Mixing cooked brown rice into your ground beef or turkey instantly ups the volume and brings with it some pretty great health benefits too.

Victoria Seaver M.S., R.D.
April 09, 2020
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In the time of COVID-19, we're all looking for ways to stretch our food stores to keep grocery trips to a minimum. Long-lasting fruits and veggies and shelf-stable items (like dried pasta and canned goods) help, but when it comes to foods like fresh or frozen meat and fish, it feels a little harder to keep enough on hand, whether it's because of the price or (lack of) room in your freezer.

Ground meat is one of the foods people have been stocking up on because it freezes well and is a versatile, quick-cooking protein to have on hand for easy meals. The next time you go to make a batch of meatballs, burgers, meatloaf or taco filling, try this simple trick to make your stash of ground beef, turkey chicken or pork (or your plant-based meat alternative) go twice as far—mix in cooked brown rice!

Brown rice easily takes on the flavors from the meat and spices and the texture is so similar that it's hard to even tell it's in there. You'll immediately increase the volume and by mixing in this healthy whole grain, you'll up the fiber content of your meal, which has some pretty amazing benefits.

Fiber slows down digestion, which means you'll feel fuller for longer after your meal; it also boosts gut health and makes your bathroom routine more regular. Plus, research shows that a diet high in fiber is associated with a decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Great, right?

So, how exactly should you go about doing this? This tasty recipe for Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps (pictured above) suggests adding 1/2 cup cooked brown rice per pound of ground meat but the last time I made this, I probably mixed in closer to a cup (maybe even a little more). I did add a little extra spice mix and it turned out just as delicious as I remembered it being and there was so much of the turkey filling, I ended up freezing half after my husband and I ate it for lunch and dinner for what felt like a week.

Recipes to Try

Chances are you have some brown rice stashed away in your pantry, so the next time you pull a package of ground meat from the freezer, plan on cooking up some rice to mix in. Try this trick with these easy ground meat recipes.

Old-Fashioned Meatloaf

Chipotle Beef Tacos with Tomato-Avocado Pico de Gallo

Classic Marinara Meatballs

Chicken & Cucumber Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes