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How to Make Brown Rice Taste Better for Healthier and More Delicious Meals

How to Make Brown Rice Taste Better

They say brown rice is a healthy choice to put on your plate. But if you’ve had brown rice, chances are you may not have been convinced. It can taste a little blah, and the texture can feel dry and unwelcoming.

No wonder everyone tends to go for white rice!

However, if you learn how to make brown rice taste better, you will soon see how wonderful it can be on your plate. And you will start choosing it more often over white rice to serve with your meals.

 

Cooking Tips for How to Make Brown Rice Taste Better

When it comes to making brown rice better, the first step is in your preparation. You may find that the usual ratio of liquid to rice at 1:2 may not make your brown rice any better.

That’s why you should boil 6 cups of water, then add one cup of brown rice. Cook it uncovered and let it boil for 30 minutes. Then you can strain any remaining liquid away.

You can also choose to use broth as your liquid (vegetable, chicken, or beef) to instantly infuse it with more flavor. With this cooking method, you can master the texture of brown rice and make it more enjoyable.

However, even if you use broth to give it more taste, it might not be enough to win you over. And if you’ve got kids at your dinner table, you’re going to need to do a little more to convince them that brown rice is delicious.

Fortunately, you can season it to liven it up and make it a match for any meal!

Make Brown Rice Taste Better with These Simple Tricks

Brown rice doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Once you get the liquid to rice ratio right and improve the texture, making it taste better is easy!

 

Use Garlic Salt

Perhaps the easiest trick for making brown rice taste better is to add garlic salt. Simply shake it on right after straining out any leftover water, mix it up, and serve.

 

Try Bouillon

Serve your brown rice with a simple grilled chicken breast and it will taste like it came from a restaurant if you use bouillon. Just add a cube or the granules into the water when you’re boiling your rice to boost that flavor.

 

Add Beans

For a one-dish delight or a heartier side, add a can of black beans, pinto beans, or red beans to your brown rice. You can season it with a hint of salt and cumin to give it a Tex-Mex taste, perfect for serving with your taco night.

 

Or Add Salsa

With or without the beans, you can put some salsa into your brown rice. Adding just a little cumin and fresh cilantro will make this a flavor everyone craves for dinner!

 

Get Saucy

You can tailor your brown rice to any meal by adding a little sauce right after it’s done cooking. Just a dash of soy sauce will help you pair it with almost any Asian dish. You can also liven it up with a dash of tabasco or hot sauce, especially for something served with a Cajun-style meal.

 

Make it Meaty

A bowl of freshly-cooked red beans and rice with sausage slices.

With a healthy meal of veggies, why not make your brown rice taste better with a little meat? Likely, you’ve noticed that’s what makes fried rice from your local Chinese takeout place so amazing – all those little bits of tasty pork. Make a dirty rice style with cooked ground beef or sliced sausage and the whole family will be fighting over the last bit of your brown rice.

 

Butter is Better

When you have very little to work with, you can make brown rice taste better by adding butter and pepper. It’s so simple, yet works beautifully for making brown rice a nice side that goes well with any homecooked meal.

 

Change It Up with Cheese

An illustrative chart depicting the health benefits of cheese.

While it’s not exactly the healthiest way to make brown rice taste better, you can totally jazz it up with cheese. Cheddar works great for most meals though if you want something that has a bit more of an Italian flair, give it some freshly-grated parmesan.

 

Add Something Acidic

Nutrition facts for lemons - chart

Depending on how you’re going to serve your brown rice, you may find that adding vinegar can give it a fun new flavor. Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar can help by adding a slight sweetness to liven up your rice. Or you can use fresh-squeezed lemon juice with olive oil and salt and pepper for a healthy, refreshing, and incredibly tasty brown rice dish.

 

Fill It with Veggies

An illustrative chart depicting the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.

Now that you’ve got texture figured out, you can make sure you eat more veggies (and your kids do too!) by adding veggies into your brown rice. The best way to accomplish this is by making half of the liquid ratio water and the other half either a salsa or vegetable juice. Tomato juice and carrot juice will work best here, so use them for cooking the rice. The color will look brilliant, the flavor will be wonderful, and it will be even more nutritious.

Alternatively, you can also add sauteed veggies into the rice right after it finishes cooking. Sauté up diced yellow onions and then add some peas. Or throw in a handful of spinach as the rice finishes so it will wilt up perfectly right before you serve it.

 

Let the Mediterranean Inspire You

Mediterranean cuisine is always so full of flavor yet so nutritious. When you’re making something elegant from this region like braised meats or even a dish of lemon chicken, try adding a tablespoon or two of toasted pine nuts to your cooked brown rice. This will give it a fun crunch as well as more flavor. Or if you’d rather a sweeter way to bring the Mediterranean to your table, add in dried cranberries. You can also combine them together for a sophisticated meal.

 

Bring the Flavors of Japan

Another way to let the texture and flavor shine in making brown rice better is to use Japanese flavors. You’ll love this with grilled meats or when serving Japanese meals like tonkatsu. After you cook your rice using the right ratios discussed above, you can add in a tablespoon of rice vinegar, steamed shelled edamame, thinly-sliced scallions, and toasted sesame seeds.

A drizzle of sesame oil also works if you don’t have sesame seeds. And if you have miso-paste, you should most definitely add it in. It will give your bland brown rice an umami flavor that will have everyone gobbling up every last grain from their plates.

 

Or Give It an Indian Restaurant Vibe

Brown rice will feel totally boring if you simply serve it with Indian curries and dishes. The reason the rice at Indian restaurants has such a lovely flavor is because it is cooked with aromatics. You can give your brown rice a taste everyone will love as you explore this cuisine in your kitchen by simply adding a few things.

Put a cinnamon stick, some whole cloves (about 6 should do it), and add 2 whole garlic cloves to your liquid as you cook your brown rice. When the rice is finished, remove those add-ins and serve for aromatic and flavorful brown rice.

 

Use Fresh Herbs

An illustrative chart depicting the health benefits of herbs and spices.

There’s a way to make brown rice taste better with any meal you serve, no matter what kind of cuisine you’re pairing it with. The answer lies in fresh herbs. You’ll want to add ¼-cup to a ½-cup of fresh chopped herbs after the rice is fully cooked, then serve promptly. You can use parsley, basil, cilantro, scallions, thyme, rosemary, sage, or even a combination of them all.

A little squeeze of lemon can also bring out the flavor, making it a lovely match for roasted meats. Or you can use a squeeze of lime, especially when using cilantro, to give it that Tex-Mex taste.

 

Try a Caribbean Twist

A couple of bottle of coconut milk with fresh coconuts.

For brown rice that is never boring, steal a page from Caribbean cooking by using light coconut milk as the liquid. You’ll also want to add in a ½ teaspoon of ground allspice, some salt, ground cloves, and a little dried thyme. These sweet and savory flavors come together for bold tastes that are excellent with jerk chicken, Hawaiian chicken, or any other grilled meal.

 

Make Curry Rice

No matter what you’re making as your main dish, one way for how to make brown rice taste better is with curry powder. You’ll want to sauté a diced onion in olive oil until it’s lightly browned, then add your rice, a little salt, and curry powder. Stir this together so the rice is coated well, then add in your liquid and cook. You can use water here, though using broth will ensure this curry rice kicks butt at your dinner table.

 

Toast the Rice First

You probably noticed in the curry rice suggestion above that it calls for toasting the grains before adding in the liquid. You can do this with any type of brown rice improvement from this list. When you toast those dry grains in a little butter or olive oil, it gives it so much more flavor, like something you’d get at a restaurant. You can keep it simple or add in seasonings. Experimenting with your favorites is bound to give you the most delicious results!

 

Use What You’re Making to Season Your Brown Rice

Chicken steak with sundried tomatoes

And finally, we have one last pro chef tip for you on how to make brown rice taste better. Take a look at your main dish and let that be your inspiration. If you’re making an herby roasted chicken, try using those same herbs and seasonings in your brown rice.

You can toast the grains first or simply get right to cooking. The point is to infuse the brown rice with the main dish flavors for an easy and delicious boost to the taste. Bay leaves are great for creating an elegant level of sophistication in your meals. Just be sure to remove them before serving. This is an excellent addition for curries too.

Different spices evoke different sensations so choose coriander or cardamom for Indian or Southeast Asian dishes. Ginger or lemongrass go great for Thai or Malaysian meals. Cumin really boosts Chinese and Mexican dishes while dried herbs like oregano and thyme make French and Italian fare truly shine.

 

One Last Thing to Remember When Making Brown Rice Better

A bowl of freshly cooked vegan fried rice with topping options on the side.

For making brown rice taste better, the secret is all in the water to rice ratio. Once you master the texture, adding in more flavor is easy. You can do so by swapping the water for broth or adding vegetables, spices, herbs, and seasonings into your rice. Whole spices work best in the liquid to cook with the rice while ground or chopped seasonings are best to add in after cooking just prior to serving.

Even toasting the rice slightly before pouring in the liquid can make big changes for the flavors that will have everyone happy to switch to brown rice. The best part is exploring all the options to make your brown rice unique every night!

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