What Vegetables Go Well With Spanish Rice

What Vegetables Go Well With Spanish Rice: 10 Tasty Combinations

Aug 19, 2021 | Pairing Guides

Spanish rice or Mexican rice can go well with a lot of vegetables. It’s a strong flavored rice that goes well with a lot of protein-based Mexican dishes. Here are some vegetables that go well with Spanish rice.

Spanish rice isn’t from Spain but from Mexico. In the 1500s when Spain started colonizing Mexico, they brought in cattle, goats, chickens, and pigs. It was during this time that Spain was multitasking and conquering other places in the globe and started bringing in not just livestock but also other kinds of produce from all over the world, all over the world.

Rice was one of Spain’s treats from Asia that they brought into Mexico and thus, rice cultivation happened in Mexico and Spanish rice was created.

The term Spanish rice isn’t clear where it originated but it made sense to call it such since it is rice made by Spanish-speaking natives like Mexicans. Although known to the world as Spanish rice, this is actually called arroz rojo in Mexico or red rice.

White rice is typically browned in lard and then vegetables like onion, peppers, and tomatoes are added, turning it into red rice. A lot of other flavors and seasonings are added to this rice-like cumin, oregano, and cayenne.

Spanish rice is typically served with other Mexican dishes like refried beans, carne asada, tacos, picadillo, mole, and many more.

We’ve come up with a list of vegetables that go well with Spanish rice.

Bell Peppers

1. Bell Pepper

Bell peppers are deliciously sweet and perfect with tomato-based Mexican dishes. Okay, we might have been a little bit too specific with that but it’s absolutely true.

Bell peppers are delicious raw but even more delicious cooked. Its sweetness and very mild zing shine through Spanish rice. These flavors balance the strong flavors of the spice and it tastes great with the rice. Bell pepper also enhances the flavor of tomatoes, making it a perfect addition to Spanish rice, indeed.

Snap peas

2. Snap Peas

Snap peas are an interesting and unusual addition to Spanish rice but it works. Snap peas are a little thinner and it has a lot of delicious crunch to it.

The newness of it to the dish gives it character and it makes it enjoyable to eat. Snap peas are slightly sweet and have a vegetal taste.


3. Corn

It’s not Mexican if it doesn’t have corn. We’re kidding. Corn is a starchy vegetable that we absolutely love seeing in Mexican cuisine.

You can do so much with it but our ultimate favorite is definitely Mexican corn. It is laced with delicious cheese, spices, and lime. This side dish, although possibly heavy with the rice, tastes good with it. You can also add corn kernels to the Spanish rice.


4. Carrots

Carrots add sweetness to Spanish rice. Not only does it add that kind of flavor but it also adds character in appearance. The orange flavor looks nice amongst the reddish, brownish rice and green beans (see the 5th entry).

Carrots add deliciousness to any dish you add it to so this is a no-brainer. If you want to eat the carrots side by side with the plate of Spanish rice, we suggest roasting the carrots. A simpler way of cooking this vegetable would work most with Spanish rice.

Green Beans

5. Green Beans

Green beans make a perfect addition to a vegetable-packed plate of Spanish rice. The green beans add a subtle flavor and crunchy texture to the rice. It’s a nice balancing flavor amongst the strong spices and sourness from the tomatoes.


6. Onion

Onion is the main ingredient for Spanish rice most especially in the south of Mexico. The onions are caramelized to make sure their flavor shines through the rice dish.

Yellow onion tastes best with Spanish rice. If you want a totally different take on vegetable sides to go with Spanish rice, try serving onion rings with Spanish rice. You’ll be surprised to learn that the humble deep-fried onion compliments the strong-tasting rice dish.


7. Tomato

Tomatoes obviously taste well with Spanish rice because it is one of the main ingredients of this tasty rice dish. Tomatoes add color and flavor to the dish.

The sourness is meant to harmonize with the pungent flavors of the spices added to the rice. It also counters the rice flavor of whatever meat you serve the rice with.


8. Cilantro

Cilantro is more an herb than a vegetable. It’s a leafy green that has soft stems. It tastes citrusy and a little spicy. It makes a delicious garnish on top of any kind of Mexican food because it cuts through the strong flavors from the seasoning.

It’s a fresh addition to the dish and it adds crunch too.


9. Peas

Peas are typically added to Spanish rice mixes. Peas are plump and slightly starchy. This is a delicious addition to the well-seasoned rice. The peas complement not just the seasoning but the tomato flavor of the rice.

It creates a balance between the strong spices and sourness of the tomatoes.


10. Garlic

This is unconventional but we love garlic so much that we decided to add it to this strong-flavored rice. The manner in which we’re adding the garlic isn’t part of the sautéing process but it’s added when it is cooked. Roast heads of garlic until soft and sweet.

Peel the garlic and fold the roasted garlic into the rice. Each bit of this Spanish rice recipe will give you a burst of sweet garlic.


Hey there! I'm Isabel. I love cooking, dogs, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good flavorful food, to share with family and friends.



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