Dinner Plans: Brown Rice

Prep 3 Delicious Meals from 1 Batch of Brown Rice

Why is brown rice brown?
Lilli Day / Getty Images

Brown rice is hearty, satisfying, and simple enough for cooks of all levels to master—and it’s more nutritious than white rice. It takes a little more time and slightly more water to cook, but if you make a triple batch on Sunday, you’re on your way to putting together a few fast meals throughout the week. Note that all of these dishes are vegetarian, but can be served with your choice of meat.

Game Plan

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

  1. Cook a triple batch of basic brown rice in a large pot. Reserve 3 cups to serve right away as grain bowls, and then cool the rest. Pack 2 cups of cooked rice in a labeled container for the casserole, and the remaining rice in a container for fried rice.
  2. To cool the cooked rice quickly and keep it from getting gummy, spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet before refrigerating it. Lay the rice flat in resealable bags for storage.
  3. Organize the ingredients for the other two dinners this week, and make a list of anything you’re missing.

Prep Day Rice Bowl

Time: 2 hours

Use one-third of the big batch of brown rice to make Southwestern-style rice-and-bean bowls, perfect for any time of day—from breakfast to dinner. Double the recipe to serve four, and add some wilted spinach or other greens for extra nutrition.

Beans and Rice Breakfast Bowl
Stephanie Kirkos

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 3 cups of brown rice and double all other ingredients to serve 4.
  • Substitute for other types of beans if that’s what you have in your pantry.
  • Scramble the eggs if you prefer them to over easy.
  • Top the beans and rice with scrambled tofu instead of eggs and omit the cheese to make it vegan.
  • Add sliced avocado or make guacamole to top each bowl.

Broccoli Rice Casserole Night

Time: 45 minutes

Brown rice meets the ultimate comfort food classic—a hot casserole—in this delicious main course. The broccoli rice casserole is substantial enough for dinner but it also makes a wonderful side dish for a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Broccoli Rice Casserole With Cheese
Broccoli Rice Casserole With Cheese. Diana Rattray

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 2 cups of leftover cooked brown rice.
  • Use fresh steamed broccoli instead of frozen broccoli if you have it.
  • Get ahead on prep day: Assemble this casserole, cover it, and store in the fridge. On dinner night, let sit at room temperature while the oven preheats and simply bake.

Fried Rice Night

Time: 30 minutes

Use the remaining leftover rice to make Thai pineapple fried rice. Fried rice is actually better with rice that's a few days old, and is delicious and more nutritious made with brown rice. Add cooked, chopped chicken or pork if you like.

Thai Vegetarian Pineapple Fried Rice
The Spruce 

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use the rest of the cooked brown rice.
  • Use a wok or extra-large skillet when making this recipe.
  • Toast the nuts before adding them to the fried rice for extra depth of flavor.
  • Fried rice makes good leftovers. Pack away any extra and eat for lunch the next day.

Essential Info

Making quick weeknight dinners is easier when you start with a few building blocks. Dinner Plans is a realistic roadmap to help you achieve that goal, by putting in a few hours of work (planning, shopping, and prepping) at the outset. Preparing a big batch of one ingredient (protein, vegetables, or grains) gives you the flexibility to plan a variety of meals. And who knows? You just might discover your new favorite weeknight recipe in the process!

Show everyone how together you are: Instagram your meal prep photos and tag them #thespruceeats.