Ah, Spanish Rice. It makes me think of one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in my home town – the type of place that serves huge combo plates of Spanish Rice, refried beans and carnitas, all covered in cheese. For years I ate Spanish Rice in restaurants and for some reason was overwhelmed by the idea of making it at home, but once I looked at a few recipes, I saw how easy it really was. When I finally made it myself, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it before.
We’re moving next week, which means this week we’re starting to pack everything we own into boxes, and we’re eating everything that’s not part of our most basic food storage. All I have left to cook with is basic, shelf-safe staples, (along with my weekly produce) and the most essential cookware. Luckily, this recipe only requires 5 or 6 basic ingredients, and a pot.
I should explain that this dish isn’t really Spanish, but Mexican in origin. It’s more properly called Mexican Rice or arroz rojo. It’s a version of the popular side dish served in Mexican restaurants in the United States.
I cheated a little in calling this 5 ingredient Spanish Rice, because I added diced green chiles to mine, but the chiles are totally optional. The great thing about Spanish Rice is that once you have the recipe and process down, you can make however you’d like depending on your tastes or what you have in the pantry. Sometimes I like to add fresh peppers and onions, change up the spices, or substitute salsa for tomato sauce.
This recipe was also perfect for a moving week because it’s so simple and quick to prepare. It literally takes 5 minutes to get everything ready, then it cooks for 20 minutes, and it’s done.
One step I really don’t recommend that you skip when making Spanish Rice is lightly toasting the rice before you cook it. The first few times I made Spanish Rice, the recipes I worked from didn’t say to toast the rice, and I was always disappointed by the texture; it turned out too clumpy and mushy for my taste.
Tonight I’m serving this rice in tacos with my Best Ever Mexican Black Beans, but I also love adding it to burritos and enchiladas with my favorite Crock-Pot Cilantro Lime Shredded Chicken, or just serving it as a side dish with a variety of main courses.
5-Ingredient Spanish Rice (Mexican Rice or Arroz Rojo)
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup white rice
- 1-2 cups chicken broth*
- 1 cup 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 4 oz can diced green chilies optional
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
- Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add the rice and stir to coat completely in oil. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes, until rice is lightly toasted.
- Add chicken broth*, tomato sauce, diced green chilies, and taco seasoning and stir to combine.
- Turn the heat up to high, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, put the lid on the sauce pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes*, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is fully cooked.
- Once rice is done cooking, remove from heat and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Using a fork, fluff the rice and incorporate any tomato sauce that has come to the top.
- Serve immediately.