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Arroz Verde: Special Occasion Rice

December 28, 2012

grains of rice

To be honest, I’m not really a fan of rice. I know, I know, it’s a great cheap staple, that can be healthy if it’s the right variety and can be prepared a million different ways etc etc. But that doesn’t change the fact that whenever I eat rice, even in small quantities, I wake up the next morning with a bothersomely puffy, uncomfortable belly.  So, I eat it sparingly, saving it for my two favorite rice meals – sushi and arroz verde. Arroz verde, literally green rice in Spanish, is often served at special occasions, festivals, weddings etc. There are probably hundreds of variation on arroz verde, but this recipe is my favorite. It’s simple, foolproof and full of flavor. When considering how to pair it for a meal, just consider whether a cilantro garnish would go with what you’re eating – if so, then this rice will be perfect. We enjoy it in burritos, as a side to grilled fish, and with black bean soup. Enjoy!


Arroz Verde

Arroz Verde (adapted from this recipe)

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

To prepare this dish for a vegan, simply use all olive oil rather than butter and replace the milk with a non-dairy option such as soy or almond milk. For a spicy version, add one or two minced jalapeno to the blender when processing your cilantro and spinach.


1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1 cup tightly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs butter
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 small onion, finely minced
2 clove garlic, minced


First, make your sauce by pulsing your cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender or food processor until the vegetables are puréed. Add the milk and salt and blend until well combined.

Next, melt your butter in the olive oil in a medium pot set over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until it just begins to darken and smell nutty, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then stir in your sauce and increase the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture boils, cover the pan, turn the heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes (or according to package instructions if not using long grain white rice). Stir the rice carefully to avoid crushing it, cover, and cook another 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes before serving.

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