Red Rice with Tomatoes

The Recipe: A simple summer vegan side dish with really pretty color, just rice cooked with perfect summer tomatoes. It's almost a loaves 'n' fishes story, rice that blossoms from one cup to six cups, thanks to an intriguing cooking technique – don't worry, it's easy, no special equipment needed!

Weight Watchers friendly, just two points per serving. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

The Conversation: Are you a side-dish cook? Me either.

Red Rice with Tomatoes, a lovely rouge-tinted vegan summer side dish. Recipe, inside tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points at Kitchen Parade.
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Some cooks punt pie, some bypass bread, some dodge desserts. Me, I skirt side dishes. (Enough with the alliteration? Okay!)

Why? Maybe because once I put a protein, a vegetable and a salad on the table, I’m done. Or because my cooking style tends to one-pot suppers, especially in winter. Or because a starch side dish is last on the list of nutrition priorities – even a sweet ending (aka dessert) trumps a side dish.

But last summer, I found myself making one side dish after another, just because there was time, twice when roasting the decidedly unfussy Fast Roast Chicken, twice more when my bestest-n-favoritest cook was tending meat and vegetables on the grill.

Red rice is definitely kicked up a notch both color-wise and taste-wise. It’s not “spicy hot” but “spicy mellow” – it’s a great make-ahead side dish, easy to rewarm. It calls for Ras Al-Hanout, a North African spice blend. I’ve used different versions for years, consider making extra for spicing grilled meat and fish and roast chicken.

HOW FUNNY! I just now realized that my very first Kitchen Parade column back in 2002 was in fact a side dish, the wonderful Cheese Gnocchi Pie! Still, there are only a few side dish recipes here. Any recipes to recommend? I love it when readers share ideas and recipes!

ALANNA’s TIPS Here’s a quick trick for peeling and grating ripe summer tomatoes at the same time. Cut a ripe tomato in half, then rub the cut side against the large holes of a box grater (put it over a plate to capture the flesh and juices), rubbing off all the flesh, leaving the skin in your hand. But if you’re not picky about tomato skins, just dice the tomatoes. For something simpler than Ras Al-Hanout, the inspiring recipe called for 1 tablespoon chili powder.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

RED RICE with TOMATOES

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 6 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium-size summer tomatoes, peeled and grated (see TIPS)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Ras Al-Hanout (see spice mixture below) or chili powder
  • 1 cup short-grain rice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh herbs – thyme, oregano, rosemary
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 2 cups water
  • Fresh tomato slices & fresh herbs for garnish, optional

In a large pot, heat oil until shimmery on medium heat, then stir in onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften. Stir in jalapeño and garlic, cook for 2 – 3 minutes until jalapeño begins to soften.

Reduce heat to low (otherwise the sugar in the tomatoes may burn on a higher heat), stir in tomatoes and Ras Al-Hanout and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Stir in rice, salt, herbs, tomato juice and water. Let come to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes, checking every five minutes adjusting the heat to maintain a slow simmer.

After 15 minutes, the rice should be cooked but quite loose with some liquid left in the pan. Remove from the heat, cover and let rest for 10 minutes, allowing time for the extra liquid to be absorbed.

Serve immediately, topped with fresh tomatoes and herbs. Otherwise, to serve later, refrigerate and gently reheat, adding water if needed to rehydrate the rice.

RAS AL-HANOUT You can find ready-made Ras Al-Hanout in spice shops but it’s easy to mix at home. For just enough spice mix for the rice, use 1-3/4 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoons turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 88 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 110mg Sodium; 17g Carb; 2g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1.5, WW PointsPlus 2 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 9 tablespoons (1g protein). This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat and increases in flavor with extra spices.

More Recipes for Summer's Perfect Tomatoes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Creamy Ricotta with Tomato-Cucumber-Corn Salad Summer's Tomato Soup Grilled Steak with Summer Tomato Salad
~ more tomato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Tomato Platter with Olives & Feta ~
~ Fire-Charred Tomatoes ~
~ Tomato & Onion Salad ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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Sounds delicious, Alanna! I love your writing style too. Very engaging and warm :)
 
I have been subscribed to Kitchen Parade and Veggie Venture for some time and really enjoy both the column and the blog. Red Rice with Tomatoes is a side that everyone loves.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna