Green Rice with Smoked Paprika Recipe

The green rice recipe that got away from me - lots of spring produce, finished with smoked paprika and toasted pine nuts.

Green Rice with Smoked Paprika

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...

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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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this morning I looked through this post and it jogged a memory of the dream I had last night! we were sitting in your kitchen and i was going on and on and on about how gorgeous the light is in your photos....and I asked you all about the marble....and we just talked about that non stop. so weird! also this rice looks really good. I can't wait to make it. HS: Hi Tracy! Too funny - I think I need to do a post about the marble - I get a lot of emails about it ;)...There are lots of questions about marble countertops apparently...Who knew?


Any recommendations on how to make this dairy free please. Your recipes and photos are gorgeous, am hoping for some more vegan recipes soonl


what a great idea i have quinoa chalots parsley almonds and the smoked paprika gives the kick thanks for inspiration my best wishes birgit :)))


I'm smitten with your Arugula Butter. I was expecting that lovely green concoction in the processor bowl to be arugula pesto, but in a low-cal meal, why not a compound butter?! This rice looks so good and good for you. I can't wait to make it. I've become disillusioned with my usual brands of brown rice lately. Are there any out there that you're currently enamored with?

HS: thanks! Let's see...I like Massa Organics brown rice, and buy an organic brown Japanese sushi rice I like a lot as well (akita komachi)...

Primordial Soup

This rice sounds great. I was very lucky and received your recipe book for Mother's Day. We have a crazy big cookbook collection here (300+) but I am so happy to finally have one of yours. I've made lots of your recipes, but always from your blog in the past. I also wanted to say that the cover under the dust jacket is like a hidden gem. :) HS:Thanks Kathleen!


Perfectly spring! Intrigued by the combination of mint & paprika - yum!

Summer // House&Hold

Perfectly spring! Intrigued by the combination of mint & paprika - yum!

Summer // House&Hold

I've been loving your recipes lately--kind of laid back but pretty and seasonal, and you photos have had such a delightfully ethereal light about them. Thanks, it always makes me smile and sigh.


I've been craving and eating everything green lately - from avocados to chard. This looks like a great dish to dress up my green food kick (I've just been steaming, sauteeing or eating things raw) and I love one-dish rice dinners!


Looks lovely, Heidi! I'm growing mint for the first time this spring and it's taking off with a capital T. I've been using it in cocktails (obvious choice), but truthfully probably wouldn't have thought to use it in savory grain dishes. Thanks for the inspiration. As always. ~m

Megan Gordon

Waiting for your recipes is like waiting for Christmas Morning! Every time a new one comes up is so exciting and I immediately put the ingredients on my list for the farmers market. Seriously, you never disappoint and if it was not for this blog I might be knocking on your door for something new. I am addicted!

Lauren at The Holy Kale

I keep scrolling back to the top to look at the sunshine and flowers - addictive. The rice looks delicious, love the smoked paprika sparkle. My guy is allergic to peas (bummer!), how about favas in this?

Marissa | Pinch and Swirl

Hey Heidi, Love the mint and smoked paprika flavor combo..great way to add interest and freshen up peas and rice=very nice. Plus, the photography is just as delicious! Best Kfitz

Kathy Fitz

This rice looks remarkably good indeed! I am running low on greens at the moment, but I will certainly make this when I have leftover arugula and mint.

Cookie and Kate

This recipe couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I literally have a bunch of mint that is just on the verge of collapse in my fridge! Also, may I just say that those peonies are gorgeous! They are absolutely my favorite flowers........

Noelle @ GreenLemonade

emmycooks: agridulce is a moderately spicy version of smoked paprika. Heidi, thanks for another fresh, colorful dish!


Anything with smoked paprika has to be at least pretty decent. I love that spice, my boyfriend accuses me of using it anywhere and everywhere!

leaf (the indolent cook)

Love this! Makes me love brown rice far better - that nub of gruyere...nice.

Belinda @zomppa

I can only imagine how tasty that smoked paprika oil would be if it existed. Someone needs to create this!...and drizzle it all over this rice :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

This looks delicious! I love smoked paprika, but haven't used it as a finishing touch. I will make this for my family this week. Thanks, Heidi.

Carline @ Cook with 2 Chicks

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