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Healthy Rice Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy, delicious side dish with rice recipes including rice and beans, Spanish rice, fried rice, and risotto. Healthier recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Easy Brown Rice

Rating: 4 stars
4
Here's the only recipe you need to make perfect brown rice every time! This healthy whole grain is great on its own as a side dish, or use it in your favorite recipes calling for cooked brown rice.

Broccoli, Cheese & Rice Casserole

Rating: 5 stars
4
Ditch the baking dish and make this easy skillet broccoli, cheese and rice casserole. Cooking the casserole in a skillet keeps the flavors and textures fresh--no mushy, sad broccoli! Serve this easy side with baked chicken for a family-pleasing healthy dinner that's ready in just 30 minutes. It would also be a great addition to your Thanksgiving spread or a party buffet.

Slow-Cooker Cheesy Rice with Broccoli

Rating: 3.5 stars
2
This dish is sure to be a kid favorite that adults will crave, too. Broccoli and cheese is a classic pairing for a reason, and when served with rice and umami-rich mushrooms, the combo is even more comforting. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and additional kosher salt and black pepper, if desired.

Easy Fried Rice

Mixed frozen vegetables make this healthy fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.

Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)

Rating: 4.67 stars
2
Biryanis are rice-based casseroles that combine a saucy meat, vegetable or legume curry with basmati rice, whole spices, nuts and raisins. This particular dish is a nutritional powerhouse, thanks to the mustard greens and chickpeas. Look for the specialty spices--cardamom pods, saffron and garam masala--in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.

Basic Risotto

Rating: 4.63 stars
8
Slowly adding hot broth to arborio rice helps release the starch from the rice, giving risotto its characteristic silky, creamy texture. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you'd prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 2 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, then begin adding the broth. If you prefer to omit wine, use more broth in its place.

Black Sticky Rice

Black sticky rice, a delicious whole-grain alternative to white rice, is purplish black in color and has a chewy texture. This recipe gives you a simple method for how to make black sticky rice. Look for it in natural-foods stores in the bulk department or with other whole-grain rice.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice

Rating: 4.63 stars
8
You can vary the filling by substituting robust mustard greens or collards, or milder greens, such as spinach, escarole or Swiss chard. (Cook the greens until just tender in Step 2.)

Baked Rice with Roasted Corn, Peppers & Onions

This filling rice casserole, loosely based on paella, features seared corn, roasted peppers, garlic and red onions. If you like, include diced zucchini or chopped green beans as well. A flavorful roasted garlic mayonnaise makes a luxurious topping.

Nina's Mexican Rice

Rating: 4 stars
6
The key to nutty and flavorful Mexican rice is cooking the rice first in oil until it is nicely golden.

Wild Rice Pilaf

This healthy rice pilaf combines wild rice with brown rice for a nutty, delicious side dish that pairs perfectly with roasted salmon, chicken or pork. Bonus: Nutrient-rich wild rice has a higher protein content than many other whole grains.

Green Risotto

Rating: 4.2 stars
5
Serve this pretty, pesto-flavored risotto alongside roasted chicken or pork roast or serve with a big salad for a light dinner. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you'd prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 3 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is gone, then begin adding the broth. You can substitute more broth in place of the wine.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole

Rating: Unrated
14
In Minnesota, chicken, mushrooms and wild rice are often bound together in a casserole with cream of mushroom soup. We forgo the sodium-rich canned soup and make a light, creamy sauce that gets depth of flavor from dry sherry and Parmesan cheese. If you already have cooked chicken, use 4 cups and skip Step 2.

Coconut Brown Rice

The secret to the maxed-out flavor of this coconut brown rice dish? Coconut in three forms—milk, oil and shredded.

Lemon Rice (Chitrannam)

Use up leftover rice and make it into something delicious with this healthy Indian recipe. Because cooked rice refrigerated overnight dries out a little, it's better suited to absorb all the flavors in this dish without getting sticky or mushy. In a pinch, use frozen or shelf-stable precooked basmati rice, available in many stores. Urad dal and roasted chana dal add texture and authenticity to the rice--look for both types of dal in Indian markets or online.