If the bland flavor of plain rice turns you away from eating the grain, spice it up with simple additions to the basic recipe. You still get the nutrition from the rice with a more appealing flavor. The spiced-up rice works well as the base for a stir fry or other main dishes. It is also suitable as a flavorful side dish for main courses like grilled chicken or baked fish. Experiment with different seasonings and additions to the rice to improve the flavor.
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Sauté the dry rice in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil and minced garlic cloves. Continue cooking the rice as you normally would by adding the liquid and cooking according to the package directions.
Replace the water in the recipe with low-fat chicken, beef or vegetable broth. Use the same proportions of rice and broth as you would using plain water.
Stir in salt, pepper and other dry seasonings as you cook the rice. Try garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley, basil, dill, seasoning salt or lemon pepper. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of each spice so you don't overwhelm the rice dish.
Stir in steamed or sautéed vegetables at the end of the rice cooking time. Vegetables that work well include carrots, green beans, sugar snap peas, peppers, mushrooms and onions.
Drizzle your rice with your favorite low-calorie, low-fat stir fry sauce, even if you don't make a full stir fry. The sauce gives plain rice moisture and flavor. Plain, reduced-sodium soy sauce also works as a healthy way to spice up your rice.
Replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with unsweetened coconut milk when you cook the rice. This gives the rice a subtle tropical flavor.
Make cilantro-lime rice by adding 2 tbsp. of fresh lime juice and 2 tbsp. of fresh cilantro leaves to the rice when it is finished cooking.