This easy vegan and gluten free recipe for Mexican brown rice is one of my favorite side dishes. Shallot, chili powder, garlic and tomatoes are combined with fresh summer corn for a burst of flavor. I love to serve this along with tacos or fajitas on a warm summer night. It's perfect accompanied by a salad and some spiced black beans from my upcoming cookbook for a complete vegetarian meal.
Mexican Brown Rice
Poor Mexican rice. Often just an afterthought along side refried beans at Tex Mex restaurants. We all know the start of the show is the fajitas. It's inevitable that the whole restaurant will stare when a waiter passes by with that familiar sizzle and pop, leaving a trail of delicious smelling smoke in their path. Of course you have a special little container for your tortillas. The beautiful centerpiece of meat, onions, and bell peppers that smells amazing. Then some side dish with a few sad looking iceberg lettuce leaves, a mound of refried beans, and reddish looking rice.
What I found when I made this at home for the first time was that the rice was finally the star of the show...or at least the Best Supporting Actor in a Tex Mex category.
Using Fresh Ingredients
What this recipe proves to me is that using fresh ingredients and spices can make all the difference in a simple dish. Using fresh corn instead of frozen and really good tomatoes are truly better here. I love Pomi brand, but any San Marzano tomato puree where the ingredients are just "tomatoes" will do. Vegetable broth adds a whole layer of flavor that you might miss with just water (although I have used water in a pinch).
However, if all you can find are canned or frozen options, that's ok too.
My favorite vegetable broth is Trader Joe's Hearty Vegetable. For those on a migraine diet, it does contain onion, however it's lower on the list than other brands and doesn't have MSG. While you're at Trader Joe's, their California Brown Rice is my favorite to use for any recipe, however white or brown will work here as well. You could also use this Chicken Stock recipe as well.
You can easily serve this Mexican Brown Rice with black beans and a side salad, dressed with Salsa Verde for a vegan meal. For other migraine-safe Mexican inspired dishes, see the below. I'll be following up with my favorite recipe for Tex Mex Grilled Chicken very soon!
Mexican Brown Rice Recipe
- 1 cup brown rice I used Trader Joe's California Brown
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup plain tomato puree/strained tomatoes I used Pomi brand
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 cob)
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the corn kernels by running your knife down each side of the cob. In a small pot, combine rice, broth, chopped shallot, chili powder, garlic powder, tomato puree, and fresh corn. Mix everything together and place on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring everything to a boil, stir a few times, cover the pot with a lid, and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook according to your rice package directions, mine took about 25-30 minutes total, until all the liquid has absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir again so everything is combined and season with salt and pepper to taste.