Made with tomatoes, onions, and brown rice, Vegan Spanish Rice is an excellent side dish for just about any meal. Healthy Spanish rice from scratch is so much tastier than boxed, and it comes together with just a few ingredients and minimal effort. This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Boxed Spanish Rice
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 from scratch, and I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it is.
Vegan Spanish Rice
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.
Spanish Rice vs Mexican Rice
Spanish rice is sometimes called Mexican Rice, but they're actually two different things. This type of rice was introduced to Mexico by the Spanish, which is why the names are used interchangeably.
Spanish rice has firm texture and is golden in color, because it's traditionally cooked using saffron.
Mexican rice is usually an orange-red color, because it's cooked with cumin. Mexican rice tends to be fluffier and doesn't stick together.
What You Need
- Red onion
- Sea salt
- Brown rice
- Vegetable stock
- Diced tomatoes
- Dried oregano
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh parsley or cilantro
See recipe card for specific amounts.
How to Make Vegan Spanish Rice
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat and add the onion to the pot along with the sea salt. You cook the onion until it's translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Next you add the garlic to the pot and cook for another minute or two.
- Then you add the rice. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. The rice will have a toasted, nutty fragrance.
- Now you add the stock, tomatoes an their juices, oregano, and red pepper flakes, if using, to the pot and bring to a boil. You reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
- Let your rice cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Finally you fluff the cooked rice with a fork and top with the parsley or cilantro.
Serving Your Spanish Rice
Vegan Spanish Rice is a terrific side dish for spicy soy curls and sautéed peppers. It can be the basis of a burrito bowl. It’s great as a taco filling along with beans, too. If you want to keep things simple, you can serve your rice with beans and steamed vegetables.
Storing Your Rice
Your rice will last for about 3 days when stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. It'll last for up to 6 months in the freezer. I like to make it in advance and freeze it so I have it at the ready when a craving strikes.
Vegan Spanish Rice
- 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
- ¼ 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. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the rice to the pot, Toast the rice a little, stirring frequently for a few minutes. 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.
Serve your Spanish Rice with
- Black Bean Tostadas
- Spicy Spanish-Style Soy-Curls
- Sofritas Burrito Bowls
- Double-Shelled Black Bean Tacos
Other rice dishes you might like include
What would you serve your Spanish rice with?
This is so delicious!
Thanks so much, Nancy!