I grew up eating a lot of boxed, canned, and frozen foods. We ate rice often, but it was always Rice A Roni. I don’t think I even realized that you could by plain rice and season it yourself until I was a teenager and working at the local ShopRite.
When I went vegetarian, I wanted to add rice to my meal rotation, but I didn’t know how to cook it! Thankfully, someone gifted me with a rice cooker. I soon learned that it was actually super easy to make on the stovetop.
Spanish rice was one of the Rice A Roni varieties we ate often. It was usually served alongside a chicken cutlet and a frozen vegetable. (A cooked frozen vegetable, of course!) Of all of the mixes we had, Spanish rice was my favorite.
Later in life, I would sometimes buy Spanish rice mix, but I would pick up the Near East or Lundberg Farms brands, as they’re a little healthier than Rice A Roni. In an effort to reduce packaged foods, I decided to try my hand at making my own, and I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it is.
This Vegan Spanish Rice is super easy to make. While it does take about 50 minutes to make, most of it is inactive time. I make my Spanish rice by sautéing onions and garlic, toasting the rice, and then adding vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, and a few spices. Peppers and corn can be added to pot at while the onions are sautéing if you wish, I like to keep it simple.
Vegan Spanish Rice is a terrific side dish for spicy soy curls and sautéed peppers. (I’ll be sharing my Spanish-Style Soy Curl recipe next week, so check back in a few days!) It can be the basis of a burrito bowl. It’s great as a taco filling along with beans, too. I like to make it in advance and freeze it so I have it at the ready when a craving strikes.
Vegan Spanish Rice
Made with tomatoes and onions, Vegan Spanish Rice is an excellent side dish for just about any meal. It comes together with just a few ingredients and minimal effort.
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- ½ cup diced red onion (about half an onion)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pot along with the sea salt. Sautee until the onion is translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, then add the rice. Toast the rice a little, stirring frequently. The rice will have a toasted, nutty fragrance.
Add the stock, tomatoes an their juices, oregano, and red pepper flakes, if using, to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover.
Let cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
Fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Top with the parsley or cilantro, and serve hot.