Spanish Rice Recipe

Spanish Rice Recipe Recipe

Since I have to please a large crowd of vegetarians in the house, I'm always looking for ways to make my dishes more flavorful and nutritious.  Traditional Spanish rice is already packed with flavor, so with the addition of just a few ingredients it can become a complete meal. To the standard blend of white rice, onion, tomato, garlic and cilantro, I add protein in the form of cannellini beans and vegetarian chorizo.  I finish the dish with a little saffron and Tabasco for an additional kick of fragrance and flavor.

For the non-vegetarians, I make a ground lamb chorizo that I add to the Spanish rice instead. This way everyone is happy, and it's not a lot of additional work for me.


Yields: 6

2-1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (15 oz) can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with the juice
3 tablespoons canola oil, as needed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon salt, + 1 teaspoon for rice water
3 pinches saffron threads
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup vegetarian chorizo (see tips)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped


Wash the rice thoroughly. Place in a large bowl, cover with water. Add the lemon juice. Soak for an hour. Drain as much water as possible.

Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the rice will cook evenly all the way through. Cook for about 7-8 minutes at a bubbly simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of salt halfway through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the white rice and the rice will be more tender). Keep stirring the rice every now and then so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. The grains of rice should still be still a little hard, about 2/3 of the way cooked. Drain the liquid from the rice using a fine mesh colander. Do NOT rinse. Discard the liquid.

In a deep saucepan, heat the canola oil. Cook the onions until nicely golden (may take 5-6 minutes). Add the green bell pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes until tender. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, add the garlic and cook until slightly golden. Add the canellini beans. Gently toss the cannellini beans for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the beans from the pan and set aside. Add the shallot to the remaining oil in the pan (or add more oil if necessary). Cook until golden, then add the vegetarian chorizo. Separate the "soyrizo" into small lumps using a spoon. Cook until each piece is nicely browned. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, add the diced tomatoes and juice, the white rice, paprika, cayenne pepper, Tabasco and saffron. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt if you like. Cover and cook over high heat for about 3-4 minutes. Steam should escape from the pot. Remove the lid, stir well, then add the onions and green bell pepper. Cover the saucepan one more time and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and the "soyrizo". Gently stir the Spanish rice without mashing the beans. Cover and let stand until you're ready to serve.

Garnish with cilantro.

Bon appétit!

Spanish Rice


The vegetarian chorizo (click on the link for the recipe) has a similar texture to ground beef. The spices really add an extra dimension of flavor to the dish that plain, bland tofu cannot. 

The method for the rice is the same used for making wild rice. I just under-cook the white rice a little more as it finishes cooking with the diced tomatoes.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 27, 2009.


[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-Eralda
I have had my fair share of bad Spanish rice, but from the picture and ingredients this looks anything but. Gorgeous photography. It looks amazing!

Eralda Website Link
[ Posted at 7:34 PM on 6/27/09 | Reply ]
[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-Kerstin
I love all the layers of flavor in this dish - it sounds wonderful and definitely like a crowd pleaser!

Kerstin Website Link
[ Posted at 8:18 PM on 6/27/09 | Reply ]
[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-ArwenfromHogletK
It's really cool that you make your own soy chorizo. It sounds really flavourful and spicy! The spicy tomato flavour for the rice sounds good too.

Arwen from Hoglet K Website Link
[ Posted at 10:47 PM on 6/27/09 | Reply ]
[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-elra
Jacky, this Spanish rice sounds so appetizing. It is definitely a keeper. Yum!

elra Website Link
[ Posted at 8:54 AM on 6/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-Jenofa2eatwrite
I love Spanish rice in just about any form. I love the addition of the chorizo - that seems like a natural.

Jen of a2eatwrite Website Link
[ Posted at 8:57 AM on 6/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Yum - Guest-MichelleFindYourBalance
Spanish rice is a great go-to meal for flavor and flexibility! I've even made a raw vegan version with sprouted grains instead of cooked rice. Always good!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance Website Link
[ Posted at 3:05 PM on 6/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Yum! - Guest-Dragon280
A perfect vegetarian dish! I love the colours.

Dragon Website Link
[ Posted at 5:11 PM on 6/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-TheDuoDishes
Your lamb chorizo idea sounds great. Of course we also love saffron. It's great how a couple of tiny threads can go a long way.

The Duo Dishes Website Link
[ Posted at 11:02 AM on 6/29/09 | Reply ]
[-] Spanish Rice Recipe - Guest-Juliana260
Lovely rice dish...look so delicious with all the ingredients in it...and is so tempting for the eyes :-) Yummie! Great pictures as well.

Juliana Website Link
[ Posted at 1:58 PM on 6/29/09 | Reply ]
[-] If only... - Guest-nick
If only you hadn't said "vegetarian" chorizo.

Actually, it still looks fantastic and I would give it a go despite my predisposition for anti-vegetarian sausages.

Now that I think about it, I've never even had a vegetarian chorizo, it might be awesome. Perhaps I will eat one in your honor! :-P

nick Website Link
[ Posted at 3:13 PM on 6/29/09 | Reply ]
[-] delish! - Guest-Sophia
Wow, this looks SO flavorful! I love all the ingredients going in there...what a fiesta!

Sophia Website Link
[ Posted at 6:10 PM on 6/29/09 | Reply ]
[-] veg chorizo - Guest-lisaiscooking
This is a great use of vegetarian chorizo! I like it a lot when it's mixed into a dish, and this sounds perfect.

lisaiscooking Website Link
[ Posted at 3:15 PM on 6/30/09 | Reply ]
[-] vegetarian chorizo - Guest-JuanJSanMames
If the vegetarian chorizo has no paprika will be ok. Paprika neutralizes the flavor of saffron.
When you use saffron you do NOT need paprika in any form all it does is spoil the paella taste and the color.
Read the "Consumer Guide to Saffron Purchasing" at Also check out "Paella de la VeraCruz 1530".

Juan J. San Mames Website Link
[ Posted at 2:48 PM on 10/18/11 | Reply ]

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