A simple vegetable rice recipe can elevate your “white rice” into something quite bright and attractive. And, I’m sure it must count towards that 5-a-day we’re always nagged about, so it’s a great way to jazz up a side dish AND feel quite smug about it 🙂
What this food cheat does is uses frozen mixed vegetables, so there’s no prep time at all – and you can even decide to do this when the rice is half cooked as you just toss them in at the last minute.
Frozen mixed vegetables come in a variety of selections, my current bag has whole baby carrots, chopped green beans, little peas and sweetcorn. The whole baby carrots and green beans aren’t really ideal as they will need longer cooking – although, if you think of doing this from the start, you can chop them up into smaller pieces and cook them already mixed in with your rice.
In the freezer I’ve also got some chopped peppers. You can freeze peppers and use them in a variety of dishes and this is one way where they’re fine once defrosted. The only reason you can’t freeze peppers is if you expect them to return back to their fresh state; they don’t but they’re fine in all other ways.
Using Frozen Vegetables
I rarely use fresh vegetables now, mostly for the following reasons:
- Nutritionally, frozen vegetables are probably better than many fresh vegetables you buy in the shops as they’re typically frozen within 1-2 hours of picking. Fresh vegetables in the shops have sat around in warehouses and vans and storerooms for days, maybe longer!
- There is no prep work, so you save time – and you’re not then left with wondering what to do with the peelings and feeling bad about waste. Perfect if you’re reducing waste 🙂
- You only use exactly the amount you want and need, when you want and need it – there is no “have to use it up before it goes off”.
- Financially, if you buy the plain packs of mixed vegetables (not the expensive/posh pouches or steam bags) they can work out cheaper than buying fresh, especially when you consider that you’re having no waste.
- Your rice – I prefer white basmati rice; I prefer the taste/texture of white rice and I love the way basmati rice retains its shape and simply elongates during cooking.
- A small handful of peas, sweetcorn, or other small frozen vegetables that you have a want in your vegetable rice.
- Optional: A piece of frozen pepper, I’ve used about 1/12th of a red pepper
- Put your rice on to cook the same way you always do. I cook rice in a microwave rice steamer, but if you boil your rice, or use a rice maker or rice steamer, that’s your choice.
- Pick out the small frozen vegetables you want from your bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Today I chose just the peas and sweetcorn. If you use peppers, then cut those up small – you can do this while it’s still frozen.
- Put the vegetables into a mug or small pot and cover with boiling water – just to defrost them while the rice is cooking.
- 2-3 minutes before the rice has finished cooking, simply drain your pot of vegetable pieces and add them in with your rice!
Serve hot with hot food, or immediately cool down and refrigerate if you want to use this as a cold rice salad for a buffet table or salad.
Egg Curry with Vegetable Rice
I had this today for my lunch as I have some boiled eggs to use up I thought I’d make my usual cheats simple egg curry and serve it on vegetable rice to make it all look a bit cheerier.
The cost of the vegetables is literally pennies. Probably just £0.02 for what’s in my bowl, plus about £0.03 for the red pepper, with the rice costing about £0.13. Total cost of this portion of vegetable rice was about 18p.