Spanish Rice

Inspired by recipe in The Art of Vegetarian Cookery by Betty Wason

Eating out while vegetarian is almost always filled with trepidation and anxiety. I hate inadvertently making a big deal out of my eating habits. I hate the vapid, deer in the headlights look I sometimes get from food service professionals when I ask, do you know if the (insert dish name here) has any meat in it or if it was cooked with any meat based products. I hate most of all that I even have to ask that question in the first place because for some reason things you would assume are vegetarian, often aren’t. Stuff like rice.

In my early and more naive days after first becoming a vegetarian, I assumed I was safe eating at Mexican restaurants. Beans, rice, tortillas, guacamole. How could I go wrong? Then I found out that most places use chicken stock when making their Spanish rice and lard when making their refried beans. Shock and horror. In my opinion those ingredients add zero flavor and are probably more expensive so why!? There’s probably no good answer to that question. You live and you learn. So now I ask. Or more often than not, I just make myself some at home; and then I don’t have to worry.

This recipe for Spanish rice is perfectly spicy, smoky and savory. It pairs wonderfully with my recipe for refried bean burritos (to make it a complete protein) and/or American style beefless tacos; and it is perfect filling for Stuffed tomatoes. It allows you to have your own Mexican food fiesta worry free. Now I just need to figure out how to make my own fried ice cream.

Edit to add: A very grateful “Thank you” to all the restaurants that have vegetarian items called out as such on their menus and a special “Thank you” to all the food staff that knows their stuff and are happy to provide me with answers on what is safe for me to eat.

Makes 4-6 servings

1 TB Olive Oil
1/4 Medium sweet onion diced
1/2 Green bell pepper
1/2 Red bell pepper
1 C Long grain white rice
1 C Water
1 8 oz. can of Tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp red cayenne pepper
1 TB fresh chopped cilantro

First make the sofrito. Heat oil in a medium (3 qt.) sauce pan on medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers; cook for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent. Add rice and stir to coat in oil. Add water, bay leaf, salt, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper; stir and bring to a boil. Add tomato sauce and cilantro, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has mostly evaporated. Carefully fluff the rice with a fork, making sure to move the rice at the bottom of the pan, otherwise the tomato sauce may caramelize and burn the rice at the bottom. Cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes on very low heat. Checking on the rice frequently. Once the rice looks plump and separated, fluff again, remove from heat and serve. Buen provecho!


Nutrition facts per serving (5 servings)
Calories: 164
Fat: 2.8 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Potassium: 175 mg
Carbs: 32 g
Fiber: 1.3 g
Sugars: 2.7 g
Protein: 2.6 g
Vitamin A: 13%
Vitamin C: 56%
Calcium: 0.6%
Iron: 8.6%

Leave a Reply