White long-grain rice is an affordable pantry staple that can be so much more than a side dish. Its neutral flavour allows it to mix into both savoury and sweet dishes to make filling, low-cost meals.


Tip: Always having cooked white long-grain rice on hand means you can whip up a meal with ease. For 8 servings, add 2 cups (500 mL) long-grain rice to 3 cups (750 mL) water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cooked—about 20 minutes. Let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to four days.


1. Stuff it
Stuffed peppers are colourful and appealing to kids and grown-ups alike. Buy an economical pack of multicoloured peppers and make our Fiesta Stuffed Peppers. The recipe calls for ground turkey, but ground pork or beef works as well. Out of peppers? Hollow out some zucchini and get stuffing!


2. Make fish cakes
Traditionally made with potatoes, budget-friendly fish cakes are equally delicious when prepared with canned tuna or salmon and long-grain rice. Combine leftover rice with an egg, drained tuna or salmon, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into cakes and pan-fry in some oil until golden. Top with chopped fresh parsley or green onions, and serve with a side of ketchup or spicy mayo.


3. Cook it in coconut milk
Long-grain rice can be sweet or savoury when you cook it in coconut milk instead of water. For a thrifty, comforting dessert, try coconut-cooked rice with applesauce, a sprinkling of ground allspice and a drizzle of maple syrup. As a main meal, enjoy coconut rice in our Bourbon Chicken with Coconut Rice and Beans. You’ll love the contrasting flavours.


4. Whip up bibimbap
A staple dish in Korea, bibimbap brings together rice, cooked seasonal vegetables, ground meat and a spicy sauce, and is topped with a fried egg and sesame seeds. Make your own version with white long-grain rice, any vegetables hanging around in your crisper, diced leftover cooked meat and the signature fried egg on top. Don’t forget the hot sauce!


5. Transform it into dessert
Fill the house with the sweet aroma of simmering rice pudding by popping your long-grain rice into the slow cooker with milk, sugar, ground cinnamon and a scraped vanilla bean. A big batch can serve as dessert all week or become a quick and easy breakfast when topped with fruit. Just give the pudding an occasional stir while it’s cooking to make sure the rice doesn’t stick, and add milk as required—whole milk produces the creamiest results.


6. Put together a pilaf
Rice tossed with vegetables and nuts makes a nourishing salad. With turmeric and ground cumin adding vibrant colours and aromatic flavours, this pecan-topped Sweet Potato Rice Pilaf can play double duty as dinner tonight and a money-saving lunch tomorrow. You can switch up the pecans for almonds if you prefer a milder nut.


7. Create a casserole
A weekday classic with powerful kid appeal, chicken and rice casserole stretches leftovers into a satisfying second meal. Simply toss cooked chicken and white long-grain rice with sautéed onions, broccoli and mushrooms (or any combination of vegetables) and then add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Finish the casserole under the broiler to get the cheese bubbling and golden.


8. Make a bed
Plain steamed rice does a terrific job of soaking up all the sweet-and-spicy juices from a stir-fry. Just make a base of rice in a shallow bowl and top with our Garlic-Ginger Beef Stir-Fry—a flavourful medley of broccoli, snow peas, carrots and marinated beef strips tossed in a salty-sweet sauce.


9. Cook a one-pot meal
The long-grain rice in our Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya absorbs all the beautiful broth, spices and chicken and shrimp juices as they cook together in one pot. You can adjust the seasoning to your family’s taste during cooking, and set extra hot sauce on the table to let everyone customize their bowl. Ready in under an hour, this dish is made with low-cost chicken thighs and drumsticks for a surprisingly affordable meal.


10. Have fried rice for breakfast
In the Philippines, a popular morning meal is white long-grain rice fried with plenty of garlic, soy sauce, green onions and scrambled eggs—a.k.a., sinangag. It’s traditionally made in abundance, so the leftovers make a tasty dinner side for later in the day to go with marinated pork or fried fish served with slices of fresh mango.


Always ensure cooked foods reach safe internal temperatures, according to this guide from the Government of Canada.