Packed with fresh spinach and cilantro, Arroz Verde (or Green Rice) makes for an easy and tasty side dish! Plus, it just looks cool!
This post may contain paid links. For more information, please see our disclosure policy.
If I told you to pull out the blender and add a cup of fresh spinach and milk, you might think we were talking about a recipe for a green smoothie. But that blender also gets a handful of fresh cilantro and chicken broth. Ok, now that green smoothie is sounding a bit odd. Nope, this recipe is for Arroz Verde or “green rice.”
Not only is Arroz Verde visually attractive and fun, but it’s delicious, too! Our 6-year-son gave the rice a funny look, but after one bite he gave it “two thumbs up.” I agree with him!
Literally translated as green rice, Arroz Verde is just that. Rice that is cooked in a green broth of cilantro, spinach, chicken broth and milk. (The milk adds just a hint of sweetness to the final recipe. It balances well with the other savory ingredients in the dish.) As the rice cooks, it absorbs the green liquid. Once cooked, you end up with a pretty cool bowl of green rice. (Mental note – this recipe would be great for St. Patrick’s Day!)
Arroz Verde makes for a tasty side dish for all sorts of Mexican recipes. Grilled chicken or shrimp? Serve ’em up with a side of green rice! What about slow cooker carnitas? Green rice would be a great addition there! Tacos or quesadillas for dinner tonight? You guessed it – they’d be great with a side of green rice!
A side benefit of Arroz Verde is the boost in nutritional value that comes from a cup of spinach. Getting a 6-year-old to eat spinach? Yeah, that’s a challenge. Getting a 6-year-old to eat a bowl of green rice? Not so hard. It’s not as sneaky as hiding squash in brownies, but it’s just as effective!
This green rice recipe is delicious as is. I added a bit more salt to my portion, and I would’ve been perfectly happy eating a bowl of rice all by itself! (I couldn’t say that about a bowl of plain white rice.)
Arroz Verde variations
- Southwestern: Add 1-2 finely chopped poblano peppers in with the onions. Or get crazy and add a finely chopped jalapeno in there, too! If you add a poblano, then go ahead and add a teaspoon or so of cumin and smoked paprika – delicious!
- Italian: Hate cilantro? No worries, it’s a genetic thing! Instead of cilantro, use flat-leaf parsley or basil – or a combination of parsley and basil. In fact, basil rice sounds like a great side dish for grilled chicken with Italian herbs.
- Summer: Fresh corn season? Cut the kernels off of an ear of corn and add ’em in. The kernels can go in with the rice or just mixed in at the end depending on whether you want the corn cooked or not. Overloaded with zucchini? Grill up a zuke and then toss the rice with cubes of grilled zucchini before serving.
- Meat: Turn Arroz Verde into a full meal by adding some shredded pork, grilled sliced chicken or grilled salmon. Or use this Mexican green rice as a side for fajitas. The flavor would be amazing!
If you’re looking for a fun summer side dish, then put this recipe on the list. It’s easy and tasty…and it looks really cool, too! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do here in our house!
Did you make a batch of Arroz Verde at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). And if you come up with any fun new variations, let me know!!
Arroz Verde (Green Rice)
- Using a blender or food processor, add the chicken broth, milk, spinach, cilantro and salt; puree until smooth. Set mixture aside.
- Using a medium saucepan, add butter and olive oil and place over medium heat.
- Once butter has melted, add the rice and sauté, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onions and garlic; continue sautéing, stirring often, for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add the spinach mixture (from above); stir until well combined.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot with lid, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Gently fluff rice with a fork and continue cooking (covered) on low heat for 4-5 more minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and let rest covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Wondering what to serve with this dish? Check out some of these ideas: