Brown Rice is Here to Stay! 

Rice is a kitchen staple that has stood the test of time and us humans, all around the world, continue to eat it no matter what the current novelty diet is of strictly eating paleo or only black coffee and pineapple before 3 pm. Rice may get a bad rap sometimes, especially brown rice, but it is a great addition to a clean eating diet!

In fact, we’ll share 5 of our delicious whole grain meal recipes with you so you can get started, no matter what your walk of life may be whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, seafood fan or anything in between.

Whole grains brown rice pilaf with shiitake, pine nut and asparagus
Mahatma® Brown Rice and Shiitake Mushroom Pilaf

Brown rice can be made into a wide variety of home-cooked delicacies and is a year-round pantry staple perfect for refreshing summer salads or hearty soups and casseroles. One reason many people shy away from cooking rice is that it just seems to keep turning out mushy, too chewy, or bland. All rice is not created equal and, in fact, should be cooked differently. 

Follow our guide

Don’t lose hope! We’ve put together a guide for you to prepare the best brown rice yet! If you want to know more about other rice varieties, take a look at our additional guide or learn how to make a homemade risotto here. You may even want to try our Mahatma® Organic Brown Rice, which is Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA certified organically grown if that’s your style.

Baked enchiladas with brown rice and cheese
Veggie Baked Enchiladas with Brown Rice

Getting back to it, before we get into the details of how to cook brown rice perfectly. Let’s get a few things straight and start with the basics.

Brown Rice 101

What’s the difference between white rice and brown rice? 

Both white and brown rice have the inedible outer hull layer removed, but that’s where brown rice draws the line. It has another layer of bran and cereal germ still intact whereas white rice has those removed as well. That’s where the whole grain brown rice goodness comes from and that is also why it tends to have a nuttier and more chewy texture than white rice.

Do I need to rinse the rice before cooking?

It is recommended to rinse the rice in water, at least once, before cooking to wash off any unwanted dirt or possible surface starch.

Do I need a rice cooker?

Although a Rice Cooker or Instant Pot would help to cut down on the cook time, neither is necessary to make a good rice dish.

The Secret is in the Sauce (…or other liquid)

Now let’s get down to it! The secret to making the perfect brown rice is in the quantity of liquid to rice used. Since brown rice has the outer bran and cereal layer intact, it will need more hydration and slightly longer cook time

Arroz integral con lentejas, chorizo y verduras
Lentils Brown Rice and Chorizo

The recommendation is about 1.5 cups of liquid to 1 cup of uncooked rice. So, if you want to cook one cup of rice you should use 1.5 cups of your desired liquid. Keep an eye on your rice, if you notice the liquid is cooking off but it needs just a bit more, toss in a few tablespoons and adjust to taste. 

We say liquid because this is where you can get creative, use plain water and maybe toss in a few bay leaves or use your favorite chicken, vegetable or beef broth. It’s all about the flavor you’re looking to add to your meal. 

Now that you’ve got your rice under control, get cooking on some brown rice meal ideas! Try them all to find out which is your new favorite.

Whole Grain Meals Ideas

Brown Rice and Shiitake Mushroom Pilaf

Naturally vegan and vegetarian, this warm and savory veggie-forward Brown Rice Pilaf is packed with flavor. The sautéed shiitakes and asparagus come together pleasantly with the taste of nutty roasted pine nuts, freshly grated lemon zest, and slightly sweet green onions and garlic, all mixed in with hearty brown rice

Brown Rice Enchiladas

Take your taste buds on a trip tonight with the flavors of Mexico in these cheesy, vegetable and brown rice filled enchiladas made with flour tortillas topped with Cheddar and your choice of salsa verde or jalapeños. Turn the heat up or down to just how you like it.

Lentils with Brown Rice and Chorizo 

Put a Spanish spin on your dinner tonight with a classic rice and beans dish topped with spicy chorizo and mixed in with chopped veggies, brown rice, and protein-packed lentils to create a powerhouse meal that is loaded with flavor!

Asian Brown Rice and Shrimp Salad with Sesame Orange Dressing 

Our Mahatma® 100% Whole Grain Brown Rice has a chewy texture that will help you enjoy every bite of this oriental-inspired salad mixed in with watery fruits like Asian pears and mango with avocados and peppers. This dish has the right dose of fruits and vegetables to get you going with added shrimp for extra protein

Asian Brown Rice and Shrimp Salad with Sesame Orange Dressing

Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole

Make tonight’s dinner easy by assembling your ingredients together and letting the oven do the work. Cook this cheesy casserole with all of your favorite Tex-Mex tastes and flavors. This recipe calls for whole grains as a sturdy base, which is paramount to holding up the cheese and veggies in this dish.