Rice is a staple in many cuisines around the world, but it isn’t exactly the best choice if you’re trying to cut down on your carb intake. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, then you’re probably eager to find a healthy substitute for rice.
Fortunately, there are a few reliable options that you can easily swap for rice. At Tastessence, we’ve rounded up four of the best substitutes for white rice that you can incorporate into your diet today. Keep reading to see what your options are in regards to a healthy substitute for rice.
If you’re just trying to eat less white rice, you can easily swap it out for the much-healthier brown rice. Brown rice is popular with nutritionally-minded folks since it’s much less processed than white rice, leaving it with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
However, brown rice is similar to white rice in terms of its caloric and carbohydrate content. So if you’re adhering to a low-carb diet, brown rice might not be the ideal white rice alternative for you.
Another healthy substitute for rice is quinoa. If you aren’t familiar, quinoa is a grain crop grown for its seeds (which are the part you cook and eat). Quinoa is gluten-free, full of protein, and rich with many other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
You can use quinoa in the same way that you would prepare and eat rice. Whether you prefer to cook your rice in water, chicken broth, or another liquid, you can replicate that process with quinoa. Add veggies, protein, and sauce to it for a complete meal.
From pizza bases to buffalo wings, it seems like cauliflower is being used as a substitute for just about everything these days — and rice is no exception. It’s made by ricing cauliflower into tiny pieces, which look very similar to white rice. If that sounds too labor-intensive, you can also purchase frozen cauliflower rice.
With cauliflower rice, preparation is a bit different than with traditional rice. Since it’s made from a vegetable that already contains a bit of moisture, you don’t have to cook it in liquid. Instead, you can simply microwave it or put it in a pan on top of the stove.
Couscous originated in North Africa, where it continues to be an essential part of many people’s diets. It starts out as wheat or barley, before a machine rolls it into tiny balls of pasta. When cooked, couscous puffs up and has a pleasant texture that mixes well with veggies and chicken.
You would prepare couscous in the same way that you would cook rice and quinoa. You’ll first need to combine the tiny pasta balls with a cooking liquid (broth or water). Allow the couscous to cook for about 10 minutes before fluffing it with a fork and serving.
Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free, low-carb, or vegetable-based healthy substitute for rice, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Outside of the alternatives above, you can also use things like farro, broccoli rice, and barley in place of rice.
For more cooking tips and ideas, check out the Tastessence blog.