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Spanish rice with onion, garlic and bell peppers

Spanish rice, a perfect kid-friendly side dish with beef, chicken or fish.  #glutenfree

Oh, the places you can go with this basic Spanish rice -- which isn't Spanish at all, to be honest. It's American, or Southwestern, or Mexican, depending on what you add to it. Some recipes call for canned tomato with its juice, which can overwhelm the dish and make it taste like a can of tomato rice soup, or maybe a 1950s school cafeteria lunch.

Here, the emphasis stays on the rice; the combination of fresh tomatoes and slow-roasted tomatoes (made with garlic and thyme) adds depth of flavor, without drowning out the toasted grain's nutty flavor and firm texture. As is, this is a family-friendly side dish that makes it fun to eat your colors. Mix-ins can transform it into a one-pot main course; add mild or hot fresh or canned chile peppers, chorizo or your favorite sausage, shrimp, leftover rotisserie chicken, meatballs, or cubes of grilled pork or beef. Olé!

Spanish rice with onion, garlic and bell peppers: versatile and kid-friendly! #glutenfree

Spanish rice with onion, garlic and bell peppers {gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: long-grain white rice, low-sodium (or homemade) chicken broth, onion, garlic, ground cumin, smoked paprika, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, slow-roasted tomatoes (or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes). If you are gluten-free, be sure the broth you use is homemade, or gluten-free.

Serves 4-6.


2 tsp neutral oil (vegetable, canola, rice bran, safflower, etc.)
1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups diced bell pepper (green, orange, red, or a mix of colors)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 slow-roasted tomato halves (or oil-packed slow-roasted tomatoes)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp mild smoked paprika (pimentón dulce)
3-1/4 cups low-sodium storebought or homemade chicken broth


In a wide nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rice and toast, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, for 6-8 minutes, until the rice is lightly browned. Be vigilant; the rice can go from toasted to blackened in a minute, so keep stirring and keep your eye on it.

When the rice is lightly golden, add the onion, garlic and bell peppers. Stir frequently until the onion begins to soften, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, cumin and smoked paprika. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Now, add the broth. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes, until all of the broth has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed (you will need at least 1/4 teaspoon of each).

Serve hot.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More rice dishes with tasty mix-ins:
Quick and easy black beans and rice, from The Perfect Pantry
Costa Rican gallo pinto, from The Perfect Pantry
Indian vegetable rice, from Weelicious
Vegetable pulao, from eCurry
Chicken, rice and vegetable skillet, from Diethood

A quick and easy side dish that, with the addition of chicken or shrimp, can become a favorite weeknight dinner. #glutenfree

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Mmmm, I love the idea of using slow-roasted tomatoes in this and your Spanish rice looks just right. This is something I love in a Mexican restaurant but never got just right at home so I'm glad you shared it!

Kalyn, I think a lot of versions of Spanish rice are far too tomato-laden. This one is lighter and all of the individual flavors really come through.

Dinner: Sort of a merger of this recipe with the gallo pinto, more veg. Delicious!

Susan, that sounds wonderful. Wish I lived next door!

Via the 'veggie morph' - reminds me of the 'monster mash.'

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