Bright Green Rice Is What Your Dinner Bowls Have Been Missing

Rice is one of those essential foods we all have tucked away in our trusted pantries, usually pulled out when we need a veritable side dish for that grill-roasted chicken with lemon and herbs or the easy meatloaf we often throw together last minute. While Consumer Reports highlights the many varieties of rice you can choose from to spruce up your standard rotation such as black, wild, and arborio, if serving as a side dish, sometimes all you can muster is some salt and butter to keep this essential grain a tasty accompaniment.

Even though rice may not be the most exciting food in the world, National Geographic claims this staple has been consistently feeding 3.5 billion people worldwide. In America, according to Statista, rice is considered to be one of the most consumed grains. During the 2021/2022 fiscal year, Americans ate 4.6 million metric tons of rice. Interestingly, one 2009 study linked rice consumption to a healthier diet stating that those who regularly ate rice maintained a steady diet of vegetables and iron and consumed fewer foods with high counts of saturated fat. You're in luck if you're looking to add some zest to your rice and vegetable bowls. There's one way to amp up the flavor of this standard grain that not only includes your favorite herbs but adds a delightful pop of color.

Use these herbs to elevate the color and flavor of your rice

Unlike chicken piccata with rice which calls for an uncomplicated base for the main meal to rest upon, if you're planning to serve rice as a central component of your dinner plate, there are different ways to dress up its mind flavor. Minute provides easy methods of amping up this common grain like using chicken stock instead of water or even trying lemon-infused water for cooking. However, if you want to completely level up the overall flavor of your rice, pile on the herbs.

According to America's Test Kitchen, there's a way to turn your run-of-the-mill white rice into a bright green flavor explosion. While the step-by-step method is outlined in detail on America's Test Kitchen website, you basically create a colorful paste or pesto out of cilantro, parsley, spinach, one serrano chile, and garlic and then infuse the mixture into cooked white rice. The combination of these raw green herbs makes for a bright, fresh-tasting addition to your favorite grain. While this particular paste is added to a rice bowl that includes green beans, peas, and a fried egg, Minute claims any rice bowl can be made delicious with any variety of vegetables, protein, and the right sauce to bring all the ingredients together. If you still want your rice that tantalizing green color, you may want to try some signature dishes from other countries as well.

Green rice variations around the world

America isn't the only nation that uses rice as a common grain in everyday meals. In fact, Statista notes that the United States isn't even one of the largest consumers of rice worldwide. Both China and India lead the way, each consuming over 100 million metric tons of rice in 2021/2022 alone. Britannica states the origin and generalized use of rice take precedence in most Eastern countries like China, Indonesia, and Bangladesh so it would make sense to look to other nations for recipe variations, especially if you're longing to add some new, unexpected flavors.

For those trying to maintain that alluring green color of herb-infused white rice, you could try Tarla Dalal's green rice which is an Indian dish cooked with coconut milk and infused with a herb-based paste made with an exciting blend of mint, green chillis, coriander, garlic, and ginger. Or you could try something completely different and infuse the flavors of Mexican cooking into your grain of choice by way of arroz verde or green rice. Masa Americana outlines the culturally rich recipe which includes poblano peppers, parsley, and epazote (or cilantro as a convenient substitute). Since you no longer need specific directions on how to cook rice, feel free to get creative and try some of these tasty variations. If the green aspect isn't that important, feel free to try MasterClass' suggestions which include exciting rice-bowl variations from Japan to Korea.