Rice is one of the most important foods in the world. For billions of people, rice, a grass seed, is one of the main sources of sustenance. Rice is an important part of many cultures, rituals, ceremonies, celebrations and folklore. For many of us, rice is part of our favorite comfort foods, a tried-and-true side dish or the base of a hearty entrée.
Rice is a highly nutritious component of a healthy diet. It is high in complex carbohydrates, has basically no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium. It’s vegan and gluten-free.
Rice is a great choice if you’re cooking on a budget but some people find cooking rice difficult, and we are here to help. Take a look at How to Cook the Perfect Brown Rice, How to Cook the Perfect White Basmati Rice, and How to Make Perfect Sushi Rice.
Perhaps you’re bored of the usual ways you cook rice. If you only eat white rice, you’re missing out on a lot of flavor and nutrition. Rice comes in many varieties including brown rice, wild rice, red rice, Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, Arborio rice, and black forbidden rice. Check out 5 Ways to Spruce Up Rice and Beans and Your Global Guide to Rice: How to Whip Up This Staple in Creative Ways. If you are in a rut and think rice is boring, then try these 25 recipes where rice is the star ingredient in dishes from all over the globe. These will show you just how exciting rice can be.
1. Yaki Onigiri with Sweet Potato and Avocado Filling
Onigiri (stuffed rice balls) are a popular snack in Japan. Typically, onigiri is eaten cold, but these yaki (meaning “fried”) are best right after frying. These Sweet Potato and Avocado Yaki Onigiri are made even more yummy when dipped in a homemade teriyaki sauce. The sweet and savory sauce added some extra deliciousness to this little snack.
2. Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee
Congee is a traditional rice porridge that is popular in many Asian countries. This Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee is made with nutritious ingredients such as brown rice, shiitake mushrooms, kale, and ginger. It’s nourishing, comforting, and a perfectly restorative meal to eat when you’re recovering from an illness or feeling particularly low on energy.
3. Thai Curry Red Rice Soup
This Thai Curry, Red Rice Soup, is ultimate comfort food for the cold weather! The combination of flavorful Thai spices and healthy sprouted red rice along with mixed vegetables will make you want to eat the whole pot by yourself. A complete weeknight meal is ready in about 30 minutes and is so satisfying.
4. Nourishing Ayurvedic Kitchari
Kitchari is a staple comfort food in India, especially during times of fasting. It’s meant to be nourishing and grounding. This Nourishing Ayurvedic Kitchari has basmati rice and mung beans with lots of fragrant spices. If you need to hit the “reset” button, definitely make this easy and nourishing meal.
5. Kao Pad Thai Fried Rice
Eating a bowl of this Kao Pad Thai Fried Rice for dinner won’t physically transport you to Thailand, but it will take your taste buds on a trip around the world! This recipe is enhanced with the addition of a super simple Thai red chili hot sauce, which gives the rice a fiery, flavorful kick.
6. Nepali Rice Pudding
This Nepali Rice Pudding is a simplified and veganized version of a Nepali Ayurvedic rice pudding. It is traditionally eaten as a “first food” for mothers after birth because it aids digestion and helps rebuild energy. You can eat it as a wonderful cold-weather dessert or breakfast that will nourish you from the inside out!
7. Simplest Greek Stuffed Tomatoes
Stuffed tomatoes are a delicious traditional Greek stuffed vegetable dish, or “gemistes.” These Simplest Greek Stuffed Tomatoes feature the very Greek use of sweet, dried fruits in savory dishes. Currants, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs. and fluffy rice fill these tomatoes to the brim with so many wonderful flavors – they’re the most perfect meal imaginable! And once you see how simple stuffed tomatoes are to make, they’ll be regulars in your dinner rotation.
8. Thai Coconut Rice
Fresh, flavorful, and a little spicy, this Thai Coconut Rice is cooked in coconut milk with veggies, ginger, garlic, roasted peanuts, and jalapeño. This is a great recipe to add to your weekly rotation!
9. Jeweled Yellow Rice with Pignoli Nuts and Golden Raisins
Forget about those boxed rice “pilafs” you have hanging out in your pantry, and make this easy and fragrant Jeweled Yellow Rice with Pignoli Nuts and Golden Raisins instead! It’s a great accompaniment to your main entree, or a nice light lunch on its own.
10. Green Bean and Wild Rice Salad
Take a walk on the wild side. This Green Bean and Wild Rice Salad can be served warm or cold. Crunchy almonds, chewy cranberries and sun-dried tomatoes, tangy olives, and hearty wild rice provide an interesting mix of textures that will have you craving more!
11. Caramel Rice Sticky Squares
Rice is also great for making desserts. These Caramel Rice Sticky Squares are a vegan version of the classic treat you learned from the back of a cereal box. They use vegan marshmallows and have a coconut caramel topping. Everyone is going to love these so make a double batch.
12. Easy Cajun Jambalaya
Loaded with tomatoes, celery, onion, Cajun seasoning, paprika, thyme, sweet peppers, and jalapeños, this Easy Cajun Jambalaya is a perfect one pot meal. They feature vegan sausages to add a little heartiness and umami to the dish. Feel free to sub those or leave them out though if you’d like the recipe to be gluten-free.
13. Rosemary Arancini
Risotto just may be one of the most perfect foods ever – but it can get even better. These Rosemary Arancini are little balls of risotto that are deep fried. Perfect for an appetizer or snack, now it really doesn’t get any better than that.
14. Veggie Sushi with Smoked Tempeh and Avocado
If you’re bored with the same veggie sushi choices every time, try these Veggie Sushi with Smoked Tempeh and Avocado. These sushi rolls are packed with flavor. The smoky and nutty tempeh combined with creamy and rich avocado and crunchy sesame seeds make it one pretty exciting dish.
15. Black Sticky Rice Pudding (Bubur Pulut Hitam)
This Bubur Pulut Hitam is a traditional Malaysian dessert known as sticky black rice pudding. It’s rich in flavor and so creamy but not too sweet. The traditional recipe has only four basic ingredients: black sticky rice, coconut milk, pandan leaves (optional), and coconut sugar. Plus, black rice is an absolute health bomb!
16. Mint Biryani with Garden Peas
Mint and peas are a flavor match made in heaven. They also go really well in rice dishes. This Mint Biryani with Garden Peas takes those two flavors and adds chili and curry for a dish that is both bright and spicy.
17. Caribbean Red Rice Salad with Chili-Apricot Dressing
Red rice is just like brown rice but has a nutty flavor and a denser texture. It’s also packed with antioxidants. This Caribbean Red Rice Salad with Chili Apricot Dressing is bursting with slightly spicy and sweet flavors. You will most likely go for second servings and maybe thirds.
Mujaddara is an ancient dish that has been traced back to the 13th century. The dish is made with lentils and rice and is a hearty dish that is filling and satisfying. The lentils and rice are seasoned with warm spices, and fried onions get mixed into the dish as well as tossed on top, so you get fried, crunchy goodness throughout. The yogurt-lemon sauce adds a tangy, cool element against the spiciness.
19. Creamy Pumpkin Risotto With Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pepitas
If you want to serve a show-stopping main dish, look no further than this decadent Creamy Pumpkin Risotto with Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pepitas. It’s creamy, rich, and delicious – and because it’s both vegan and gluten-free, it will satisfy everyone at the table!
20. Tomato Rice Patties
Don’t be intimidated by leftovers; they can become your greatest inspiration! These Tomato Rice Patties are made with leftover brown rice, tomatoes, and tofu. These baked patties are proof that you can turn leftovers into an entirely new recipe.
21. Best Ever Forbidden Rice Salad
This Best Ever Forbidden Rice Salad is easy, quick, and guaranteed to impress. Black or “Forbidden Rice” has a roasted nutty flavor and pairs well with all sorts of veggies and greens. The ginger miso dressing goes perfectly with the sweet potatoes and nutty rice.
22. Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Brown Rice Bake
This Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Brown Rice Bake is simple as can be, especially if you cook the brown rice in advance. All you have to do is mix brown rice and broccoli in a casserole dish and stir it up with a basic cheesy sauce. Easy peasy.
23. Vegan Horchata!
Yes, you can drink rice! This Vegan Horchata is made with rice. It’s icy, creamy, and with a kick of cinnamon, this recipe is simple, delicious and sure to cool you down while tantalizing your taste buds.
24. Cream of Wild Rice Soup
This nutty and aromatic Cream of Wild Rice Soup uses wild rice instead of regular white rice. It has a creamy texture without the heaviness of a traditional cream soup. Enjoy this on a cold and snowy winter day with a cup of hot tea!
25. Scrambled Tofu Fried Rice
Give your leftover rice a whole new spin. This Scrambled Tofu Fried Rice is a quick and easy dish that tastes great and will keep you full for hours. The combination of spicy, sweet and salty flavors combines into a fabulous flavored dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
We are betting you’ve probably never seen such a collection of beautiful, colorful, and different types of rice dishes. Just think how much fun you’ll have trying them all.
Lead image source: Scrambled Tofu Fried Rice