This healthy one-pot Mexican-inspired brown rice recipe is easy to put together, with no chopping involved, and it's oil-free. Just throw everything in a pot and cook covered, which makes it perfect for an easy meal. This is not an authentic Mexican rice recipe. We'll be using salsa and fresh cilantro to give plain brown rice more flavor.
This easy recipe only requires 4 simple ingredients. Pair the easy salsa rice with lentil walnut tacos or fajitas. It can also be made into a main dish by using it in a grain bowl with pinto or black beans, fresh veggies, and cashew lime crema. If you're looking for more ideas on adding flavor to brown rice, try my cilantro lime brown rice recipe.
- Easy and flavorful side dish!
- The recipe uses simple ingredients!
- It's budget-friendly and great for meal prep!
Brown rice - I use long-grain brown rice for this recipe. The whole grain has a chewy nutty flavor and takes longer to cook than white rice. I haven't tested with white rice, so I can't say for sure it works. If you do try it, you'll have to adjust the cooking time since white rice doesn't take as long as brown rice.
Salsa - Use your favorite salsa. If your salsa is very chunky you may need a couple of extra tablespoons of water. The salsa I typically use wasn't very salty so I added ½ teaspoon of salt to the rice while it was cooking.
Ground cumin - This adds a little more flavor to the easy side dish but can be left out if needed.
Salt - Season the rice and salsa to taste. It will depend on how salty your salsa is and your personal preference.
Fresh cilantro - The herb gives the rice tons of fresh flavor! If you’re not a fan of cilantro it can be left out. Use the leaves and only the tender parts of the stem. Finely chop the stems and discard the woody ends.
- The cilantro adds a lot of flavor, so if you leave it out the rice dish will have a more mild flavor.
- Use a tight-fitting lid to prevent liquid from leaking out, that liquid is needed for your rice.
- Once the rice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. The rice doesn’t need to be stirred while simmering, so resist the temptation and keep it covered. Otherwise, you're letting out heat that’s needed for cooking.
- When the rice is done, keep the lid on, turn off the burner, and let the rice rest undisturbed for 10 minutes. This lets the moisture redistribute and helps with a fluffier texture.
- After letting the rice rest, fluff it with a fork or rice paddle.
Start the Mexican-inspired brown rice with salsa by adding the uncooked rice, water, salsa, cumin, and salt to a medium saucepan. How much salt you add will depend on your preferences and how salty the salsa is.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for 40 minutes or until the rice is done. If your salsa is very chunky you may need a couple of extra tablespoons of water.
When the salsa brown rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and keep the lid on to steam for 10 minutes. Then fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle. Then garnish the rice dish with fresh cilantro for more flavor.
The Mexican brown rice recipe can be made ahead of time and used for meal prep. If you make it for meal prep, wait to add the cilantro. Store leftover brown rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
The salsa rice recipe can be made into a burrito bowl by adding cooked black beans, corn, fresh veggies, pico de gallo, and guac. It's the perfect side dish to a variety of recipes but here are a few options:
- Burrito bowls
- Vegan taco bowl
- A side to oil-free refried beans
- A side to refried bean taquitos
- Add beans and use them as a burrito filling
- As a side to walnut lentil taco meat
- Enjoy it as a side to fajitas, tacos, or quesadillas
I hope you enjoy the recipe for the inspired dish of Mexican rice made with salsa. If you like it, feel free to rate it and leave a comment.Print
Easy and simple one-pot Mexican inspired brown rice.
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1¾ cups water (plus a couple of extra tablespoons as needed)
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- fresh chopped cilantro
- Add the brown rice, water, salsa, cumin, and salt to a pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for 40 minutes or until the rice is done. If your salsa is very chunky you may need a couple of extra tablespoons of water.
- When the rice is cooked remove it from the heat and keep the lid on to steam for 10 minutes. Then fluff the rice and garnish with fresh cilantro for more flavor.
The cilantro adds a lot of flavor, so if you leave it out the rice dish will have a more mild flavor.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Main Course, Side Dish
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: easy mexican brown rice, salsa brown rice