Dinner Plans: Brown Rice

Prep 3 Delicious Meals with 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.

Game Plan

Prep Time: 2 hours

  1. Cook a triple batch of basic brown rice. Reserve 3 cups to serve right away as grain bowls, and then cool and refrigerate the rest, divided into separate containers for the next 2 dinners. Freeze remaining rice in a zip-top plastic bag.
  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.
  4. Prep the other ingredients (shred cheese, chop nuts, and mince herbs) while you make the rice, to save time and ease cleanup.

Prep Day Dinner: Rice Bowl

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.

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 other types of beans (like black beans) if that’s what you have in your pantry.
  • Scramble the eggs if you prepare them to over easy:
  • Top the beans and rice with scrambled tofu instead of eggs and omit the cheese to make it vegan (omit the potatoes, since the brown rice is filling enough)
  • Add sliced avocado, or make guacamole to top each bowl, if you want to bulk it up.

Broccoli Rice Casserole Night

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

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

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 2 cups cooked brown rice.
  • Use fresh steamed broccoli instead of frozen broccoli if you have it.
  • Grate the cheese using the large holes on a box grater.
  • Make your own cream soup to replace the cans in the recipe (and make it gluten-free). Use 3 cups of the homemade version in place of the two cans in the recipe.

Rice Waldorf Salad Night

Serve this Waldorf salad on a bed of spinach leaves or shredded kale. It incorporates carrots and brown rice along with the usual chopped apples, celery, making it filling enough for dinner. For a protein boost, add sliced poached chicken.

Waldorf Rice Salad With Apples and Walnuts
Evi Oravecz-Green Evi-Getty Images

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 3 cups of cooked brown rice.
  • Prepare the salad in the morning and refrigerate it until dinnertime to save time; it’s a great make-ahead recipe.
  • Toast the nuts before adding them to the salad, for extra depth of flavor.

Essential Info

Making quick weeknight dinners is easier when you start with a few building blocks. Dinner Plans is a realistic guide 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!

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