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There’s a hero ingredient hiding in your pantry that could probably use some love — rice. Rich is such a staple for classic rice and beans and to enjoy with stir-fries, curries, and chili. And since we’ve all been home for quite some time, it might be useful to know how to whip up something delicious + nutritious with this pantry staple {or just discover some new ways to use an old fave}.

Hoboken-based chef Julie Hartigan, the woman behind Cooking w/ Julie, is here to share a few simple {and really flavorful} ways to make rice at home. Cook up a big batch of rice to try these three fun, unique recipes.  

{P.S. — Follow Julie on Instagram @cookingwjulie , check out her weekly YouTube show “Where Happy Meets Healthy” and get a copy of her free cookbook “10 Healthy Meals in Under 20 Minutes”.}

 Mediterranean Bowls with Tzatziki Sauce

   

Cooked rice is the perfect base for these flavor-packed, spring-vibe, vegetarian bowls. They make a fun but healthy WFH lunch or easy, no-cook, weeknight dinner and feature a mix of fresh veggies and other pantry ingredients. To really slash prep time you can top with pre-made tzatziki dip, ranch dip, Greek or balsamic vinaigrette, or even hummus.

What You’ll  Need :

For the Bowl:

  • — 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained well
  • — 1 cup roasted peppers, drained well
  • — 2 cups cooked rice
  • — 1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, rinsed + drained
  • — 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes or diced tomato
  • — 1 cup seeded, diced cucumber or bell pepper
  • — ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, dill, or parsley {or swap in 2 teaspoons  of dried dill or oregano}
  • — ¼ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • — 12 sliced kalamata olives

For the Tzatziki Sauce

  • — ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • — 3 tablespoons of minced red onion or shallot
  • — 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint, dill, or parsley {or swap in 1 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • — 2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • — 2 teaspoon of olive oil
  • — 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • — ½ teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder

How to Make It

Combine the artichokes and roasted peppers. Toss together tomatoes, cucumber, mint, and herbs in a small bowl. Whisk together the tzatziki sauce ingredients. Line up four serving or storage bowls. Fill each bowl with ½ cup artichoke mixture, ½ cup chickpeas, ½ cup rice. Then, drizzle them with three tablespoons of sauce and top evenly with tomato mixture. Garnish with feta and olives.

Read More: 3 Delicious, Chef-Approved Recipes to Make with Chickpeas

Julie’s Tip: This recipe serves four, so it’s perfect to meal prep ahead for weekday lunches. Or just make yourself a single serving size and use the extra tzatziki sauce for veggies and dip or to top grilled chicken and veggie kebabs.

Easiest Ever Veggie Fried Rice

 

This recipe is one of Julie’s favorite ways to use up random veggies and meats from the fridge and freezer so you can skip a trip to the store. All the flavor you love in the Chinese takeout classic but in a healthier package — it’s also easy to adapt to be vegetarian or vegan. 

What You’ll Need:

  • – Cooking Spray
  • — 1-2 eggs, whisked {optional}
  • — 1/3 cup diced cooked bacon, chicken sausage, breakfast sausage, ham, Canadian bacon, or veggie sausage {optional}
  • — 1 1/2 cups mixed frozen or fresh diced veggies
  • — 2 scallions, chopped
  • — 2 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon of dried
  • — 2 teaspoon of minced fresh garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • — 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • — 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, more to taste
  • — 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
  • — 1 teaspoon of sesame oil

 How to Make It 

Coat a medium non-stick sauté pan with cooking spray and cook an egg over medium-low heat until cooked through to a thin “egg pancake.” Remove cooked egg to a cutting board and dice. Add more cooking spray to the pan and add optional diced cooked meat {if using raw meat, you can cook it now}, veggies, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Cook for five minutes or until the veggies are crispy and tender.  Stir in rice and use a wooden spoon to break up and combine.  Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil and cook for two to three minutes to heat through and for flavors to meld.  Top with optional green scallion, cilantro, or hot sauce, and enjoy!

Julie’s Tip: For veggie ideas, Julie used a mix of frozen peas and carrots plus diced red bell peppers here — you can also use diced carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, frozen corn, sliced snap peas, snow peas, green beans, or chopped broccoli and cauliflower!

See More: Easy + Delicious Recipes to Make At Home With Pantry Staples

Five Minute Indian Spiced Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding

Indian Spiced Coconut Rice Pudding 

If you miss your childhood comfort food of rice pudding, then you’ll totally love this five-minute hack with a fun modern twist.  Plus, if you’re not feeling the extra flavors and just want to keep it classic skip the cardamom and coconut and stick with cinnamon and nutmeg to recreate the childhood classic. 

What You’ll Need

  • — 1 cup prepared vanilla pudding or pudding cups
  • — 1 cup cooked rice
  • — Large pinch each dried cardamom and cinnamon, to taste
  • — Shredded coconut for an optional garnish

 How to Make It

Just stir together pudding, rice, and spices — easy! Julie loves topping this with shredded coconut but you could also do fresh or defrosted frozen berries, toasted pistachios or almonds, or chopped dried fruit. Treat yourself — it’s a quarantine!

Which of these recipes will you be making this weekend? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Delicious, Chef-Approved Dishes to Make with Rice
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