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16 Easy Rice Based Dishes to Serve Your Family

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One of the troubles you’ll face when cooking for your household is deciding what to cook in the first place. Aside from making sure the ingredients are available in your pantry, you’ll also have to take into account the preferences of each of your family members. No one wants to toil in the kitchen for hours and then have no one eat their fruits of labor, after all.

If you’re finding it hard to choose which recipe to cook for tonight’s dinner, why not try rice-based dishes? Not only is it gluten-free, but rice is also widely available in grocery stores and is easy to store. Below are 16 easy rice based dishes you can whip up for either a family feast or a casual meal.


Main Course Rice Recipes

easy rice based dishes

The good thing about these rice recipes is that the main ingredient may probably be already in your pantry since rice is a staple in most homes and the other ingredients can be easily found in your local market. You will be surprised how these basic ingredients can turn into a wonderful meal that will surely be a crowd-pleaser.

One-Pot Mediterranean Shrimp and Rice Recipe

This simple one-pot recipe is zesty, colorful, and vibrant, making it a recipe best served for guests. The dish is made with shrimp, asparagus, rice, olive oil, and a few seasonings, but you can adapt the dish according to your preferences. If you don’t have time to do your grocery shopping but still want a restaurant-worthy supper, then this is the dish you may want to cook.

Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

Unlike your typical risotto, this delicious vegan-friendly recipe is baked. This dish may be less creamy than the conventional creamy risotto recipe but can still be delicious comfort food like any homemade risotto is known for. The ingredients may not be easily found in your pantry as you need Arborio rice and dry white wine, but it is so easy to prepare that you will have more time to create other dishes.

Coconut Cilantro Rice with Chicken

This coconut rice recipe with lime juice and fresh cilantro is definitely a refreshing meal you can serve to add a bit of flair to your dining table. This recipe is so easy to make that you only need 30 minutes to whip up this incredible meal. In fact, you can even cook this in a slow cooker or rice cooker. Rice such as Jasmine Rice and Basmati Rice is best used in this rice recipe, but you can feel free to use any type of rice. This rice recipe is so versatile that you can pair it up with any meat, but chicken and rice with coconut seem to be the match made in heaven. If you want to make this extra you can use rotisserie chicken instead.

Dirty Rice

This Southern comfort rice dish is also called Cajun Rice, while in some areas it is referred to as rice dressing. The name of the dish may be off-putting to some, but this dish has an intense flavor from the mix of different meats, such as ground beef, and tons of spices. It is an easy meal to create and is definitely a great companion to some lightly flavored dishes such as coleslaw, steamed veggies, and corn on the cob. This intensely flavorful rice dish can be served both as a main dish and a side dish.

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Rice Casserole

A decadent dish that can be easily prepared, this casserole is the absolute go-to if you’re hosting a party or planning on bringing food to an event. Long grain rice such as Basmati rice is great for this dish but you can use brown rice as a substitute. Want a lower carb option? Simply use cauliflower rice instead to make a wild rice casserole. Thanks to the mixture of milk and different varieties of cheese such as mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese, this casserole has that creamy texture and decadent flavor that will surely be a star of any gathering.

Slow Cooker Paella Recipe

This may not be how paella is traditionally made, but slow cooker paella still retains the rich flavors that the Spanish rice recipe is known for. Tender chicken, shrimp, and Spanish chorizo (not to be confused with Mexican chorizo) take center stage in this paella. The dish will shine most if you use homemade chicken broth, but store-bought ones are okay to use. Because it’s cooked in a slow cooker, there’s not much effort needed on your part, perfect for those days where you just can’t be bothered to cook.

Side note: you can also use your slow cooker to cook this red beans and rice recipe.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Made with chicken and rice, this soup is an upgrade to your regular chicken soup. The fresh herbs and creamy rice make the dish more satisfying to eat. For a more nutritionally-packed meal and an added nutty flavor, you can use wild rice in place of the white rice used in the recipe and make this a creamy wild rice soup instead. Want to make it even more special? Add a bit of white wine. You can also simmer a whole chicken in a medium saucepan and add your preferred spices for the broth instead of using store-bought stock.

Wild Rice Bowl

Like every power bowl, this recipe is a complete meal on its own and is packed with nutritious ingredients. A rice bowl is basically a warm rice salad, except with more filling. This power bowl recipe, in particular, contains wild rice, chicken, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and a delicious vinaigrette of Dijon mustard and cider/vinegar. For a touch of color, you can add corn kernels, (preferably from corn cobs instead of canned), green onions, and diced green bell pepper as garnish

Creamy Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Want to serve a presentable gluten-free meal that you don’t have to cook hours for? These rice stuffed peppers will surely wow guests and family members alike! You can use any white rice, so finding all the necessary ingredients is a breeze. This recipe is a tantalizing mix of sour cream, dried herbs, and lean turkey stuffed in colorful bell peppers and baked until done.

Easy Rice Pilaf

This is one of those recipes that require little effort to make but can easily make it to your family’s list of favorites. It’s basically your everyday rice but improved, making it the perfect side dish for any protein-heavy main courses. Like fried rice, you can use any type of rice for rice pilaf. You can even cook this easy meal in an instant pot using the Saute setting.

Roasted Eggplant Brown Rice Recipe

This is another recipe that is healthy, filling, and can be a satisfying lunch. This rice recipe is quite versatile and may be tweaked according to your preference. Other vegetables, such as cauliflower, sweet potato, beets, and the like, can be included in addition to the basic ingredients. What makes this recipe flavorful is the Za’atar, a Mediterranean spice which is a blend of thyme, sesame seed, and sumac. Ingredients such as pomegranate arils, mint, and cilantro add a well-balanced and refreshing note to the roasted eggplant. 


Fried Rice Recipes

easy rice based dishes, 16 Easy Rice Based Dishes to Serve Your Family

Fried rice is possibly the easiest and most commonly known rice dish there is. The great thing about fried rice is that you only need plain rice (leftover rice is best used, to be honest) and you can mix it up with whatever meat and vegetable you prefer, and with the addition of the right spices then you already have a simple yet delectable meal to enjoy. Aside from the constant stirring, cooking fried rice requires little effort since you only have to put everything in a skillet and stir fry. 

Chicken Fried Rice

If you’re not up for complicated recipes and would like to cook something both tasty and easy to prepare, then serving chicken fried rice for dinner is a no-brainer. Not only can you use leftover cooked rice to make this easy dish, but you’ll also have no problem getting even the pickiest of eaters to eat. This recipe contained delicious chicken, corn kernels, and carrots, all cooked to medium-high heat. To add more flavor, you can use seasoned chicken. Add black-eyed peas or black beans for a more filling meal.

Beef and Broccoli Fried Rice Recipe

This recipe had taken inspiration from Chinese-style cooking and is a sure-fire hit for the whole family. You can use any type of rice, but Jasmine rice is always the best type of grain to use in any Asian-inspired fried rice dish. The recipe calls for flank steak that can be sliced, stripped, or cubed paired up with broccoli florets paired with seasoning staples to Chinese cuisines such as sesame oil, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.

Kimchi Fried Rice

If you’re a fan of Korean dishes then you are probably familiar with their traditional side dish, kimchi, which is served in almost every meal. Kimchi alone will already make this dish a delicious treat but if you can find gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste), then you can add it to make the fried rice flavor more robust. This is typically topped with fried egg, but to make it vegan, just add enoki mushroom and tofu as the protein instead.


Dessert

easy rice based dishes, 16 Easy Rice Based Dishes to Serve Your Family

What meal is complete without dessert? After a savory meal, a sweet and light dish will cleanse your palate and give that satisfying end to your dinner. They don’t even have to be meal-enders either. You can even enjoy them during brunch, outings, or even simply eat them any time of the day. Unlike the majority of the dishes presented here, rice-based desserts require specific rice varieties to make them as close to authentic as possible.

Rice Pudding

This is possibly one of the easiest desserts you can whip up. Aromatic and creamy, the dish can also be great comfort food or a perfect midday snack. You’ll only need the simple ingredients you can easily find in your pantry, and the recipe is versatile enough for any twists you might want to add.

Mango Sticky Rice

Adding mango to rice can be a weird concept to some, but this delicious Thai dessert is surprisingly decadent. While it’s easy to make, particularly if you use an Instant Pot, you’ll need fresh ingredients to truly make this recipe pop. You can add grated cheese or sesame seeds for more flavor and presentation.


Final Note

To make preparation and cooking rice even easier, you can use either a pressure cooker or an instant pot to cook rice dishes. Making fluffy rice is no easy feat for some, and even experienced cooks accidentally mess up when cooking rice on the stove, so having these two appliances can cut your work in half.

Don’t have them both? You can go through our comprehensive rice cooker reviews and guides to find a unit that best fits your household. You can also check out other rice recipes, quinoa recipes, and more right here on our site.


Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong πŸ‡­πŸ‡° to the USA πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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