Looking for a delicious and flavorful side dish that’s easy to make and pairs perfectly with your favorite Mexican or Latin-inspired dishes? Look no further than my Arroz Verde con Cilantro. This cilantro-lime rice is made with a zesty cilantro-lime broth that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.
WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE
Bursting with Flavor: The combination of fresh cilantro and tangy lime juice creates a zesty and bright flavor. Unlike other versions (including Chipotle’s) of cilantro lime rice, I actually blend fresh lime juice and cilantro into the broth, which means it’s packed with flavor in every bite. This isn’t just white rice sprinkled with lime juice and tossed with cilantro. I love its vibrant green color, too!
Nutritious and Delicious: Rice is a good source of carbohydrates, while cilantro and lime are packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
Fun and Flavorful Side Dish: My favorite way to enjoy this green Mexican rice is with chicken and seafood. It’s a great side dish for Mexican food and also pairs well with Asian dishes. AND it’s better than Chipotle’s (or anyone else’s I’ve tasted)!
Great for Meal Prepping: I typically make a big batch of rice to enjoy all week. Eat it as a side dish, top it with sliced avocado, or use it in burritos.
WHAT IS CILANTRO LIME RICE?
Cilantro lime rice is a simple and satisfying dish that’s bursting with bright, tangy flavors. It’s the perfect accompaniment to tacos, burritos, and especially fish and seafood.
Made with fresh cilantro and lime, this version is made similar to Mexican red rice, where the rice and onion are sauteed in oil and the rice is browned to enhance the flavor. The rice develops its color and flavor when cooked in a green vegan broth made with blended cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
Oil: Oil is used to sauté the rice and onion, a key part in any Mexican rice.
Onion: Onion provides incredible depth of flavor.
Long-grain white rice: Long-grain rice results in distinct firm grains that come out fluffy and separate after cooking.
Freshly squeezed lime juice: I prefer the tartness that small Mexican or key limes add to the rice, but regular limes work as well.
Fresh cilantro: The bright, lemony flavor of cilantro combines perfectly with the lime juice.
Water: Most other Mexican rice recipes calls for chicken or tomato broth, but in order for the lime and cilantro to shine, I stick to water for this one.
Salt: Salt is always “to taste” in my recipes because each one varies in terms of saltiness. For cooking, I like Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, but any salt works. I recommend tasting the broth and adjusting for salt before adding it to the rice.
TOOLS, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT
Medium pot with lid
HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN GREEN RICE
Step 1: Saute Onion and Rice. This brings out the flavor of both ingredients.
Step 2: Make Green Broth. The blended cilantro, lime juice, salt, and water is what infuses both flavor and color into this rice.
Step 3: Cook. Add liquid to dry ingredients, mix well and cook according to full instructions below.
TIPS, TRICKS, AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Word of Warning: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT stir rice more than once after adding water or broth. You may be tempted to stir it again, or to uncover, but this may lead to soggy, sticky rice!
Taste For Salt: Before adding your green cilantro lime broth to the rice, be sure to taste and adjust for salt. It should be tangy from the lime, and salty enough to suit your palate. I use 1 tablespoon of Diamond Kosher Salt in this recipe, but some salts are saltier than others so start off with ½ teaspoon at a time. It is hard to salt rice after it’s cooked, so make sure your broth has enough flavor before adding it to the rice.
Instead of Mexican or key limes, use regular limes or lemons. Avoid using bottle citrus juices!
Instead of cilantro, use parsley, spinach, or kale. While it won’t have the same flavor, it will still be green and delicious!
Instead of water, use well-seasoned chicken broth or water with 1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon.
Instead of long-grain white rice, use jasmine, basmati, or short-grain rice. Honestly, most any rice will do so don’t run out to the store if you have any of these on hand.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What gives cilantro rice its color? You can infuse a variety of colors into rice using natural ingredients. While Mexican red rice gets its orange color from tomatoes, Mexican green rice typically gets its color from cilantro, poblanos, or other fresh herbs and ingredients.
Is this rice vegetarian? Yes! If you follow my recipe, this arroz verde is actually vegan. While you can substitute chicken broth for water, I prefer to use water so that the cilantro and lime flavors shine.
How do I serve cilantro lime rice? When it comes to serving your cilantro lime rice, there are plenty of options. You can serve it as a side dish alongside your favorite Mexican or Latin-inspired entrees, or you can use it as a base for a rice bowl. Top it with grilled shrimp, salmon, or chicken, black beans, avocado, and salsa for a delicious and satisfying meal.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT
Store cooked rice in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If using a microwave to reheat, place in a glass dish. Otherwise it can be covered and reheated on low. Usually I add a sprinkle of water to keep it from drying out.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH MEXICAN GREEN RICE?
LOOKING FOR MORE INSPIRATION?
Photography + Styling: Cacey McReavy
Arroz Verde con Cilantro (Mexican Green Rice with Cilantro)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice from small Mexican or key limes
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed, divided
- 3 cups water
- Salt to taste
- Saute onion in oil pot on medium heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Once onion becomes translucent, add rice and saute until lightly browned, for 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. I usually stir my rice every 2 minutes.
- In the meantime, blend lime juice, cilantro, water, and salt on medium setting for 60 seconds until well blended. Strain mixture, then taste and adjust for salt before adding it to the rice.
- Stir well one time, then raise flame to medium-high. Bring to a boil until water evaporates to the point where you just begin to see the rice through the water.
- Cover, lower heat to lowest setting, and cook for 20 minutes. Do not uncover to check if it is ready.
- Remove from heat and let stand for another 10 minutes. When ready, fluff with a fork and cover once again.
- Serve hot as a side dish or top with your favorite roasted veggies, protein, and avocado and make a filling rice bowl.
A Note from Lola
Lola Wiarco Dweck
Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.