Flavor-boost your rice dishes with this super-simple but super-flavorful spicy green rice sauce. Blends up in minutes and goes great with Mexican and Thai dishes ... or when you just need a little tasty carby comfort.
There are recipes that home cooks turn to over and over again, to the point where it’s reflex as much as recipe. This, for me, is one of those.
Rice, along with pasta, is the ultimate carb comfort food, in my book, and when punched up with a sauce made with herbs and peppers, well, not to be too precious about it, but: craveworthy.
The reason this recipe has become muscle memory in my kitchen is because it’s so quick and easy, and the fresh and herbacious flavors make the simplest meals — say, this and a tossed salad — seem unexpectedly special. Plus, I feel really good about sneaking extra greens into a dish that normally calls for none #craveveggiegoals.
If your fridge or freezer always has a supply of leftover rice (or quinoa or farro), Spicy Green Rice is just a speedy whirl in the blender away. I keep my trusty NutriBullet (affiliate link) nearby, and while my rice reheats (or cooks up afresh), I do a rough chop on the ingredients, toss them into the blender jar, and one short buzz later, my sauce is ready to go. No expensive Vitamix necessary, although it will, of course, do a bang-up job of it.
A bonus to this recipe is that all of the ingredients should be available year round at your regular grocery store, even though out of season locally.
But as a home vegetable gardener, I particularly love that I can pluck all of the green ingredients right out of my yard, and raid the pantry for the rest.
This recipe got a lot of testing over the summer, as I tweaked it to balance herbs and chilis, and I never tired of its plucky flavors and seamless companionship with meals of enchiladas, sauteed veggies, and even mushroom tikka masala. (Pro tip: add ginger for Asian-themed dishes — oo-la-la.)
And I can’t count the number of times this was the star of a hurried lunch, with a glass of earl green iced tea and a side salad.
Why everyone will love Spicy Green Rice
- Think of it more like a mild chili sauce than an overtly healthy green-monster sauce. The herbs and fresh poblanos create a wonderfully spiced sauce, without the sinus-clearing qualities of sriracha or cayenne.
- This is a whole foods plant-based compliant dish, but it’s the kind of naturally natural (lol) recipe that appeals to everyone because there’s nothing unfamiliar in it; no strange substitutions or suspect ingredients.
- This recipe works well with a variety of grains and seeds. White rice? Of course! Brown rice? Yes! Quinoa? Absolutely! Ditto with farro, barley, and even couscous. Whatever your fam’s carb craving, the spicy green sauce will top it nicely.
There is no one in my circle who has sampled this Spicy Green Rice who didn’t love it. If you have carnivore-leaning eaters in your care who raise a skeptical eyebrow at things overly green, I do hope you’ll find a way to get them to take a forkful. Because that’s all it will take. Just one. (But maybe wait until after that first bite to tell them it’s also vegan, lol.)
- 1 small poblano pepper roughly chopped (or sub a jalapeno or serrano)
- 1 cup loosely packed spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro stems okay
- 2 green onions roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger optional
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup coconut milk use lite, if you'd like
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 cups cooked rice warmed, if using leftovers
Add all but the rice to a blender, and blend until smooth. Makes about 1 cup of sauce. Stir into the rice (don't worry; it won't be soupy). Serve immediately, or store in the fridge.