Last summer we lost power for almost a week during the pandemic. It was not ideal by any means. But, I did learn a few things. Like how much my kids loved plain ramen noodles. No seasoning packet needed — just plain noodles. I have been using them as a rice substitute in stir-fries ever since. These bricks of noodles cook in minutes and take sauce well.
That change got me thinking about other options to take the place of rice. The 10,000-year-old grain is delicious, but it’s great to vary your meals to avoid getting bored. Plus, it’s fun to try new foods! I’ve come up with 13 rice alternatives to satisfy any palate and diet.
Want to learn which of these rice alternatives are right for you?
Let’s go to The Chalkboard.
Jump Ahead To
Best Keto-Friendly Rice Alternatives
People on the Keto diet primarily consume fats, so legumes and grains are often don’t make the cut. Here are some options that are low-carb and may work.
- Cauliflower Rice – There’s a reason that cauliflower has been used in so many ways recently. From pizza crusts to breads, this vegetable has been everywhere and for good reason. Its non-descript taste and excellent texture work well in a variety of dishes. It has a low amount of carbs per cup, too at just 5 grams. It is ideal for almost any application.
- Riced Broccoli – New to the alternative rice game, minced stalks of broccoli have now emerged as another vegetarian option. This cruciferous vegetable has more flavor than cauliflower but still provides many vitamins, and it’s low on carbs, 6 grams per cup. If you are looking for an addition to a stir fry or side dish, this is a good choice.
Best Gluten-Free Rice Alternatives
Fresh and frozen vegetables are naturally gluten-free, so most riced versions should be ok for celiacs to eat. However, always double-check the label to make sure there aren’t any added ingredients that may pose a risk.
- Rice Cauliflower – Not just great for those on a keto diet. It’s naturally high in fiber and B vitamins and great for almost any swap.
- Riced Broccoli -” One cup of raw broccoli contains just 25 calories, less than 5 grams of carbohydrate, no fat, and a few grams of plant protein,” according to Health. Riced broccoli works well as a side dish or a complement to a stir-fry. If your freezer is full there’s a shelf-stable version.
- Riced Sweet Potato – It is not an excellent keto swap since it is a starchy vegetable, but it is naturally gluten-free. The naturally sweet flavor makes it a perfect option for kids or as a healthy side dish.
- Quinoa – While not a vegetable, quinoa is naturally gluten-free. It is high in protein and easy to cook. Works best for a side dish or salad.
- Millet is whole grain and naturally GF. We reviewed it in our ancient grains article and found the taste to be a bit strong. Good with heavy sauces.
- Wild Rice – You may have only seen it in the grocery store around Thanksgiving, but wild rice is available all year. In actuality, it’s not rice at all but a type of grass. It’s the perfect addition to salads and a great side dish.
Best Whole Grain Rice Alternatives
- Bulgur – These tiny grains cook in just ten minutes and full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They work best in a side dish or salad.
- Farro – Similar to barley in texture, farro is a whole grain that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s easy to cook and has a unique, nutty flavor. It’s pretty hearty so try it in soups, side dishes, or salads.
- Barley – Make sure to look for hulled barley and not pearl. The latter removed the outside, which is the most nutritious part. It takes a long time to cook and has a hearty texture that holds up well to soups and stews.
Best Kid-Friendly Rice Alternatives
- Ramen Noodles – Those little dried bricks are a perfect kid-friendly rice substitute. They cook up in no time and are very economical. Try them in your next stir fry.
- Couscous – the small grains make it easy for little ones to eat. It doesn’t have a strong taste and is easy to add your flavors. Works best for a side dish or salad.
- Riced Sweet Potatoes – My little guy ate so many sweet potatoes when he was little that his nose started to turn orange. They are high in Vitamin A, C, and fiber.
Other Rice Alternatives
- Right Rice – From the makers of Pop Chips, this new plant-based rice alternative contains lentil flour, chickpea flour, pea fiber, rice flour, sunflower oil, salt. It comes in a variety of flavors, and it’s a great side dish.
- Lentils – Want to add a great deal of protein and fiber in no time? Pop open a can of lentils, heat them, and you have a nutritious side dish. If the flavor is too much, mix it with some rice to reap some of the benefits.
What Do You Think?
Are you sick of eating the same things? Have you tried any of these rice alternatives? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear!
Pin this for later.