Cooking From the Pantry: 25 Delicious Ways to Use Rice


Chicken Soup with Rice
Chicken soup with rice, comfort food at its finest

If you are spending most of your time at home, as so many folks are right now, then you are probably relying more on cooking from the pantry than going out to eat or even using as many fresh ingredients as usual. Rice is an amazing staple food that stores well and can be used for so many different dishes, and I always keep a decent amount on hand for “just in case” situations, such as we are seeing today.

Stocking up on rice is a great way to add food security to your household, but you may get sick of making plain old rice after a while. Here are 25 delicious and creative ways to use this awesome pantry staple, so you can eat well and have some variety while your food choices may be more limited than normal.

Before you dive into making a big batch of rice to use in the recipes below, a word on properly preparing rice. If you are familiar with concepts like sprouting or souring, such as in sourdough bread, you may already know about why preparing grains through one of these methods is important. If not, I will give you a very brief introduction.

Seed foods — including grains, nuts, seeds, and beans — are the storage form of the seeds for each given plant. Because of this, these foods contain compounds known collectively as anti-nutrients, which are naturally-occurring chemicals used by these plants to keep their seeds dormant during storage. While this is important for the seeds to prevent germination while being stored, these anti-nutrients can bind the minerals such as zinc and magnesium in the seeds (1). This makes nutrients unavailable to us when we eat them, but this nutrient availability can be improved by soaking, souring, or sprouting before cooking.

By adding water, acidity, probiotic bacteria, and/or heat, these compounds, such as phytates and lectins, are deactivated, making the minerals in these foods available to our bodies. These processes also increase the digestibility of their grains and, potentially, their impact on blood sugar (2). Processing grains, such as rice, before cooking them is important but is also extremely easy. Follow the recipe below for soaking rice before cooking, making it more nutritious and digestible, then use it to prepare any of the recipes that follow.

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