When I was in college and the first couple years living on my own, my idea of a side dish was some lettuce or baby carrots. The first recipe for a side dish I ever attempted was taken out of a Taste of Home cookbook from my mom, circa 1998. I needed a side for salsa chicken (literally salsa put on a chicken breast and baked until done) and this Spanish rice fit the bill. I’m pretty sure it was the first thing I ever cooked for Landon when we were dating too.
We both could eat Mexican food more days than not (perfect match!) so I used to make this rice all the time. So much, that I had the recipe completely memorized! A couple weeks ago I realized I hadn’t made it in a very long time and was hungry for it. I got the few missing grocery items I needed (you probably have nearly all the ingredients in your pantry and freezer) and made it last week. A few minutes in, I realized Cinco de Mayo was coming up so I started taking pictures to share the recipe!
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (I usually just use half an onion because I’m not a big fan)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp salt, optional
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I have never in my life peeled a tomato and never plan to – much easier)
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth (Or you know, another cup of water if you don’t have any on hand)
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed (I use at least a ½ cup and never wait for them to thaw before throwing in)
1/3 cup diced cooked carrots (Again, I use at least a ½ cup and they have never been cooked – just chop up some baby carrots and call it a day)
1 can black beans (Optional – the original recipe doesn’t call for this but I added it this time for a little more protein and fiber)
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute rice in hot oil until lightly browned.
Add the onion, garlic, and salt if desired; cook over low heat until onion is tender.
Add tomatoes; cook over medium heat until softened.
Add water; cover and simmer until water is absorbed (around 10-15 minutes).
Stir in broth, peas, carrots, and optional black beans; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
How to eat the Spanish rice
As a side dish to tacos, fajitas, salsa chicken, etc.
With shredded cheese and salsa mixed in as a chip dip. Seriously so good. ??
As a bowl with sliced avocado, a little salsa, and a fried egg on top.
Mix it in with random leftovers for a quesadilla.
Use it for stuffed bell peppers – I really want to try this!
Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Feliz Cinco de Mayo! ?