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The Greatest Grain: Your Guide to Cooking With Brown Rice Instead of White

Whether you’ve never tasted brown rice before or simply aren’t sure how to incorporate it into your dishes, this healthy whole grain is ready to revolutionize the way you eat carbs!
The Greatest Grain: Your Guide to Cooking With Brown Rice Instead of White
The Greatest Grain: Your Guide to Cooking With Brown Rice Instead of White
Kat Van Sligtenhorst at SideChef
Hey, Kat here! I’m a content writer fueling a travel-filled lifestyle with food from around the world. Always on the lookout for innovative vegan eats, the best cup of black coffee, and anything that features tempeh as its main ingredient.
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Love This Recipe?
Kat Van Sligtenhorst at SideChef
Hey, Kat here! I’m a content writer fueling a travel-filled lifestyle with food from around the world. Always on the lookout for innovative vegan eats, the best cup of black coffee, and anything that features tempeh as its main ingredient.
GO TO BLOG

Look, we get it. White rice has been a classic for ages. It’s an easy go-to. But brown rice offers a whole other flavor profile and a set of health benefits that you may not be taking full advantage of. In fact, some foodies argue that it’s the superior option in many dishes.

We’ve got plenty of delicious recipes on hand so you can put this theory to the test, but first let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

White rice vs. brown rice. What’s the difference?

In short, their composition! Brown rice is known as a “whole grain,” which means it includes a bran, germ, and endosperm. White rice, on the other hand, has been stripped of two of these components, leaving behind only the carb-rich endosperm. So what does that mean for you in the kitchen? For one, white rice cooks more quickly and results in a soft, fluffy texture, while brown rice takes a bit of patience and has a chewy mouthfeel.

As far as health goes, it’s still up for debate. Brown rice is said to be more nutritious than its white counterpart, but both have uses they’re more suited to, depending on your dietary needs, health goals, and taste preferences.

Speaking of tastes, are they similar?

Here’s where eaters around the world are really divided! Some prefer the mild, subtle flavor of white rice and others love the earthy, nutty palate that brown rice brings to the table. At the end of the day, it’s totally a personal preference. Plus, certain dishes pair better with certain kinds of rice.

What are the health benefits of eating brown rice?

1. Nutrients, nutrients, nutrients. Because white rice is refined, it loses valuable nutrients. Brown rice, which is much less processed, boasts higher levels of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

2. It lowers the risk of diabetes. White rice has a high glycemic index (GI), which means you’ll experience a spike in blood sugar more quickly after you eat it. However, brown rice boasts a lower GI and higher quantities of magnesium, both of which help control your blood sugar levels and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. It’s a heart helper. Studies have shown that whole grains reduce the risk of both heart attack and stroke. Since brown rice is packed with dietary fiber, magnesium, and other goodies, it works to keep your heart nice and healthy!

Are there different types of brown rice?

Yes! Not only does rice come in different colors (white, brown, red, black, etc.), but it can also be broken down further. The most popular varieties of brown rice are short grain, as well as basmati and jasmine–both of which are long grain.

Basmati rice hails from India and Pakistan, and has a slightly drier, chewier texture, while jasmine rice is popular throughout Southeast Asia, and Thailand in particular, with its aromatic, sweet taste and mildly sticky feel.

So, now that you’re practically a rice expert, let’s get into the fun part: eating it! Browse these dishes that feature brown rice as the star of the show, and test them out in your kitchen this week.

EASYLOW-FAT

Teriyaki Salmon with Brown Rice and Pickled Vegetables

SideChef

It’s the classic health-conscious dinner: veggies, protein, and a satisfying carb to tie it all together. But this one gets an extra nutrition boost with the help of brown rice! Our favorite whole grain’s earthy flavor pairs perfectly with tangy pickled carrots, cucumbers, and peppers as well as the rich teriyaki-marinated salmon.

EASYTREE NUT-FREE

Tofu & Crispy Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps with Peanut & Lime Sauce

SideChef

As fun to make as they are to eat, these lettuce wraps are popping with flavor, texture, and health benefits galore! Mouthwatering marinated tofu cubes, crispy brown rice, and a zesty sesame lime dressing come together to make some serious meatless magic.

PEANUT-FREETREE NUT-FREE

Southwestern Black Bean Casserole

Chef'd

Decadent, cheesy, and chock full of Southern comfort ingredients, this casserole is sure to be the centerpiece of any table you set it on. Each bite is layered with black beans, brown rice, salsa, sour cream, and green chiles for a fabulous flavor that’s somehow still low in fat and calories.

LOW-FATPEANUT-FREE

Pork Tenderloin and Brown Rice

Chef'd

If Chinese takeout is your typical go-to, try whipping up this healthier alternative at home. It’s super straightforward, yet full of rich, complex flavors at the same time. An indulgent tomato and red wine sauce brings depth to the brown rice and pork tenderloin, while the cilantro garnish provides a finishing kick of freshness.

LOW-FATPEANUT-FREE

Tikka Masala Veggies and Rice

Lemons and Basil

No canned sauces here; Coconut milk, tomatoes, and a fragrant spice blend quickly create your very own homemade curry. Meanwhile, the brown rice is simmered low and slow for the fluffiest, most flavorful bed imaginable. Now, that’s a recipe made with love!

LOW-FATPEANUT-FREE

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chef'd

Chicken salad gets an elevated refresh with these light, healthy, and totally tasty lettuce wraps. Between nutty brown rice, tender chicken thighs, and a veggie + spice mix packed with fresh ginger and chiles, we wouldn’t blame you if you made this every night of the week.

PEANUT-FREETREE NUT-FREE

Chicken Biryani

Tina Sawasdee at SideChef

Transform your dinner into a feast with this aromatic Chicken Biryani. The key ingredient? Nutty, flavorful brown jasmine rice. It absorbs the rich spices and herbs, mingling with tender chunks of marinated chicken. Infused with saffron, cardamom, and a hint of cinnamon, this dish brings the exotic flavors of India right to your table. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon for an unforgettable meal.

LOW-FATPEANUT-FREE

Brown Rice Pilaf with Mushroom and Butternut Squash

SideChef

Perfect for the colder days, this Brown Rice Pilaf provides a hearty base, perfectly complementing the earthy mushrooms and sweet, roasted butternut squash. Seasoned with thyme and a dash of garlic, this dish is both nutritious and satisfying. It's an excellent side for roasted meats or a standalone vegetarian delight, sure to warm you up on chilly evenings.

PEANUT-FREETREE NUT-FREE

Brown Rice and Mushroom Casserole

SideChef Everyday

Need a creamy, dreamy comfort food with a healthy twist? The chewy texture of brown rice pairs wonderfully with the savory depth of mushrooms. Baked to perfection with a blend of cheeses and a touch of garlic and onion, this casserole is a crowd-pleaser that doubles as a hearty main or a luxurious side dish.

LOW-FATPEANUT-FREE

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

Scarlett Wang at SideChef

Nothing says comfort like a bowl of warm Chicken and Brown Rice Soup. This recipe takes the classic chicken soup and elevates it with the addition of nutty brown rice, making it more filling and nutritious. Carrots, celery, and onions meld with the tender chicken and rice in a savory broth, seasoned with a hint of thyme. It's the perfect pick-me-up for a cold day or when you're feeling under the weather.

28 Best Chicken And Rice Recipe Ideas For Fun Delicious Dinners

Anna at SideChef