Mexican Rice, also known as Arroz Rojo or Spanish Rice, is a zesty and flavorful vegan dish. This Mexican rice recipe features hearty long-grained rice, sauteed with tomatoes and lots of veggies and spices.
First, rinse the long grained or basmati rice under cold running water for a couple of times. Set the rinsed rice aside, and prep, gather all of the remaining ingredients needed.
Heat olive oil in a pan.
Add the chopped onions, garlic and sauté them for a minute on medium heat.
Lower the heat and add the rinsed rice.
Mix well, and stir continuously as you sauté the rice in the oil on a low to medium-low heat. The outside of the rice should start to get slightly browned, but take care not to burn the grains. The rice grains should become a light brown and opaque.
Add the carrots, bell peppers, green peas, and serrano or jalapeño or green chilies, celery, cayenne (or paprika or red chilli powder) and ground cumin.
Add salt according to taste.
Mix and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on a low to medium-low heat.
Add tomato puree. Combine and Mix gently.
Add the vegetable stock or water.
Mix again and taste the broth. It should be a bit salty.
Cover with lid and simmer on a low to medium-low heat until the rice grains are tender and fluffy for about 20 to 22 minutes. All of the stock should be absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, keep checking a couple of times. If there are no liquids left in the pan and the rice grains are undercooked, add ¼ cup hot water/hot veg stock or more as needed. Gently mix without breaking the rice grains. Cover and continue to simmer.
When the cooking is completely, fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
Serve Mexican rice hot or warm with a side salad or with Mexican sides like a vegetarian or vegan burrito, quesadilla, empanada or chimichanga.
You can also serve with a side of lemon wedges and sprinkling of cilantro if desired.
This is slightly spicy rice. To cut down on the heat reduce the serrano or jalapeño or green chilies and cayenne pepper.
You can make this dish into hearty Mexican style pilaf by adding veggies like cauliflower, sweet corn, french beans, broccoli and potatoes. For some protein, add lightly pan-fried tofu while serving. You can also skip the veggies if you prefer.
The recipe can be easily scaled to make a small batch or a big batch.
Store any leftover rice in the fridge for a day. For best taste and healthy eating practice, I suggest to have this dish as soon it is made.