8 Great Rice Dishes You Should Try

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Rice is a good cheap eat! Not only that, it tastes great, is gluten-free, and serves as a great base for any number of delectable dinners. Check out these 8 great rice dishes for inspiration.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

I grew up eating simple boiled rice or the wide variety of Rice-a-Roni boxed mixes. I’m still stunned that my mom was able to stretch one cup of rice to feed our family of seven. The FishFam? We’re a 3-cup family.

Rice continues to be one of my favorite side dishes to serve. It is also one of the ways to my husband’s heart. What can I say, but we like rice!

Recently, I’ve taken to buying white basmati rice since my weight-lifting son says it’s the healthiest for us. I haven’t had to time to do the research, do don’t disabuse me of the belief. I’m good with white basmati, particularly when I buy it in bulk at Costco, and the bag lasts two months!

We enjoy rice cooked a number of different ways. Let me count them for you. At least up to 8. It rhymes with great. And these rice dishes are truly great.

8 Great Rice Dishes You Should Try

Vegetable Fried Rice (pictured above) –Vegetable Fried Rice is a quick and easy meal that you can make with just a handful of simple ingredients. It’s a great way to use leftover rice. It makes a delicious side, but I’m happy to eat it all by itself for a meatless meal.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Rice Bowls – Rice bowls are the perfect answer to what’s for dinner if you don’t know what to make or don’t have a lot of time. They are quick, easy, and delicious. Just pull out some leftover meat and vegetables, cook up some eggs, pull out the hot sauces, and you’re good to go.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Chimichurri Rice – Chimichurri Rice takes cilantro, garlic, and spicy pepper, and blends it into a delicious rice side dish, reminiscent of the Argentinian condiment. This is one of our new favorite rice dishes.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Rice and Black Bean Salad – Eat good and cheap with this easy, make ahead Rice and Black Bean Salad, packed full of fiber, protein, and great taste. This is a great make-ahead side but also works really well for packing for lunch. I love it almost as much as I love this quinoa salad.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Baked Rice with Lemon and Thyme – If you’re already heating the oven, slide in a pan of this easy baked rice for a great side dish. It’s practically hands-free and produces perfect rice. Baking rice is a revelation. Have you tried it yet?!

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Cilantro Chicken Rice Bowls – Take beans and rice to a whole new level with this savory chicken topping touched with the awesome sauce that is sour cream and salsa verde. The fabulous magic of mixing sour cream and green salsa together is not to be underestimated. And the rice does a perfect job as a sauce vehicle.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Chicken Fried Rice – This is the meaty cousin to the vegetable fried rice above. Got leftover cooked chicken and rice? Then you’ve got the makings of a great meal.

8 Great Rice Dishes from Good Cheap Eats

Seasoned Rice Pilaf – Boxed rice mixes are a thing of the past, especially when you know how to make a healthier, cheaper, and tastier seasoned rice pilaf yourself. Try this homemade Rice-a-Roni recipe today! It’s just like Mom used to make, only better.

What’s your favorite of these rice dishes?


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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Alice E says

    I think it would be the pilaf. but the chicken fried rice would be a close second. I like both, but fix pilaf much more often. I don’t always add pasta, but would probably add the vermicelli I buy in the 7 ounce packages in the Mexican food section of my store. I keep it on hand for soups, etc. and don’t usually have or use orzo. I do usually add onion and other vegetables as the urge hits me. Any excuse to add more vegetables to meals works for me.

    One of my husband’s favorites is a recipe called Soup Bowl Cabbage Roll that calls for ground beef, cabbage, rice and at the last tomatoes. It is a Taste of Home recipe from years ago that is now available online but was originally published in Healthy Cooking. When I first made it I didn’t have the crushed tomatoes it called for and substituted diced, which is how he still wants it. However the crushed do make it more saucy. I substitute what ever ground meat I have handy and adjust the seasoning, of course, since recipes are rarely set in stone around me. Lol.

    Now that you have discovered rice at Costco, you might try the pinto beans for making huge batches of refried beans and other such uses.

    • Sounds yummy!

      Re: beans, when we were in debt, dry beans were the only kind I could afford. While it’s a luxury to buy canned beans, it’s one I indulge in. It’s so much easier. And I always forget to soak my beans when I want them. It’s like forgetting to thaw.

  2. Amy says

    I LOVE the baked rice with lemon and thyme!!! I could(and do!) eat it by the bowlful.

  3. Sally says

    I have two rice dishes that I like. First is confetti rice: for each cup of rice to be cooked I add one clove of garlic (minced), 1/2 cup each diced onion, diced carrot and diced red bell pepper. I cook the rice and vegetables as usual and at the end of the cooking time I stir in 1/2 cup frozen peas and let it sit for 5 minutes. It’s good as is as a side dish. Leftovers are good reheated with an egg on top or stir fried with some leftover protein or stir-fried protein. Sometimes instead of adding peas at the end I add parboiled broccoli florets or asparagus.

    Another is a rice-a-roni type dish. I sauté some sliced mushrooms, diced onion and a clove or two of minced garlic in olive oil. When the mushrooms have released their liquid and the onions are translucent, I remove them from the pan and set aside. In olive oil I sauté about a cup of long grain rice and a cup of orzo (or fine noodles or angel hair pasta broken into short pieces) until the rice is translucent and the pasta slightly browned. Return vegetables to the pan and add about 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, cover and cook until rice is done.

    I’ve been making both of these for years and one or the other or both show up at least monthly. Leftovers of both can be the basis of more meals. Another rice dish I like is the Spanish Rice from Simply Recipes.

  4. MH says

    I haven’t done much research on rice either – I remember reading years ago that basmati has less impact on glycemic index than other types of rice. We mostly do brown basmati, though yesterday I made white basmati – some went into a creamy chicken rice soup and the rest will go into rice pudding – I just can’t see making rice pudding with brown rice. 🙂
    P.S. Your picture of the veggie fried rice and potstickers looks SO good!

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