Green Rice ♥

Green Rice, turned bright green with spinach and coconut milk ♥ Vegan. Gluten Free. Budget Friendly.
Love rice? Now there's a brand-new rice color, just rice turned bright green by cooking it in a blend of spinach, kale, coconut milk and water instead of plain water. The intense green color would be a show-stopper for St. Patrick's day but is too delicious (and pretty!) to wait.

Real Food, Fast & Casual. Beautiful Color. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Little Effort, Big Taste. Great for Meal Prep. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

What Is It With Rice Recipes?

"Color" seems to be the primary description. Just think. It's "White Rice" not snowy-white, moist and plump grains of rice perfectly cooked on the stove. It's "Brown Rice" not nutty-tasting, light and fluffy brown rice cooked in lots of water on the stove. It's even "Red Rice" not rouge-tinted rice brightened with perfect summer tomatoes. What's next, blue rice? pink rice? turquoise rice? (Ask Google, these are unreal in appearance but very real!)

What Gives Green Rice Its Color: The Short Version

For intensely colored green rice, just cook the rice in a mixture of spinach and water plus, for flavor, garlic and coconut milk. I've also added a smidgen of Thai green curry paste since it pairs so well with coconut milk.

And if it's color that grabs out attention, it's taste that sends us back for seconds. If you've always meant to eat more leafy greens, try Green Rice. It just might be your "gateway" greens!

How to Serve Green Rice

Now comes the fun part, the eating! Naturally, Green Rice makes a great side but thanks to its color, it can also really brighten up a plate, especially when the other foods are on the drab side. But then, tuck it into a breakfast burrito or a chicken taco. Or stuff it into bell peppers. Or make a rice "moat" and fry an egg inside the moat. Wrap a cigar roll of rice into a leaf of Swiss chard. Loosen the rice with a little stock and serve like risotto topped with grilled shrimp. For a crowd, spread the rice across a platter, maybe with some mini tomatoes tucked around the edges or sprinkled with some toasted almonds. Or how about this?! Serve it with green eggs 'n' ham, says Sam-I-Am.

Thank You, Terry Bryant!

Green Rice comes from the 2020 cookbook Vegetable Kingdom (affiliate link) from James Beard award-winning chef and food activist Terry Bryant. I find the book a little chef-y but Green Rice and Sweet Corn Relish both went straight into my 3x5 recipe box. It's basics like these which drive my cooking more and more.

Green Rice, turned bright green with spinach and coconut milk ♥ Vegan. Gluten Free. Budget Friendly.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 4 cups

2 cups packed (100g) fresh spinach (leaves + tender stems), in 2 batches
1-1/2 cups (350g) water
1 cup (240g) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon green curry paste, optional
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 3/4 cup/75g)
1/2 large bell pepper, diced (about 3/4 cup/75g)
1 cup (200g) white rice, rinsed well under running water
Spinach Cooking Liquid
Additional salt to taste

SPINACH COOKING LIQUID In a blender, purée about half the spinach and all the water until the spinach is liquified; add the remaining spinach and liquify it too. Add the coconut milk, green curry paste, salt and garlic and purée for a couple of minutes to achieve a smooth bright-green liquid.

RICE In a large heavy non-stick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil until shimmery on medium high. Stir in the onion and green pepper and let cook, stirring occasionally, just until beginning to soften. Stir in the rice and Spinach Cooking Liquid and gently bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Let simmer until the rice absorbs much of the liquid, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom, especially toward the end. Once the rice is cooked, taste and adjust the seasoning. Fluff the rice with a fork, then cover and let rest off-heat for 5-10 minutes, the rice will continue to plump up. Serve hot.

MAKE-AHEAD Green Rice may be made ahead of time, just refrigerate and gently reheat.

LEFTOVERS reheat well, either back on the stove with a little additional liquid or in the microwave.

WHY USE A SKILLET? A skillet is kind of an odd choice for cooking rice but I find that it works better than a heavy saucepan for this recipe. I think it's because there's more surface area, keeping the rice immersed in the Spinach Cooking Liquid rather than almost steaming in a saucepan.
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD NON-STICK SKILLET? I love-love-love this large non-stick everyday cooking pan with a lid from Cuisinart. Most days, it gets used at least once, some times more. And the clear glass lid is really useful for keeping an eye on things. The only thing I wish were different is that for storage, the lid upside down would fit into the skillet.
GREENS The inspiring recipe called for equal parts spinach and kale, a great combination if you happen to have both. The kale adds a touch of bitterness that's especially welcome. What about beet greens or mustard greens or turnip greens or Swiss chard? I think these would work fine too.
COCONUT MILK This recipe is a great way to use up leftover coconut milk. In fact, the inspiring recipe only called for 2 tablespoons coconut milk. If you use less than 1 cup coconut milk, compensate with extra water. If you use a full cup of coconut milk, you'll end up with about 2/3 of a cup leftover for another purpose.
BELL PEPPER I love the color that bits of red pepper add but for an "all green" Green Rice, use a green pepper. A poblano works too, the smoky heat is lovely.
SKIP THE ONION & BELL PEPPER? These add a nice texture contrast but do complicate the prep just a bit. Feel free to skip them ...
WANT TO LOWER THE CALORIES? About 1/3 of the calories come from the coconut milk. To reduce the calories, either use low-fat coconut milk or use less than the full 1 cup of coconut milk, make it up with extra water.
WHAT ABOUT BROWN RICE? i think this technique would work well with brown rice though I haven't yet tried it. I would up the water, however, by at least a half cup. Brown rice is always so pallid in appearance, turning it bright green would be cool! And it would be Weight Watchers friendly for those who follow the myWW purple plan, where brown rice is a "free food". RESOURCES Wanna know more? Weight Watchers Zero Point "Free" Food Lists For the Green, Blue & Purple Plans.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.