enjoy!

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    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      In all the years I have been going to Spain I have never had rice like this. I have many Spanish friends but they don't seem to serve it either. I am definitely going to try this. Pinned and voted up and useful

    • profile image

      Afeighter 3 years ago

      I think browning the rice before boiling makes it less mushy/sticky! Thanks for this awesome recipe!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      This looks delicious and my family loves rice. Thanks!

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      Yum! And it's even wholegrain! What a great recipe!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      This sounds wonderful. I love rice. Can't wait for an opportunity to prepare this for my family. Thanks for a great hub. Voted up.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 3 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      I've been searching for a Spanish Rice recipe as mine does not seem to be as good as it used to be. Your recipe sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This looks delicious and easy to do, Teresa. I would love to give it a try. Voted up for useful!

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