This tasty Garlic Cilantro Brown Rice is an easy and flavorful side dish with hearty brown rice, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and a hint of garlic. Ready in just 35 minutes.
Brown rice is a staple in my home and I find myself making it at least once a week for side dishes and quick grain salads. But after a while, plain brown rice can get boring and that's where this recipe comes into play. It's amazing how much a little garlic, fresh cilantro, and citrus juice can transform a sometimes boring side dish into something special.
For those people wondering, this Garlic Cilantro Brown Rice is also a copycat of Chipotle's cilantro lime brown rice, with a little extra flavor from the onions. It's perfect for burrito bowls, fish tacos, grain bowls, and more.
One more thing to love about this recipe, it's versatile. Play around with the herbs, oil, and citrus juice to make all kinds of yummy combinations. For something Mediterranean inspired, try lemon and fresh thyme. Take it in an Asian route with sesame oil, soy sauce, and orange juice. Try a classic combination of lemon juice, parsley, and lots of fresh ground pepper. Or stay with the Mexican theme with tons of lime juice and fresh cilantro.
Ingredients and Swaps
- Brown rice: This recipe is made with medium grain brown rice. Stick to this type of brown rice for the best results. Using short-grain or long-grain rice may change the cooking time and amount of liquid needed. Don't simply swap in white rice, since there are many types of rice and each requires a different cooking time and liquid to rice ratio.
- Cilantro: Since cilantro is one of the main flavor components in this recipe, make sure to use freshly chopped cilantro. If cilantro isn't your favorite herb, swap in parsley or basil.
- Lime: Citrus adds a zesty, bright flavor to the rice. Lime juice works great but you could also try it with lemon juice or orange juice.
- Garlic and onion: These aromatics add a ton of flavor to the rice and make it a special side dish.
What to Serve with Cilantro Brown Rice
This garlic brown rice can be served with almost anything. While it is often served with Mexican recipes, it also works with all types of their dishes. Here are some to try.
- Pollo Ranchero
- Baked Salsa Chicken
- Blackened Salmon
- Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Slow Cooker Garlic Cuban Pork
Think of this recipe as a blueprint for making really tasty brown rice. Here are some ways to customize it.
- Make it with different herbs: Swap in different fresh herbs like parsley, basil, chives, or dill.
- Try different citrus: Use fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice.
- Add veggies: Saute some extra veggies to add to the rice or add spinach before serving. It will wilt right into the rice. Drained canned tomatoes can also be added.
- Use stock or broth: Cooking rice in chicken broth or vegetable broth is an easy way to boost the flavor.
- Add fiber: Add some canned corn or canned black beans to the rice to add fiber and nutrients.
How to Freeze Cooked Brown Rice
Once the Cilantro Brown Rice is cooked, it's easy to freeze and store in the freezer. First, let the rice come to room temperature. An easy way to do this quickly is to spread the rice out on a cookie sheet.
Once it is cool, add it to a freezer-safe bag or container. The frozen will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, let it defrost overnight in the fridge. Then gently reheat in the microwave or a skillet.
You can also microwave the frozen rice. Break it into chunks and then place it on a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the rice is heated through. Be careful when removing the plastic wrap since it will be very hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to some of the most common questions about this brown rice recipe.
The recipe will work with white rice but you will need to adjust the amount of water and cooking time according to the type of rice you are using.
For people who don't love the taste of cilantro, swap in another fresh herb like parsley or basil.
This recipe is a spin-off of the popular Chipotle rice. However, it has even more flavor with the addition of onion and garlic.
Garlic Cilantro Brown Rice
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- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 1 cup medium grain brown rice (or short grain)
- 2.25 cups water (or broth)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (or more)
- 1 lime, juice
- Salt and pepper
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- Nutritional Information
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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