Green Rice with Smoked Paprika

Green Rice with Smoked Paprika Recipe

This is the green rice recipe that got away from me. It was the last thing I cooked before leaving for New York, and I intended to keep it simple. There was some arugula to use up, and a good amount of cooked brown rice. Oh, and some peas. And a nub of Gruyere. That mint isn't going to last....You see where this is headed? Anyway, I made some green rice, perfectly good, but probably not something I'd bother posting about. Then I added a couple finishing touches, and it turned this into something I was quite excited about, something I'd absolutely make again - so I thought I'd share.

Green Rice RecipeGreen Rice Recipe

The finishing touches? Smoked paprika and toasted pine nuts. Doesn't sound particularly special, right? But it was one of those things. Remarkably good. I've been on a bit of a smoked paprika kick lately, using it instead of chili peppers, or curry powders, and the like. I thought it'd add some depth and flair here. And it did. The paprika brings a smoked-out boldness that works brilliantly with the creaminess of the pine nuts and the spicy edge of the arugula. I don't want to completely oversell this, but I thought the flavors came together in a really nice way.

Green Rice RecipeGreen Rice Recipe

I could imagine making a smoked paprika oil and using it as a drizzle in place of the ground spice, or taking the whole thing in a different direction entirely - using any leftover spicy lemon coconut sauce you might have in place of the arugula butter, and still finishing it off with the paprika and pine nuts...

Green Rice with Smoked Paprika

2 cups / 14 oz / 400 g brown rice
3 cups / 710 ml water
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 big handful peas (fresh or frozen)
3+ tablespoons arugula-shallot butter*
1 big handful chopped arugula
12 mint leaves, torn
a big handful grated melty cheese (i.e. Gruyere)

a generous dusting of smoked paprika
big handful well-toasted pine nuts (or almonds)
lemon wedges

In a colander or fine-mesh strainer, rinse the rice and drain. Bring the rice, water, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat in your thickest-bottomed pot. Dial the heat back so the water is just simmering actively - low-med. Cover with tight fitting lid, and try not to peek too often. Cook the rice until the water has been absorbed and the grains are cooked through, usually 40 minutes to an hour. If the grains have cooked but there's still water to be absorbed, dial the heat up to medium-high until the pan dries out, being careful not to scorch the rice at the bottom. Remove the rice from heat, fluff with a fork, and then stir in the peas. Cover for another five minutes or, long enough for the peas to cook a bit from the residual heat.

The consistency of the rice is important here - you don't want it too wet. Too dry is no good either. If you need to work in a bit more water, go for it. Then stir in a big dollop of arugula butter, I start with about 3 tablespoons, and add from there. Stir in the arugula, mint, and cheese. Season with more salt if needed.

Serve topped with a generous dusting of smoked paprika, plenty of nuts, and a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.

Serves 6 as a side.

*Arugula Shallot Butter: To make this compound butter puree 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, a big handful of arugula, 1 medium shallot (peeled), and a couple pinches of salt in a processor for at least 30 seconds - until it is no longer chunky. Add a pinch of sugar or spoonful of honey if you need to balance out the flavor a bit.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 40 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

  • Oh this is definitely something we would love in our home!

    Simply Life
  • Hi Heidi. That last picture is my favorite. This post is worthy of a magazine layout. Gorgeous flowers and a beautifully displayed meal. It looks like there's a hard boiled egg you served it with. Question- where do you get those small glass jars? Are they jam jars? I've been looking for ones about that size. Thanks!

    HS: Thank you! And yes, they are - just common jam jars. I use these, and then buy the Weck variety on occasion as well.

    greenthyme
  • Paprika has crept up on me recently and I realised that I've been adding it to almost everything. I love the depth of flavour and the kick of smoky heat that it adds. Excited to try this!

    Kathryn
  • This looks great! I've been making a riff on a green rice recipe for years which is originally a Bobby Flay recipe. It uses roasted (or bbq'd) jalapenos which are skinned and seeded, then pureed with vegetable broth. I caramelize onions and garlic, and then add brown rice and this jalapeno broth. At the end a good amount of chopped cilantro is stirred in. Yum!

    Katie
  • Wow..what flavors the rice bowl packs. We love such one pot meals with rice, in fact a way life for busy working mothers in India. It's always nice to find such flavorful ideas.

    sangeeta khanna
  • When I first red the title I thought it was rice with pesto, how wrong of me. This is definitely something I never tried before and it really looks like a winner recipe. It's going at the top of my recipe-to-do list!

    Mike @TheIronYou
  • Great post. Good to be reminded that healthy food doesn't necessarily mean boring. I shall try this out at home!

    Miss K
  • I have never given mint a shot with rice and am excited to try this new flavor. I like all the green goodness that goes into the recipe with the peas, arugula and mint... Gruyere also sounds awesome and I bet goat cheese would work great too!

    Julia {The Roasted Root}
  • combines favorite ingredients to a fine art - thank you for your ideas!

    Susanne
  • I absolutely love brown rice salads. They are a great way to use up veg and throw things together in a new and surprising way! I've never tried smoked paprika but I'm definitely going to now :)

    Caz
  • I know exactly what you mean - sometimes the throw together meals end up being the best ones! I've had some kale and spinach that needed to get used pronto and whipped up a salad with coconut and miso vinaigrette and apples - I ate it twice in a row ;).

    Heather @ chiknpastry
  • You and Wayne didn't happen to be in Japantown yesterday, did you? I thought I saw you guys walk past the window at the restaurant where I was eating lunch and it felt like a special celebrity sighting. I have plans to bring your rhubarb rosewater syrup to a girls' brunch this weekend...so pretty!

    HS: Hi Maggie! We were in Japantown - doing a mochi / UPS run ;)....xo

    Maggie
  • I absolutely love smoked paprika, it adds such a great spice to any dish! And the mint + gruyere makes it even better :) Can't wait to make this for dinner soon!

    Anjali @ The Picky Eater
  • I love the idea of this! I'm always looking for ways to eat brown rice and I think I'll have to try this next.

    Louisa
  • My friend's mother is Trini and makes a similar dish we call "green rice", but she makes it with spinach. I lurve it!

    sarah
  • Very interesting flavor combination. I love those food inventions where you look and see what you have and let one thing lead to another. :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
  • I recently realized that I have three kinds of smoked paprika: sweet, hot, and agridulce (what's that?! It was a gift). So I am happy to hear this good suggestion for putting this spice to use. And if you're on a kick, maybe there will be more to follow. :)

    emmycooks
  • I've been on a major smoked paprika kick lately and am pretty excited by the idea of making a smoked paprika oil. I'm so glad you shared this recipe!

    la domestique
  • Isn't it great when a random handful of ingredients come together into something great? Rice with lots of beautiful green veg is one of my favorite quick and easy dinners--but I've never tried smoked paprika with it. Thanks for the great idea!

    Eileen
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