This one-pot Mexican rice is an amazing restaurant-worthy dinner that's ready in only 30 minutes. It's vegetarian, but feel free to add chicken or prawns or serve it alongside tacos or fajitas or just have it as a meal in itself. There are enough veggies to make it feel substantial and it's the perfect dish to add in some chicken or other protein. And of course, all ingredients are from Aldi UK making it totally budget-friendly!
This Mexican rice is relatively traditional but with a few twists to ensure we hit maximum flavour! It all starts with cumin, chilli powder, onion and garlic. And ends up with a mildly spicy, fluffy tomato-y rice dish that will have you adding it to your meal plan every week. And you're not even gonna think about serving this without avocado, tortilla chips and fresh lime wedges are you? Because they may not be traditional, but they should absolutely be included!
One-Pot Mexican Rice
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Ingredients needed for Mexican rice
- olive oil
- rice- this recipe uses basmati, but you can use regular long-grain white or brown. See the notes in the recipe to adjust the cooking times.
- tinned tomatoes
- sweet corn- tinned, fresh or frozen is all perfect
- frozen peas
- tomato puree
- ground cumin
- chilli powder
- vegetable stock (made with a stock cube)
- fresh coriander
- tortilla chips
How to make Mexican rice (step by step)
- Start by prepping your vegetables. It's the quickest way to get any dinner (or meal) on the table in record time. Cut the corn off the cob if you're using fresh. If you're using tinned, drain it from the water in the tin. If using frozen, place it on a plate so it's ready when you are.
- Dice the courgette and onion so that they are roughly the same size.
- Start by heating the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once it's hot and the oil shimmers (about 3 minutes) add in the onion and some salt. Adding in salt helps to draw the moisture out and soften the onions. Once the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes of cooking) add in the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Just to take the sharp "raw" taste out of the garlic. But we don't put it in with the onion because we don't want it to burn.
- Now we toast the rice! Add in the rice and toss it to coat all the grains in the oil. Let the rice cook for a few minutes until some of the grains just start to turn golden at the edges and start to smell nutty. This should only take about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. <- This brings a much deeper tomato flavour which really brings this dish to life.
- Once you've toasted your rice and added the tomato puree, add in the vegetables, vegetable broth and the tin of tomatoes. Next up, mix in the spices. I've given measures in the recipe card, but this is where you use your own spice meter and either add more or less of the chilli powder. The cumin is what brings that distinctive Mexican smokiness to the rice.
Finishing the rice
- Once all the water/ broth has been absorbed and the vegetables are tender, let the rice stand for about 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- To serve this Mexican rice, I just sprinkle the top with aggressive amounts of chopped coriander and put the sliced avocado, lime wedges and tortilla chips right in the pan and let everyone help themselves. This obviously is a dream for washing up and saving time!
- If you wanted to make this an even more substantial meal you could add in chicken or shrimp.
- You could also use this rice as a side dish to simply fill burritos or tacos. To make it a little lighter for that purpose you could skip the veggies and just use the tinned tomatoes.
Cooking the rice
- Depending on what kind of rice you use, you may need to adjust the cooking time. I use basmati for this recipe and it turns out perfect every time, but if using brown rice you'll probably need to cook your rice a little longer. If using regular long-grain white rice you may need to reduce the time. Just check your package directions and adjust accordingly.
- For this recipe, I personally don't rinse the rice. In fact, I never rinse my rice.! It's just a step I don't find makes that much difference. So in order to save time, I skip it. Yes, it may end up a little starchy, but for this recipe, I like that it's a little sticky. And if you're using this to fill burritos or fajitas, it's the perfect amount of sticky!
Storing and reheating
- You'll more than likely have leftovers from this recipe and want to save them for lunch the following day. Or perfect for breakfast with a fried or poached egg!!! In order to store Mexican rice, just let it cool completely and store in the fridge in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. And to reheat, just pop into the microwave and heat in 30-second intervals until hot.
So, this Mexican rice is a Savvy Bites favourite, and I'm pretty sure it will become one of your favourites, too. All it asks of you is to chop, simmer and serve. A meal that requires little effort, very little cleanup and delivers nothing but bold and comforting flavour!
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