Small swaps make this authentic Mexican rice recipe into a healthy vegan rice dish. Using vegetable stock creates a low sodium version of this rice recipe. This easy rice side dish is the perfect gluten free side to tacos for taco Tuesday or for a Cinco de Mayo spread.
Any time I go to a Mexican restaurant, I’m not sure what I like the most. Is it the tacos, the margaritas, or the Mexican rice? I won’t lie and say I always fill myself up on guacamole and tortilla chips. But, if there’s one item off the menu that I will force, it’s Mexican rice!
Growing up, Mexican rice was only a treat for a night out (or in) at a Mexican restaurant. I never knew what gave it its red color or delicious flavor, but I didn’t care! Even as a picky eater I still wanted to eat it all. The older I got, the more bored I got with my typical rice side dish. I wanted to switch it up
I’m the kind of person who couldn’t make regular rice without a rice maker for a solid majority of my life. The good news is that this Mexican rice dish is EASY! It takes around 40 minutes and is really low maintenance (thank goodness!).
What is Mexican rice?
Mexican rice is a Mexican dish with white rice, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. The tomato makes the rice a reddish orange color, giving it the other name 'red rice'.
Spanish rice is similar in idea but uses saffron to create the yellow color. In the United States many people call Spanish rice and Mexican rice the same thing. They are actually different. Spanish rice is heartier and Mexican rice is softer.
Mexican rice is almost like a Mexican fried rice. It is best served with lime and cilantro on top.
IS MEXICAN RICE HEALTHY?
It depends what you mean by “healthy.” The lowest calorie rice dish is rice cooked with water. A traditional Mexican rice uses chicken bouillon cubes.
This healthy low sodium Mexican rice substitutes for vegetable stock. Because chicken bouillon has high sodium, the flavor comes from the stock instead.
Step-By-Step How To
STEP ONE: Toast the rice in avocado or canola oil.
STEP TWO: Make the tomato stock. Blend tomato and onion together with low sodium vegetable stock.
STEP THREE: Add tomato and onion sauce to the toasted rice.
STEP FOUR: On the stovetop, bring to a boil and then let simmer.
STEP FIVE: Allow the tomato broth to soak into the rice (about 30-minutes), take off of the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Enjoy while warm!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- RICE. For an authentic Mexican rice dish, use long grain white rice. Substitutes are Jasmine or Basmati rices.
- TOMATOES. Use Roma tomatoes for this tomato and rice recipe. If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, an heirloom tomato can substitute.
- ONION. White onion is best.
- VEGETABLE STOCK. Swap the traditional chicken bouillon cube for vegetable stock. This drops the sodium levels to minimal. Make sure to use your own vegetable stock or a no salt added veggie stock.
Tips & Tricks
For an authentic Mexican rice recipe, use long grain white rice. A substitute for this is Jasmine or Basmati rice.
Add the long grain white rice with a small amount of neutral oil, like canola or avocado oil. Watch the white rice carefully while it’s toasting, as you don’t want the rice to burn. It should become a beige color, almost like raw brown rice.
Mexican rice is traditionally more wet and sticky than typical white rice. Because of this I do not suggest using it for meal prep other than the next two days. To use within the next two days, place in the microwave for 60-seconds. After 60-seconds, stir and place back in microwave for an extra 60-seconds.
What to Serve with this Rice
You can use this vegan Mexican rice anywhere you'd typically use rice or quinoa:
- As a side dish for tacos like Vegan Cauliflower Tacos Al Pastor or Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos & Cabbage-Carrot Slaw.
- As a side dish for Healthy Chorizo, Sweet Potato and Kale Enchiladas.
- Topped with chicken, meat, or vegan option.
- Stuff into a burrito.
- Definitely pair with a Skinny Margarita, Frozen Blackberry Margaritas with Mint or non-alcoholic Cucumber Agua Fresca or Orange Agua Fresca!
Vegan Mexican Rice
- 1 Cup Long Grain White Rice
- 2 TSP Oil of Preference
Tomato and Onion Broth
- 2 Cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock
- 2 Roma Tomatoes
- ¼ White Onion
- 1 TSP Garlic Salt
- 1 Lime
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- Pour oil into medium pot and add white rice. Stir to coat evenly and turn on stove heat to medium. Toast until white rice is a light yellow almost brown shade - about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir often to avoid burning.
- While toasting the rice, make the tomato broth. Add the tomatoes, onion, vegetable stock and garlic salt into the blender. Blend until smooth - about 25-seconds.
- When rice is lightly toasted, pour the tomato broth into the pot of rice. Bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil, add the lid and bring down to a simmer. Stir every 5-7 minutes, making sure to return the lid once stirred. Simmer for about 30-minutes, until the tomato broth is soaked entirely into the rice.
- After the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat and let sit for 5-minutes (lid still on).
- Serve with lime and cilantro while warm.