Rice is a staple in virtually every pantry. But many of us don’t use it as creatively as we could. We simply decide what we’re going to eat, and use rice to fill out the plate. Is our meal in need of a carb? Is our dinner looking a little sparse? Do we need a mellower flavor to round things out? In these moments, rice reliably plays the supporting role. But we never let it step into the spotlight—we never build a meal around rice. And considering how many absolutely delicious rice recipes there are out there, we could actually stand to rethink that strategy.
The most obvious way to cook rice is to boil it—maybe with a little bit of salt and butter—and to serve it under something else. The majority of our encounters with rice are the result of this strategy, and honestly, they taste great. There’s a reason this method is a go-to for many of us—it works. But it also neglects the myriad more interesting things that could be done with that rice.
Why not take advantage of the opportunity to craft a little homemade sushi? Or turn that rice into some kind of snackable dessert? What if you cooked that rice in a creamy risotto? Or used it as the base for a savory breakfast bowl? Many of us have been so apt to use rice as a side dish that we’ve forgotten all the other things it can do. Rice can just as easily serve as a snack, dessert, or main course—and it tastes delightful morning, noon, and night.
In truth, there are enough genuinely great rice recipes out there that you could consume the grain in a new way during every single meal. That might be overkill. But at the very least, you could cook a different rice recipe every day for two weeks and still have plenty leftover at the end of it.