This Easy Green Rice recipe is as at home served with an Indian inspired curry as with a South American feast (call it Arroz Verde) or simple chicken and grilled veg. Super tasty, super versatile, super easy and foolproof – this will be your new go-to side dish!
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This simple side dish takes a few basic ingredients like onion, fresh coriander (cilantro) and garlic to make a rice dish which is far more than the sum of its parts.
I cook the rice with the same absorption method that I cook Sticky Rice. Add the flavourings, add the rice, add water, bring it to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes and leave to steam for 10 minutes. It is an absolutely foolproof trick to cooking almost any white rice perfectly.
I’ve used basmati as I find the texture to be ideal for the recipe but long grain rice will work just as well. The flavourings are also pretty flexible.
How to Serve Coriander & Garlic Rice
Let’s talk about some more traditional ways to use rice as a side dish first. It is usually going to be served hot or warm. I don’t tend to stress if my rice is allowed to cool a little bit if I’m going to be serving it with something hot and saucy. The hot saucy dish is more or less going to heat the rice back up.
Green rice is as good served family style so everyone can help themselves as it is fully dished up. What I wouldn’t tend to do with a rice that has a flavour of its own is mix it into a dish before serving. Although in hindsight I think it might only be me that does this sometimes anyway.
The less obvious option is to use the rice cold in a rice salad situation. I actually really love this flavour packed rice as a cold option. Some foods can lose their potency when they’re not warmed but the herbs make this a really tasty picnic or buffet option.
Make Easy Green Rice into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
As I’ve mentioned, there are several types of meal or feast where I serve coriander rice. The first is with a curry like my Chicken and Chickpea Korma, some soft bread like naan (man I love naan) and a cooling sauce like my Coriander Mint Yoghurt Sauce.
The next way is with a Mexican/Latin American/Tex Mex/Southern US inspired feast. I serve Oven Fried Chicken Thighs, my fresh Peach Salsa, some Mexican Corn on the Cob and some of my Hot Honey Butter Garlic Sauce to drown it in!
And just to continue my tour around the world, I also very often serve it along with some Middle Eastern inspired dishes like Roasted Aubergine, griddled veg like Peppers and Courgettes and some Super Smooth Hummus. Don’t forget the Tahini Yoghurt Sauce!
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Green Coriander Rice
I would suggest that a regular/yellow onion is best used. They provide flavour without sullying the colour of the dish.
If you aren’t fussed about the colour, a red onion works just fine too. If you only have shallots, they’ll be great, the rice will just be a little more on the mild side. Feel free to throw a little extra in.
As with all my recipes I’ve specified “garlic paste” in the recipe rather than a number of cloves. That’s because the size of cloves can vary so dramatically even within one bulb, that I just don’t think that its a remotely accurate measurement.
I do use garlic paste bought in a jar but you can just as easily throw fresh cloves into the processor. Just look at them in relation to a tbsp measure to gauge how many you need. Please do peel them before using!
Please do not confuse ground coriander with the fresh stalks and leaves. Fresh coriander is readily available, just be careful you don’t pick up parsley by mistake – they look very similar. Can you tell I speak from experience?!
What is important to me is that you use the stalks and the leaves. The stalks are just as tender and tasty as the leaves so do not waste them. In fact you can use mainly stalks in the first part of the recipe. Just use a few picked leaves as the garnish.
Basmati rice is my preferred option. Unlike the short grain sticky rices that I love to serve with many of my East and South East Asian inspired dishes, basmati keeps each grain nice and seperate. Which makes the finished rice fluffy.
Long grain rice is another good option but I would tend to avoid anything fancy like wild rice. And unlike with fried rice, this isn’t a good time to roll out the pre-cooked packet rice!
Now I know that some people simply hate coriander. My heart bleeds for them, it genuinely is one of my favourite flavours of all time. But the good news is that you can swap the coriander for parsley if you need to.
Obviously the overall flavour will change but it will still be a delicious green rice. If you simply don’t have quite enough coriander and don’t want to buy a new bunch, you can also make up the shortfall with parsley.
The only other way that I tend to vary this rice is to add a little lemon juice to the paste. This gives a real freshness and tang. And occasionally if I am serving it with something on the non-spicy side, I might add some fresh green chilli.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
Great news, this easy green rice is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Green Rice
The most important piece of equipment to make this recipe is a saucepan with a good tight fitting lid. This will help the rice to properly cook in it’s own steam.
The other most helpful piece of equipment would be some kind of electrical assistance to create the flavour paste. I love my mini chopper for this kind of thing.
You could achieve the same effect with a pestle and mortar or by chopping everything finely and simply using the side of a very sharp knife to crush everything together. But it’ll be harder work!
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
The flavour paste can be made up to 48 hours and stored covered in the fridge. You can also freeze it in batches which makes it ideal for making just a few portions of rice at a time.
The actual rice can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored well covered in the fridge. Or it can be frozen. I tend to microwave rice to reheat it. Cover with cling film and add a tiny bit of water and it will be perfect.
Leftover Coriander Rice
Just as with rice prepared in advance, any leftovers can be refrigerated then reheated.
You could use cold leftovers as the base for a version of Egg Fried Rice, stir in an egg, make the rice into patties and fry them, add it to soup or simply make a rice salad.
Or just serve rice with another totally different meal!
Easy Green Rice Tips
Please do not be tempted to peek under the lid of the saucepan, especially in the second stage of cooking off the heat. If you let the steam and heat out, it will affect the final cook and texture of the rice.
You will be surprised by how low the heat can be while the rice cooks. If you don’t have a small burner on the hob, consider using a diffuser.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Simple Side Dishes
Easy Green Rice (Coriander & Garlic) Recipe
- 200 g Onion
- 1 tbsp Garlic Paste
- 2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 10 g Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
- 250 g Basmati Rice
- 600 ml Water
- Top, tail and peel 200g Onion. Cut into large chunks and add to the bowl of a small processor.
- Add 1 tbsp Garlic Paste, 2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes and 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil.
- Blitz until the onion is pureed. You might need to stop, scrape the edges and re-blitz.
- Roughly cut 10g Fresh Coriander (stalks and all) and add to the mixer.
- Blitz again until the coriander is pureed.
- Scrape out the paste into a medium saucepan. Fry over a high heat for 2 minutes until the raw smell from the onion has gone. You don’t want to colour the paste so turn the heat down if needed.
- Rinse 250g Basmati Rice under cold water in a sieve until the water stops running white. Add it to the pan stir to coat the rice in the flavourful paste.
- Add 600ml Water and stir again. Bring the water up to a boil.
- Add a lid to the pan and move it to the lowest heat available. Do not touch it for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes turn the heat off but still do not touch the pan for another 10 minutes (you can move it but don’t peek. It is important to not remove the lid.
- Mix the rice with a fork to distribute the herbage and fluff the rice.