Rice is usually served as a side dish, but it also makes an easy and inexpensive lunch. It's easy to store or freeze, and it reheats well without loss of flavor. Rice provides complex carbohydrates, which increase energy levels, but without the sudden drop or burnout of simple carbohydrates. It also mixes well with a variety of meats and vegetables for a different lunch every day of the week.
Rice bowls are quick to make, nutritious, and a tasty way to use up leftovers. Just about any type of meat can be added to a rice bowl, such as chicken, beef, shrimp or pork. Steamed or sauteed vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms or broccoli, also add flavor and nutrients. Teriyaki sauce is a traditional flavorful seasoning for rice bowls, but the dish can be served without sauce, or with soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, creamy dressing or a fruit salsa.
Like rice bowls, rice wraps can be made with just about any ingredients that are on hand. Chicken is a time-honored favorite, but other types of poultry work just as well, as do fish, beef or pork. Mix the cooked rice with the chopped meat and with vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers, then serve in a lettuce leaf wrap. Top with a spicy mustard, or with teriyaki, peanut sauce or creamy dressing for extra flavor.
Beans and Rice
Beans and rice are simple to make and pack for lunch, and also offer a good combination of protein and carbohydrates. Brown or wild rice makes the dish healthier. The choice of go-to beans depends utterly on where in the world you are or family traditions, but some favorites are pinto beans, black beans, navy beans or kidney beans. For a different taste, try chili or ranch flavoring for the beans, or add a little meat to the meal, such as ground turkey, ground beef or cooked sausage. Tomatoes and green chiles add flavor and spice.
Rice can be used in place of lettuce or vegetables to make a delicious lunch salad. It works especially well when topped with seafood, such as shrimp. For another direction, add chicken or beef, feta or blue cheese, and a salad dressing such as Italian, red wine vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette, creamy balsamic or creamy blue cheese. Fruits and nuts also complement a rice salad for a lighter dish. Use a combination you like with choices such as pear, walnuts, mandarin orange, slivered almonds, or mango.
Like This Article? Let Us Know!
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images