How to Substitute Rice for Potatoes

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Grilled salmon with brown rice
Grilled salmon with brown rice (Image: Photo of Grilled Salmon with Brown Rice by Chyrene Pendleton, Photo of Sushi Diagonal White by Lisa F. Young, Photo of Short Grain Brown Rice by Chyrene Pendleton)

In the United States, potatoes have become so much of a staple that it's almost "expected" to see French fries with a hamburger or steak with a baked potato, or roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. Rice, especially brown rice (which is much more nutritious than bleached, white rice seen in grocery stores), will not add on the pounds as potatoes can. Although both are carbohydrates, potatoes (with the exception of sweet potatoes) convert to sugar very quickly, causing insulin to rise and the body to gain weight. For a lean, healthy body, it is important to eat carbs that are slow-acting such as brown rice It is easy to substitute delicious, nutritious rice in place of potatoes when preparing meals that you and your whole family will enjoy.

Things You'll Need

  • Rice type of your choice
  • Pot with a tight-fitting lid
  • Rice cooker/steamer (optional)

Select a variety of rice that offers not only nutrition but delicious flavor. If your family is not used to eating rice, start them out with a nutritious white rice, such as enriched white American rice. It isn't as nutritious as brown rice (the bran is removed) but it does have vitamins added to it. Converted white rice is also common and a little more nutritious than regular, American white rice. This is because it is par-boiled, which means this rice is steamed before the husking process, allowing it to retain more vitamins.

Steamed short grain brown rice
Steamed short grain brown rice

Explore other types of rice if you already are used to eating white rice. Some examples are, brown rice (short and long grain), basmati rice, jasmine rice, sushi (sticky) rice . All of these can usually be found in most regular grocery stores. There are other varieties of rice that can be found in health food stores, Asian and international food markets, for example.Brown rice is much more nutritious than the standard, white American rice and has more fiber than white rice since the bran is left intact and is considered a whole grain. Brown rice takes longer to cook but it's well worth the wait. Basmati rice can be white or brown and is a long grain rice. This is a very common type of rice in India and has a wonderful aroma. This rice type actually elongates a little as it cooks and looks as beautiful on the plate as it tastes. Jasmine rice has a shorter grain than basmati rice and a very pleasant jasmine aroma. This variety can also be brown or white and is quite delicious.

Learn how to cook rice from directions on the rice packaging, recipe books or on the Internet. Following directions exactly will just about always result in hot, steaming, fluffy rice. Always use a good, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid for the rice. You may also prefer using a rice cooker that takes all of the guesswork out of preparing rice, resulting in perfectly cooked rice every time.

Decide what will be your main course for the meal. If you are preparing a roast beef, you'll have time to start rice a little later. Seafood takes less time than a roast beef, for example and if you are having some kind of seafood or fish and you are having brown rice, start cooking your rice first.

Serve any kind of rice with seafood as seafood and rice traditionally work well together. For example, brown rice with grilled salmon steaks or fried rice with stir-fried shrimp and vegetables is a delicious combo.

Prepare steak with long-grain basmati rice instead of steak and potatoes. Basmati rice has a delicious nutty flavor and works in perfect harmony with the flavor of the steak.

Grill, fry or bake chicken and add rice pilaf on the side. Chicken and rice pilaf go very well together. A pilaf is usually rice cooked in a vegetable stock along with onions and seasoning. Rice pilaf is a side dish that goes very well with all kinds of meats, poultry and fish. It can also become a main dish, especially for vegetarians. What about having curried rice with chicken? This is very delicious and you can use just about any type of rice for curried rice, including plain white rice.

Treat yourself to some rice with eggs instead of hash browns for breakfast. Leftover rice can be used if you want to save time. One delicious and quick way to prepare this is to stir-fry cooked rice in oil (such as olive oil or organic, virgin coconut oil) as if you were making fried rice and add onions, peppers, garlic and a beaten egg or two in it. You can turn it into fried rice simply by adding a little soy sauce to it. Then serve this alone or with bacon or sausage for a scrumptious breakfast, without potatoes.

Buy some sushi rice (also called, sticky rice) and make rice balls (called, onigiri in Japan), if you're the adventurous type. Sushi rice is very glutinous and you may be familiar with it if you've eaten sushi. It's as simple as forming balls of cooked, sushi rice, sticking a hole at the top with your finger, and filling it with butter. You can also stuff the hole with pickled ginger or pieces of seafood. Add even more flavor by shaking some soy sauce on it. The rice balls will hold their shape as you eat and is a great substitute for a baked potato your whole family will enjoy.

Sushi Rice
Sushi Rice

Tips & Warnings

  • To prevent insects (such as weevils) from getting into your rice, store it in the refrigerator.
  • Avoid buying instant white rice. It does not offer any nutrition and has a very bland taste.
  • If preparing rice is challenging for you, consider buying a good rice cooker/steamer. There are several varieties that consistently produce perfect rice each time.
  • If your main dish doesn't take much time to prepare and you are having brown rice, start cooking the brown rice first. Brown rice takes longer too cook (from 40 to 55 minutes, depending on whether it is long or short grain).
  • Use any leftover rice for breakfast or lunch, to have in place of potatoes.
  • When eating out at restaurants, order rice with your meal instead of potatoes.
  • While the rice is cooking, do not lift the lid. Lifting the lid causes the steam to escape and can result in undercooked rice or wet, mushy rice instead of fluffy rice. You could risk burning yourself also.

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