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Easy Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe

Vegan Mexican rice served in a white bowl and topped with cilantro. A silver spoon placed on the right side of the bowl.


This Easy Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe comes together in just 1 pot and with a few simple pantry ingredients. Ready in less than 30 minutes!

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes

Vegan Mexican rice served in a white bowl and topped with cilantro. A silver spoon placed on the right side of the bowl.

Fans of Mexican food, gather around! This vegan Spanish rice (a.k.a red rice) is going to be your new favorite way to make rice.

It’s an easy side dish that can be served with almost anything. I am talking chili, tacos, nachos, and even homemade guacamole.

It’s a 1 pot meal that is great for meal prep, freezing, and having on hand when you need to add flavor and volume to your food.

Vegan Mexican rice served in a white bowl and topped with cilantro. A silver spoon placed on the right side of the bowl.
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Ingredients You’ll Need

Get all the details on these simple ingredients in the recipe card at the post’s bottom.

  • Long grain rice: I suggest using basmati rice or jasmine rice for best results.
  • Tomato sauce: Use a high-quality tomato passata that you love the flavor of. If you like to add more tomato-y flavor, you can add an optional teaspoon of tomato paste.
  • Vegan butter: It adds a lovely flavor when sauteeing the vegetables, but if you don’t have it on hand you can use olive oil.
  • Vegetable stock: If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can dissolve a bullion cube in the same amount of water.
  • Vegetables: Red bell peppers, garlic, onion, and red chilies are the base of this recipe. If you don’t have red chili peppers you can use a poblano pepper or jalapeno pepper.
  • Spices: You’ll need only two sices in this recipe, smoked paprika, and cumin. Of course, you’ll need salt and black pepper as well.
Gathered ingredients for making our vegan Mexican rice recipe.

How to Make This Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe

  1. Heat the vegan butter in a medium-sized pot. Once hot, add the onion and red bell pepper and saute for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until softened.
  2. Add the minced garlic cloves and red chilies and saute for 30 more seconds. Add the rice and the spices, and toast everything for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring often.

3. Add the vegetable broth and tomato sauce and stir to scrap off any browned bits stuck at the bottom. Cover with a lid and cook for 13-15 minutes over low heat, stirring halfway through. Make sure to stir every 1-2 minutes towards the end.

4. Once ready, remove from the heat and let the rice steam with the lid on for 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve!

Top Tips

  • Rinse your rice. In order to get fluffy rice, you need to rinse the rice under cold water a few times, until the water comes out clear. If you skip this step the rice will be sticky and somewhat mushy.
  • Sautee the veggies before adding the rice. This way the vegetables release their natural sugars and start to caramelize, which builds a layer of flavor.
  • Stir very often towards the end. This is really important to prevent burning the bottom of the rice. Don’t just let it simmer and walk away. Stir every 1-2 minutes towards the end.
  • Let the rice steam before serving it. This ensures that every little bit of rice will be well-cooked without needing to overcook it on the stove.
  • This vegan Mexican rice recipe is on the milder side, if you like to make it spicier, you can add 1 teaspoon of chili powder or a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of rice to use?

The best type of rice to use is long-grain white rice such as jasmine rice or basmati rice. Brown rice, sticky rice, or wild rice won’t work as well. However, if you’re using a different kind of rice, always refer to the packaging instructions about the amount of liquid you need.

Can I make this recipe in the instant pot?

Yes! Turn the Instant pot to saute and cook everything as mentioned in the first two steps. Once you add the liquid and the tomato sauce, place the lid and turn on manual or high pressure. Cook the rice for 3-4 minutes, then allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes.

Can I make this recipe in a rice cooker?

Yes! First, I suggest sauteeing the vegetables in a skillet as mentioned in steps 1 and 2. Then, add everything into the rice cooker and cook until the rice is cooked through.

Can you freeze this vegan Mexican rice recipe?

Yes! It freezes perfectly! Let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.

How do I make it oil-free?

You can substitute the vegan butter with a slash of water or vegetable broth.

Variations

  • Add beans: A can of black beans would be great here! All you have to do is drain and rinse the beans, then add them to the rice after it’s ready.
  • Add corn: You can also add a can of sweet corn. Again, you’ll have to drain it and rinse it before adding it to the rice in the final step.
  • Add more vegetables: Many vegetables can go into this dish. Think carrots, peas, fresh tomatoes, etc. Whatever you add, make sure to consider the cooking time of the vegetables. For example, carrots needed to be added in the begging, while peas need to be added at the end.
A white bowl filled with vegan Mexican rice topped with cilantro leaves.

Storage

Let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 6 days.

Serving

This Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe makes for a perfect side dish for almost anything!

Serve it with burrito bowls, and taco bowls, stuff it in a vegan taco, or serve it next to some refried beans or tofu ground beef. And don’t forget the salsa!

Recipe

Vegan Mexican rice served in a white bowl and topped with cilantro. A silver spoon placed on the right side of the bowl.

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Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe

This Easy Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe comes together in just 1 pot and with a few simple pantry ingredients. Ready in less than 30 minutes!

Keyword basmati rice, mexican rice, spicy food, tomato rice, tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon vegan butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 small yellow or red onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium-small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 red chilies, diced (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed (I use basmati)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 4 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  • Heat the vegan butter in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the onion and red bell pepper and saute for 4-5 minutes, occasionally stirring, until softened.

  • Add the minced garlic and red chilies and saute for 30 more seconds. Add the rice and the spices, and toast everything for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring very often to prevent burning.

  • Add the vegetable broth and tomato sauce and stir to scrap off any browned bits stuck at the bottom. Cover with a lid and cook for 13-15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. After that, make sure to stir every 2 minutes, stirring more and more often towards the end, because this is when the rice tends to burn easily.

  • Once ready, remove the pot from the beat and let the rice steam with the lid on for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and stir in the chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Serve!

(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs and other helpful information for this recipe)

Notes

  • Rinse your rice. In order to get fluffy rice, you need to rinse the rice under cold water a few times, until the water comes out clear. If you skip this step the rice will be sticky and somewhat mushy.
  • Sautee the veggies before adding the rice. This way the vegetables release their natural sugars and start to caramelize, which builds a layer of flavor.
  • Stir very often towards the end. This is really important to prevent burning the bottom of the rice. Don’t just let it simmer and walk away. Stir every 1-2 minutes towards the end.
  • Let the rice steam before serving it. This ensures that every little bit of rice will be well-cooked without needing to overcook it on the stove.
  • This vegan Mexican rice recipe is on the milder side, if you like to make it spicier, you can add 1 teaspoon of chili powder or a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

 
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Accuracy is not guaranteed. Information shown should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fiber: 2g

Post photography by: Petranka Atanasova.

©Watch Learn Eat. All content and images are copyright protected. Recipes and images are not to be used or republished without prior permission. If you adapt this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and link back to this post for the original recipe.



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