21 Healthy Brown Rice Recipes

Christine Johnson

By Christine Johnson

5 from 3 votes

Brown rice is a nutrient-dense, wholesome grain. It contains both the bran and the germ, which are removed from more processed white rice.

Apart from the health benefits, brown rice also has a nuttier, more complex flavor than white rice, making it the perfect base for bowls, salads, and casseroles.

Healthy Mediterranean Brown Rice Recipe.
Alessio Orr/Shutterstock

These 21 healthy brown rice recipes include sides, main dishes, and desserts. If you don’t cook brown rice dishes often, now is the time to start: the grain is versatile, nutritious, and easy to work with.

1. Healthy Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

This comforting casserole is rich, creamy, and healthy. It’s stuffed to the brim with veggies and nutritious brown rice, and the recipe prioritizes both health and taste.

The trick for a crunchy crust to top this hearty brown rice casserole is to mix panko bread crumbs with a little butter and cheddar cheese. Spread the mixture on top before baking for a satisfyingly crispy texture.

2. Chipotle Brown Rice Grain Bowl

Made with perfectly-spiced chicken, brown rice, and fresh vegetables, this chipotle grain bowl is perfect for meal prep.

It’s incredibly easy to prepare the components beforehand and store them until you’re ready to combine them, and the finished bowl can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

If you’re looking for a vegan alternative, try substituting the chicken with beans, tofu, or tempeh.

3. Instant Pot Brown Rice

The quickest and easiest way to cook tender, richly flavorful brown rice is in an Instant Pot.

Simply pressure-cook the rice with some water and a little salt, and leave it to cook for 20 minutes.

You can use this quick brown rice in a huge variety of healthy recipes. Or even eat it by itself—it’s that good.

4. Brown Rice Pilaf Recipe

This healthy recipe incorporates a colorful variety of vegetables, spices, and herbs for a simple lunch or dinner.

The secret to the pilaf’s savory flavor is nutritional yeast. The seasoning goes perfectly with the rice’s naturally nutty taste and balances the mild sweetness of the bell pepper, carrot, and celery.

5. Brown Rice Salad

Rice… in a salad?

While the combination may not be intuitive, trust us on this one: you won’t regret it.

Brown rice is the perfect base. Just add refreshing, crisp spring onion and capsicum, then mix in some currants and sunflower seeds for the ideal crunch.

Coating the salad is a zesty dressing of sunflower oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic.

6. Veggie and Brown Rice Noodle Stir-fry in Ginger and Chili Oil

This healthy stir-fry is a perfect dinner that will satisfy your takeout craving.

The recipe begins with tempering the ginger chili oil (sesame oil with grated ginger and chili flakes). This step sets the stage for the rest of the process and infuses the noodles and rice with flavor.

Adding toasted sesame seeds to the top is optional, but adds a delicious crunchy texture.

7. Brown Rice Salad with Chard, Grapes, and Hazelnuts

This unconventional salad incorporates rainbow chard, red grapes, and raw hazelnuts into a bowl of brown rice.

The ingredients work together to create a balanced but varied flavor that’s made even better by the rosemary-shallot vinaigrette tossed into the salad.

8. Vegetarian Brown Rice Bowl

This plant-based rice bowl is great for meal prep.

Just roast some veggies—the recipe suggests sweet potato, onion, and broccoli, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Place them atop a bowl of brown rice with some raw kale, roasted red pepper hummus, sprouts, and hemp hearts.

Drizzle with tahini for the perfect nutty addition.

9. Mexican Brown Rice

This Mexican-inspired rice is spicy, zesty, and absolutely delicious.

The trick to giving this brown rice the perfect flavor and texture is to lightly toast the rice in oil before adding other ingredients.

Then boil it in a homemade or store-bought tomato broth and bake in the oven.

10. Brown Rice Stir-Fry with Vegetables

Once you cook this stir-fry once, you’ll never stop making it. It’s easy, healthy, and quick, and works with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

The process is simple: just cook the rice, then gradually add the vegetables and other ingredients as you cook.

The recipe suggests using a wok, but it works just as well in a pot.

11. Red Beans & Brown Rice

Nutritious, simple, and tasty, this brown rice dish with red beans checks all the boxes.

Depending on how spicy you’d prefer this dish to be, you can use either bell peppers or jalapeños. It tastes great either way.

You can also substitute the red beans for other beans or legumes—with this recipe, the possibilities are endless!

12. Instant Pot Brown Rice Pilaf

Using first the sauté, then the pressure cooker settings of the Instant Pot, this pilaf is conveniently made with only one appliance.

It’s lightly flavored with garlic, herbs, and lemon and is perfect as a side or main dish for any occasion.

Easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

13. Fried Brown Rice

Made in a wok, this classic fried rice is a healthy and addictive meal. It includes vegetables, meat, egg, rice, and a myriad of delicious seasonings that’ll leave you craving more.

You can make this recipe without meat and eggs, and feel free to use vegetables that you have in your kitchen or the ones currently in season.

That’s the best thing about this recipe: it’s infinitely customizable.

14. Black Beans And Brown Rice

This simple, healthy bowl is a great lunch or dinner for weeknights.

It’s easy to make and uses ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.

A simple garnish of avocado and cilantro adds a fresh, crisp touch.

15. Spanish Brown Rice

The secret behind the perfect texture of this Spanish brown rice is absolute genius: cook the rice beforehand and chill it overnight.

This method ensures that the rice is fluffy and the individual grains are separated, creating a dish that’s satisfying but light.

16. One-Pot Brown Rice Pasta with Garlic, Broccoli, and Kale

Brown rice pasta is a healthier, gluten-free alternative to conventional pasta. It serves as a great base for this one-pot dish.

This recipe takes only 15 minutes to make and the nutty, deep flavor of the brown rice pasta goes perfectly with the broccoli, kale, and garlic.

17. Healthy Brown Rice Quinoa Blend

Brown rice is healthy by itself, but combine it with quinoa and you’ll have a superfood blend to fuel your body.

Use this brown rice-quinoa blend in anything that includes grains: rice bowls, salads, stir-fries, and bakes are all great options.

18. Coconut Brown Rice

The bold coconut flavor in this brown rice recipe comes from three forms of coconut: coconut milk, coconut oil, and shredded coconut.

The natural sweetness of the coconut contrasts against the nuttier, deeper flavor of the rice.

A shredded coconut topping adds a chewy, decadent texture.

19. Brown Rice And Lentils (One Pot)

This 5-ingredient meal is packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients.

Lentils and rice are a standout combination for healthy, simple fare.

Plus, you probably already have most of the ingredients for this recipe on hand: all you need is rice, lentils, onion, garlic powder, and water (or broth).

20. Brown Rice Pudding

For a sweet, richly-flavored addition to our list, this brown rice pudding fits the bill perfectly.

It’s a healthier but just-as-delicious alternative to conventional white rice pudding, with a little more complexity of flavor and a chewy, satisfying texture.

If you have leftover rice from any of the other dishes listed, this recipe is perfect for using it up.

21. Baked Brown Rice Risotto With Buttered Mushrooms

This quick, one-pot risotto is an amazing weeknight dinner. It tastes like it took a lot of effort and time, but all you need to do is mix everything together and pop it in the oven.

Buttered mushrooms stud the dish, adding a chewy, savory component that goes perfectly with the smoother texture of the risotto.

Bonus Recipe

Looking for a brown rice dish to make right now? Try this Mediterranean-inspired Healthy Brown Rice Bowl recipe.

Healthy Mediterranean Brown Rice Recipe.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Healthy Brown Rice Bowl

This Mediterranean-inspired dish is as simple as it is healthy. Our version features artichokes, olives, and mushrooms over a bed of brown rice, but you can also toss in some leftover veggies like carrots and peas. Delicious as a main dish or side salad for lunch or dinner. Vegan and gluten-free.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: brown rice salad, healthy brown rice
Servings: 4
Calories: 402kcal


Brown Rice Bowl

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 15 oz artichoke hearts one can
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers jarred, diced
  • 4 oz white mushrooms one can
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • crumbled feta cheese optional

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  • Cook brown rice according to package instructions.
  • While the rice cooks, prepare the vegetables. Drain and rinse mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Cut artichoke hearts in half lengthwise and dice the roasted red peppers. Set aside.
  • Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small, sealable container, like a glass jar or lidded bowl. Shake vigorously for about a minute, until dressing is creamy and cloudy looking.
  • When the brown rice is done cooking, let it cool to room temperature. Add it to a large mixing bowl and toss with the veggies, plus some salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle 1/3 cup of vinaigrette into the salad and toss to combine. Add more dressing, 1 tbsp at a time, to taste. Serve in bowls and enjoy!


  • We used canned white mushrooms here, but you’re welcome to use your favorite fresh mushrooms if you have the time to sauté them for tenderness. Practically speaking, since we’re already using jarred roasted red peppers, olives, and artichoke hearts, we didn’t want to break out a skillet just to sauté the mushrooms.
  • Keeps well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days.


Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Sodium: 1430mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg