What comes to mind when you think of brown rice recipes? Is it bland, chewy, boring? Would you even know what to make with brown rice?
We hear your cry. You will be delighted to know that brown rice doesn’t have to be bland or boring. We’ve compiled a list of delicious and fun recipes with brown rice that will change your perception of this humble grain.
Whether it is soup, salad, side-dish , or entree, we have a recipe that is certain to surprise you.
We have wraps, stir-fry and rice bowls. Give these brown rice dishes a try, and you may just find some new favourites.
1. Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad
This brown rice salad with a Mediterranean twist is a perfect side dish for seafood or a hearty meat entree.
It will also serve as a stand-alone main dish as well.
Add your favourite greens, cucumbers, tomato, black or Kalamata olives, along with your brown rice and top with red onion and herbs like dill and coriander for the perfect blend of flavours.
Tip: Use perfectly cooked brown rice and keep your ratios balanced so that no ingredient will overpower the other.
You can substitute any stout or flavorful cheese for the halloumi. Try warming it just to the melting point before adding it to the salad.
2. Brown Rice Cooking
Having brown rice meals on your menu means that you need to learn how to perfectly cook your brown rice.
It’s great to cook up a big batch and have on-hand for trying out the wonderful recipes on this list.
This stovetop method seems to be largely fool proof, and yields a perfectly cooked brown rice that’s never mushy or sticky. Brown rice takes about twice as long to cook as white rice does, so be prepared for that.
Trip: Check your rice to see if the liquid has been absorbed, and remove from heat.
Leave the pan covered for at least 10 minutes for all the rice to finish steaming.
3. Blackened Chicken Brown Rice Bowls with Avocado Cream
These Blackened Chicken Brown Rice bowls are hearty, healthy and delicious.
The combination of seared blackened chicken, sweet potato, black beans and brown rice are a filling and nutritious blend of delightful flavours.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the avocado cream sauce. This is mashed avocado with Greek yoghurt and lemon juice.
This sauce gives a brightness to the dish, the citrus zing and the tang from the yoghurt brings out all the other flavours in the bowl.
Tip: You can substitute a regular cajun blackening spice blend for the homemade blend in the recipe. Either one works just as well.
4. Black Beans with Brown Rice
This hearty Black Beans with Brown Rice recipe is a delicious and filling main dish that your family is going to love.
It’s a perfect healthy brown rice recipe that’s also easy to make.
Saute your aromatics and use canned whole black beans and diced tomatoes.
Season to taste with vinegar and spices, cook until the beans are hot and bubbly. Serve over cooked and reheated brown rice.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the cayenne pepper. Increase or decrease this spice according to your personal preference.
5. Roasted Veggie Brown Rice Bowl
This Roasted Veggie Brown Rice Bowl is the perfect vegetarian option and an excellent brown rice dinner idea.
It contains all the components of a healthy meal, and the sweet tahini dressing gives it an extra layer of flavour that will make this veggie rice bowl a family favourite.
Roasting the vegetables is easy. Simply chop and season your vegetables and toss in the oil. Spread veggie pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until cooked.
Build your bowl with a scoop of cooked brown rice, and top with greens, roasted veggies and your choice of nuts or seeds for an added crunch.
6. Fried Brown Rice
One of our favourite brown rice dishes is Fried Brown Rice. It’s a heartier and healthier alternative to white rice.
Mix with veggies and your choice of protein, and you’ve got a delicious main course.
This recipe calls for marinated meat. You’ll want to make that in advance, so the meat has time to marinate and absorb all the delicious flavours before you sear it.
Tip: Scramble your eggs, then drizzle the eggs into the rice mixture as you are stir-frying for best results.
7. Brown Rice Jambalaya
This combination of shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken prepared in a Cajun-style stew makes this Brown Rice Jambalaya one of our favourite recipes that use brown rice.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is really a combination of ingredients; the Cajun spice mix.
Adjust the salt in the spice blend if you are using canned chicken stock, or you may end up with your stew too salty.
We recommend the low sodium version if possible.
This recipe is full of aromatics and so many layers of flavour that it’s sure to be a winner at your table.
8. Tofu and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
This recipe for Tofu and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce is one of the more simple brown rice recipes.
Tofu is browned in oil, the cooked brown rice is added and the amazing sauce brings the recipe together. These little lettuce “tacos” make great appetizers or a tasty main course.
Place in some leaves of fresh butter lettuce and top with the incredible spicy mayo, some crunchy nuts, seeds, or fried onions and you’ve got a delightful finger food that is healthy and vegetarian.
Tip: To make this recipe vegan, replace the mayo with a vegan alternative.
9. Chicken and Brown Rice
One-pot chicken and Brown Rice doesn’t have to be boring. This recipe starts with a whole chicken cut up into sections. Season, then brown the chicken until golden on the outside and set aside.
Sautee your aromatics and then add in your cooked brown rice, tomatoes and peppers and add your water or chicken broth.
Add your chicken back in, and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is done to temp.
Sprinkle the frozen peas in, cover and remove from heat until the peas are cooked through.
The entire dish takes about an hour , and is totally worth the time spent.
10. Mexican Brown Rice
This recipe for Mexican Brown Rice is a healthier alternative to the white rice that’s usually used in Mexican dishes.
The switch to Mexican Brown Rice is certain to be a game-changer when paired with your traditional and authentic Mexican meals.
The process for preparing the brown rice is a bit different as this dish is started on the stovetop and then finished in a hot oven for better results.
Toast your jalapeno with the rice to infuse it with that spicy flavour and build from there.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the red pepper flake. Increase or decrease this ingredient for more or less spice in the final product.
11. Brown Rice Pudding
This Brown Rice Pudding is a healthier twist on traditional rice pudding. It takes a while to prepare , but is always worth the wait.
This stovetop version is versatile and delicious.
This recipe calls for uncooked brown rice, but you can easily substitute leftover cooked brown rice, as long as it’s plain and unseasoned.
You can also substitute cream or half and half for the evaporated canned milk and use your favourite sugar substitute to make it even more healthy.
You can scale this up for a weekend breakfast or brunch; anytime you need to feed a bunch of hungry kids.
12. Beefy Rice Skillet
This is one of the easy one-skillet meals that we love to put together on a busy weeknight or to make ahead when you know you’re going to be pressed for time.
Making this Beefy Rice Skillet, using instant brown rice takes just about 30 minutes and tastes like you’ve been spending hours in the kitchen.
Use canned tomatoes, beef broth and frozen veggies for convenience and turn your lean ground beef into a delightful meal that is comfort food at its finest.
Substitute spicy stewed or Mexican blend canned, diced tomatoes for a little extra flavour.
13. Brown Rice Sushi
This Brown Rice Sushi is a fun experiment in making sushi at home. It does take time to prepare and slice the veggies, but the actual assembly of the rolls is fun and easy to achieve.
It takes a little practice and the right tools, but it’s totally worth it to make these delightful veggie rolls with brown rice.
Try this one for an appetizer when you’re entertaining or get the kids involved in assembling the sushi rolls.
They are a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat.
14. Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
This Cilantro Lime Brown Rice is the perfect base for burritos or bowls. It also works as a side dish along with any of your favourite Mexican dishes.
Not everyone loves cilantro, but you can win them over easily with this tasty dish.
Top the brown rice with meat, beans, chopped onion and salsa or guacamole and you’ve got a flavorful and filling meal that’s a real “stick to your ribs” kind of dish.
The secret ingredient in this dish is lemon juice. The recipe is called Cilantro/Lime, but the dash of lemon juice brightens the flavours and brings out the nutty taste of the brown rice.
15. Slow Cooker Rustic Herbed Brown Rice
There’s nothing better than a slow cooker recipe where you can “set it and forget it”, then come back to a perfectly cooked dish, ready to serve.
This brown rice dish takes the extra step of sauteing the brown rice in butter before you put it into the slow cooker to finish.
The browning of the rice helps it to maintain its texture without becoming too soft or mushy.
Season with beef broth, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper; and with the addition of some mushrooms, this brown rice dish is rustic, flavorful, and a perfect slow cooker side.
16. Ground Turkey and Veggie Brown Rice Bowls
This Ground Turkey and Veggie Brown Rice Bowl is a great way to stretch your grocery dollar and feed a group of people for a quick weeknight meal, or a lunch get-together with friends.
You can make your brown rice in advance, and warm it before serving. Saute your aromatics then add the ground turkey and season to taste.
Drain meat and set aside while you cook your veggies in the same oil and seasonings.
In the final step, add the mushrooms, tomato sauce and lemon juice, then add the turkey back in and toss with parmesan cheese.
The result is delicious, and served over brown rice, it’s sure to be a winner at your table.
17. Quinoa and Brown Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Tahini
This double-grain veggie bowl is a vegetarian’s dream dish. It’s chock full of the best flavours and textures and packed with nutrients and protein.
The vegetables are cooked in stages to avoid over-cooking the more delicate choices, and the finished product is topped with sliced avocado and bean sprouts.
Serve with the tahini; whisked together with some lemon juice and garlic and season with red pepper flake.
Tip: Serve the tahini dressing on the side, to avoid making the grains soggy at the bottom of the bowl.
18. Brown Rice Stir Fry with Vegetables
Brown rice is a perfect complement to vegetable stir-fry, which brings us to this great recipe.
This Brown Rice Stir-fry with Vegetables is a delicious meal any time of the day or night.
The great thing about this stir-fry, besides being healthy and delicious, is that you can change up the veggies you use every time, and it’s a completely different meal.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the cayenne pepper.
You can adjust this spice according to personal taste and you may like to add a nice kick of spice, depending on who will be eating this dish.
19. Brown Rice Stuffed Bell Pepper
This Brown Rice Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe is totally vegetarian, using a plant-based protein. It also works with plain vegetables, and the brown rice gives it a nutty flavour and chewy texture.
If you choose to go vegetarian, you can add in the flavour layers from the variety of cheeses and tomatoes.
Otherwise you’ll want to use dairy-free cheese substitutes to make this a vegan-friendly option.
However you put it together, the sweetness of the bell peppers combined with the brown rice and veggies are a winning combination.
20. One Pot Brown Rice and Lentils
This One-Pot Brown Rice and Lentils dish is a side that eats like a meal.
The combination of lentils and brown rice perfectly seasoned and prepared is a filling and satisfying dish.
You can top with veggies or sauces to add a bit of different textures or flavours, and serve as a main dish. Use vegetable broth to keep this dish vegan-friendly.
Tip: Use only brown or green lentils in this recipe. Red or yellow lentils are too soft and will turn to mush in the cooking process.
21. Ground Beef and Rice Skillet
There’s nothing better on a busy weeknight than a one-skillet meal.
This Ground Beef and Rice skillet have everything needed for a satisfying and comforting meal that doesn’t take a ton of time to prepare.
Use long-grain brown rice to add a bit more chew, and a little nutty flavour. The health benefits of brown rice far outweigh white rice, even in a comfort food dish such as this.
The secret ingredient in this dish is the Worcestershire sauce. The addition of this ingredient gives the dish a nice umami layer of flavour.
22. Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage
If you come from a European family background, chances are you grew up eating some version of Stuffed Cabbage.
This dish has been a staple in many homes through the generations.
This Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage recipe brings back the old-world flavours many grew up with, and, with the addition of brown rice, is a hearty and filling comfort food that could easily get placed into regular rotation in your kitchen especially during cold weather months.
You can substitute a plant-based protein for a vegetarian option, use ground turkey or ground pork or a combination of both for variety.
23. Salmon and Brown Rice Salad
This Salmon and Brown Rice Salad is a delightful addition to any meal. Serve at your next luncheon, or for a summertime supper while dining al fresco.
You can use up cooked brown rice and leftover salmon, or start fresh with both. You can pan-sear your salmon instead of Microwave,for a bit of crispness on the fish.
Tip: Steam your soybeans at the end of the rice cooking process then cool by rinsing under cold water.
The chilli, soy, and lime are the perfect dressing for this protein salad. Serve the salad chilled with the dressing on the side, or dress just before you serve.
24. Soy and Ginger Fish with Brown Rice
This Soy and Ginger Fish with Brown Rice is a light and healthy meal that is surprisingly easy and quick to prepare.
Use a white fish that is firm and will stand up to frying such as rockfish, halibut, or cod. This recipe will also work well with salmon.
The secret to making this dish is the soy/ginger sauce. The combination of salt and sweet is the perfect flavour profile to go with the vegetables and brown rice.
Tip: Slice your vegetables very thin for short cooking time and ease of consumption.
25. Chicken and Brown Rice Soup
There’s nothing quite like a hearty pot of soup simmering on the stove during the cold weather months.
It fills the house with a delightful aroma and leaves you anticipating the meal at the end of the day.
This Chicken and Brown Rice Soup is the perfect example of a hearty and healthy soup that you will enjoy cooking and eating.
You can use pre-cooked brown rice and leftover chicken to cut down on cooking times and make this soup an easy weekday meal for your hungry family.
Serve with some crusty bread and a side salad for a perfectly balanced meal.
26. Toasted Brown Rice with Mushrooms and Thyme
This Toasted Brown Rice with Mushrooms and Thyme recipe is the perfect side dish for any entree, especially savoury meat dishes. The earthiness of the mushrooms combined
With the nutty flavour of the rice and seasonings pairs well with just about everything.
The trick to perfecting this recipe is to toast the rice before adding the broth to steam it.
This brings out the nutty flavour of the brown rice to perfection.
You can substitute beef or chicken stock for the vegetable stock for an added flavour layer to go along with your main course.
27. Easy Vegetable Fried Brown Rice with Egg
This is as advertised. An Easy Vegetable Fried Brown Rice with Egg. This dish is perfect for a side or main dish, depending on your mood and appetite.
Use frozen peas and carrots and some low sodium soy sauce. Add to your cooked rice, stir fry in some light oil with onion or scallions, and add a beaten egg. That’s all there is to it!
You can substitute other veggies and add a meat option to turn this fried rice into a hearty and delicious main dish. The possibilities are endless.
28. Brown Rice Salad
This Brown Rice Salad boasts sweet bell peppers, spring onions, nuts or seeds and raisins, with a soy/garlic and black pepper dressing. It’s an unusual combination with the nutty flavour of the cooked brown rice, but it really works.
Tip: Dress the salad well before serving to allow the rice to soak up the flavours of the dressing.
Tip. Rinse and drain your fully cooked brown rice to cool it before you blend the other salad ingredients together for best results.
Bring this salad with you to your next BBQ or luncheon potluck, and you’re sure to bring home an empty dish.
29. Wild and Brown Rice
This recipe uses uncooked Wild and Brown Rice and a combination of veggies and seasonings to create a beautiful side dish that works well with just about any entree.
Tip: Add your vegetables towards the end of the cooking process to avoid overcooking.
This dish works in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven.
You can substitute a different flavour of stock depending upon what main course you are making, and can also swap different vegetables into the mix, depending upon what you may have on hand.
Doctor this rice combination up with your leftover meat and you can have it as a main dish for leftovers.
29 Healthy Brown Rice Recipes
- 1-1/2 c uncooked long grain brown rice
- 3-1/2 c water
- 2 tbsps white vinegar
- 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 1/4 c chopped fresh basil
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 8 cups), coarsely chopped
- 16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 c (8 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- Add your rice and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. The rice will be tender in about 40 minutes
- While the rice is cooking, whisk together the vinegar, seasonings, and basil; drizzle the oil in a while whisking
- Put the spinach in a large bowl
- Add the rice, tomatoes, onions and the dressing
- Mix together until all ingredients are combined with the spinach
- Gently stir the feta cheese into the salad and chill for at least 2 hours before serving