Spanish Rice

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We are finally enjoying a nice rainy day here again. As someone who was born and raised in Southern California, I appreciate every small change in the weather. I’m sure that it would be different if I lived somewhere that got very cold or that had more rainy days than sunny ones, but there is something lovely and calming about rain and the cool moisture that sits in the air.

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I may love cold weather, but I love warm flavors and rich food. When it comes to vegan cooking, the best way to get savory richness is to add tomatoes. The acidity and robustness of their flavor profile deepens a dish and acts as a nice base for warm spices like chili powder and cumin.

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Spanish rice is a recipe that I think everyone should have. On it’s own, it is a delicious rice with added depth thanks to the tomatoes. It also makes the perfect addition to burritos, tacos, and a nice big bowl of beans and rice.

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I’ve seen a lot of recipes that just call for a jar of salsa, water, and rice. Those are good, but they aren’t really Spanish Rice. Spanish Rice needs just a few extra steps to add to that fluffy, rich, and tasty quality that you find in restaurants. Like risotto, it’s all about slowly cooking the rice to perfection. Toasting the rice with the onion makes this rice special. I like to use brown rice for the added healthy value, but white rice is closer to traditional flavors.

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Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup onions, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (plain, just tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
  • 2 cups water
  • Optional: minced serrano pepper or a dash of spicy chili powder (like cayenne)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium flame. Add the rice and onions and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and herbs and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the water. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook until liquid has absorbed.

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