Spanish rice is a flavorful dish that is most popular in South America and some parts of North America. While rice is often served as a staple food, many prefer to add it to the main course as a side dish. Despite its name, there is no evidence that links it to Spain. In fact, it is known in many parts of the world as “Mexican rice”. Regardless of its origins, Spanish rice can be a delicious, healthy addition to your menu.
What is Spanish Rice Made From?
Spanish rice consists mainly of rice, with other ingredients added to it for a boost of flavor. Rice is first sautéed with onions and garlic in cooking oil. Thereafter, broth and tomato seasoning are added to give it a great taste and its signature red color. Depending on your taste preferences, you can also add spices like chili, cumin and saffron to give it a twist.
While some consider Spanish and Mexican rice to be the same dish, others argue that it is the spices that distinguish them. Some cooks claim that Spanish rice should be seasoned with saffron, and Mexican rice with cumin.
What is Spanish Rice’s Nutritional Benefit?
Rice is surprisingly healthy and can provide your body with a range of important vitamins. It is believed to contain vitamins B and D, which support your metabolism and immune system. When coupled with calcium, vitamin D can also strengthen your bones and prevent bone-related conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis in later years.
Rice is also known to contain insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber works to normalize your bowel movements and helps to firm up loose stools. Another nutritional benefit of Spanish rice is its tomato flavoring. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, choline, lycopene and many other antioxidants that can nourish and cleanse your system.
What is Spanish Rice’s Effect on Your Health?
Although Spanish rice is filled with nutrients, it also contains carbohydrates. White rice, in particular, has been processed and contains simple carbs. The upside of simple carbohydrates is that they can give you instant energy. However, they are broken down so quickly by the body; you are likely to end up hungry soon after eating. This can lead to overeating and high insulin.
To remedy this problem, you should opt for brown rice instead. Brown rice provides complex carbohydrates, which curb hunger and stabilize blood sugar. Another great health tip is to use fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce for flavoring. Fresh hot red peppers can also kick start your metabolism.
How to Cook Spanish Rice
- Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté onions for 5 minutes. Add rice and cook until golden brown.
- Stir in broth and tomatoes/tomato sauce and bring to the boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes until done.
Whether you call it Mexican or Spanish rice, this dish is a tasty, nutrient-rich addition to your diet. Season according to your preferences, and choose brown rice over white for added fiber and complex carbohydrates.