12 Best Rice Recipes Without Meat

Rice is a staple food in many cultures around the world. It is versatile and can be cooked in many different ways. 

Traditionally, rice is often cooked with meat, but there are many delicious and nutritious rice recipes that do not contain meat.

In this article, we will explore some of the best rice recipes without meat. 

We will include a variety of recipes, from simple to complex, so that there is something for everyone.

The Best Rice Recipes Without Meat

Whether you’re a vegetarian, following a plant-based diet, or just want a meat-free meal, these delicious rice recipes are worth trying.

Spicy Cauliflower & Halloumi Rice

This dish brings together the goodness of cauliflower and spinach boiled in salted water, then set aside. 

An aromatic mix of onion and halloumi cheese is sautéed until golden and spiced up with garlic, ginger, turmeric and curry powder. 

Stir in brown basmati rice pouches along with the cooked vegetables. 

Season to taste and garnish with red chilli slices for that extra zing.

Kimchi Fried Rice

A Korean delight – this recipe involves tossing kimchi and rice with garlic, ginger, gochujang (Korean chilli paste) and some kimchi juice. 

Additional ingredients like mushrooms or eggs can elevate the dish. 

Flavor it with sesame oil, soy sauce and salt before garnishing with green onions, sesame seeds and roasted seaweed strips.

Vegetable Fried Rice

A classic fare that never disappoints – stir fry cooked rice in oil along with an assortment of vegetables like snow peas, carrots, kale or bell peppers. 

You may also add scrambled eggs. Season it with soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli garlic sauce (if desired) along with salt and pepper.

Tomato Soup With Rice

The comforting bowl of soup starts by sautéing onion, garlic, carrot and celery until they soften followed by adding tomato paste seasoned with dried basil, dried oregano along with salt , pepper and sugar for a balanced taste. 

Add vegetable broth along with canned diced tomatoes before bringing them all to boil. 

Add rice to this mixture, simmer until tender. 

You can either blend this soup for a smooth texture or leave it chunky based on your liking. Serve hot topped off with grated cheese or cream if desired.

Mexican Fiesta Rice

A vegan delight brimming with the vibrancy of vegetables and spices! 

Cook onion, pepper, garlic, and cumin till soft in olive oil. 

Stir in tomato purée, smoked paprika, and basmati rice before pouring over vegetable stock. 

Bring to a boil before simmering for 10 minutes. 

Let stand for 10 more minutes before adding coriander and spring onions for a final stir. Ready to serve!


A Middle Eastern delicacy that pairs rice with lentils and caramelized onions. 

Start by crisping up the onions in olive oil then setting aside. 

Toast cumin, cinnamon, allspice and pepper in the same skillet before coating the brown rice within this fragrant mix. 

Add lentils, water and seasoning before reducing to a simmer for 25 minutes until tender. 

A sprinkle of parsley along with those original caramelized onions completes this dish.

Pineapple Fried Rice

A Thai-inspired dish combining sweet pineapple with savory cashews alongside peas and carrots in your rice panacea! 

Heat oil in a pan then soften some onion before adding garlic, ginger and curry powder.

Add your cooked (and ideally chilled) rice along with soy sauce or tamari for added flavor depth.

Stir-fry until heated through followed by an addition of pineapple chunks, cashews peas and carrots -seasoned with salt and pepper – your Thai feast has arrived.

One-Pot Cajun Rice

Packed full of tasteful heat – this recipe combines red kidney beans with white rice amidst garlic,bell pepper,onion drenched in 

Cajun seasoning all brought together beautifully within one pot.

Just soften your veggies while you toast off your spices before adding rice, broth, kidney beans, salt n’ pepper. Simmer until ready to lift off the lid revealing fluffy flavorful grains The perfect accomplice to any Vegan/Vegetarian dinner!

Vegan Style Southern Creole Dirty Rice

This rich, fulfilling version of a southern classic will have you asking for seconds. 

Made with brown rice, eggplant, onion, celery, green bell pepper and an array of aromatic herbs and spices – this dish brings bundles of flavor at your table in just 45 minutes! 

The process involves browning eggplant cubes before simmering them in a flavorful broth along with other fresh veggies. 

Served atop cooked rice or mixed together – it’s all up to you!

Jeweled Rice Pilaf

Bringing festive flavors to your everyday meal with wild rice, tangy white wine vinegar, fresh orange juice and sweet maple syrup merging with chickpeas, cranberries pistachios and parsley – it’s a party in every bite! 

This recipe takes about half an hour with the cooked rice being tossed in a sweet-tangy dressing and mixed with chickpeas and other colorful additions.

Rice Pudding

A comforting dessert that never goes out of style – the creamy rice pudding! 

This simple yet satisfying dish uses short-grain rice, milk (whole or low-fat), sugar and spice brought together into a creamy concoction that’s simmered until thick.

A final stir-in of vanilla extract adds an extra dimension while optional raisins provide chewy bursts – serve it hot or cold as you prefer!


Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish made from cooked rice topped with fresh, sautéed vegetables, commonly accompanied by meat but can easily be enjoyed without it and garnished with a fried egg. 

The secret ingredient that brings it all together is gochujang – the famed Korean red chili paste.

Here are the steps to prepare this colorful feast:

Start off with cooked short-grain rice, preferably having a slightly sticky texture. 

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat before adding the rice. 

Press it with your spatula to form an even layer and let it cook until crispy on both sides. 

Once done, transfer the rice to a large platter or individual serving bowls.

Next up – prep your vegetables. 

Julienne your carrots and zucchinis while spinach and bean sprouts need to be blanched separately. 

Remember to squeeze out any excess water from your spinach and bean sprouts before seasoning them lightly with salt.

Your shiitake mushrooms (or any mushroom of your choice) will be sautéed with garlic, soy sauce and sugar until nicely caramelized.

Finally fry up some eggs sunny-side-up style in the same skillet you used earlier.

When you’re ready to serve, arrange each vegetable in sections around the edge of your platter or bowl creating an appealing visual contrast of colors. 

Place a fried egg in the center and finish off by drizzling some rich gochujang chili paste over everything for that signature spicy kick bringing this feast together!

What Can I Add To Rice When There’s Nothing?

Many people find themselves in a situation where they have a bag of rice but nothing much else. 

Thankfully, rice is an incredible food staple that can be easily enhanced with just a few ingredients. 

Without the fancy accompaniments, how does one dress up rice? 

Make Rice Richer with Butter

It’s amazing how something as simple as butter can transform plain rice into something moreish and satisfying. 

Try melting a dollop of butter in a saucepan over low heat then add your already cooked rice. 

Gently stir until every grain is coated with the golden melt. 

Consider adding salt, pepper or any other available dry spices at this point to take your rice to the next level.

Perk Up Rice with Salt

A kitchen essential, salt has the power to enrich and balance the natural flavours of your plain rice.

Avoid a bland outcome by adding salt into your pot before cooking your rice, or by sprinkling it over top of cooked grains followed by fluffing it up with a fork for even distribution.

Jazz Up Rice with Maggi

Rice doesn’t have to be boring when you’ve got Maggi in your pantry. 

For an instant flavour boost, crumble some Maggi cubes into your cooked hot rice and combine thoroughly. 

If you prefer more moisture and depth, try adding some water or broth along with your seasoning cube while cooking your rice.

Elevate Your Rice with Palm Oil

Palm oil isn’t just for frying; it’s also a popular addition to many West African and Southeast Asian recipes, including their rice dishes. 

With its unique orange-red hue and nutty taste profile, palm oil can significantly elevate plain cooked rice’s appeal. 

Get creative by sautéing onions, garlic, tomato paste and aromatic spices in palm oil before mixing in raw rice and broth for an impressive dish like jollof.

Crisp Things Up with Frizzled Onions

Frizzled onions may look delicate, but they pack a significant flavor punch. 

They’re the crispy, intensely savory garnish that can take your plain rice from dull to delightful in seconds. 

Whether homemade or store-bought, these golden treats add crunch and a unique sweet-savory accent to your bowl of grains.


Adding pepper to your rice can bring about a metamorphosis. 

This common seasoning provides an instant kick that makes your palette sit up and pay attention. 

You could incorporate it into the cooking water for an understated note throughout or sprinkle over the top just before serving for contrasting hits of spice.


What dish doesn’t sing with the addition of cheese?

Improve your simple pot of rice by stirring in shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or parmesan while hot off the stove; melting it makes for a decadent creamy mouthful. Or take things up a notch by baking it in an oven until golden.


Don’t underestimate the power of vegetables to enhance your rice considerably. 

Whatever you have lurking at the back of your fridge — peas, carrots, corn — cook them up separately before mixing through or add them directly into the pot for all-in-one convenience. The end result is colorful and nutrient-rich.

Egg-ceptional Addition

For quick protein-fix perked up with flavor, consider adding eggs to your rice. 

Scramble them into little pieces then stir through cooked rice or top it off with a sunny side-up egg for a more rustic presentation. 

Amp it up further by drizzling soy sauce or sesame oil over top with some green onion scattered on for good measure.

What Can Be Prepared From Rice?

Jello-o with Rice: The Kids’ Favorite

Bring fun onto your dining table by serving up a fruity Jello-O packed with starchy grains for a new texture twist. 

It’s easy to whip up using any flavor Jello-O and cooked rice. It’s sure to be a hit among your younger diners!

Fried Rice

Fried rice is as diverse as it is delicious. 

This classic dish can be made with virtually any type of cooked rice and added extras – veggies, meats, seafood or eggs all have a place here.

Rice Pudding

If you’re craving something sweet and creamy, look no further than rice pudding. 

Made from simple pantry staples – rice, milk, sugar and spices (think vanilla or cinnamon), this comforting dessert never fails.


For an indulgent tasting experience without venturing past your front door, treat yourself to risotto, an Italian dish rich in its creaminess and flavors that vary from seafood delight to mushroom heaven or asparagus freshness.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake showcases the versatility of rice in dessert form. 

A sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk; it’s often crowned with fluffy whipped cream and an assortment of fruits for good measure.


If robust flavors are what you crave, paella has got you covered! 

This Spanish traditional dish combines rice with a medley of seafood, sausage and vegetables, cooked over an open flame in a wide shallow pan for that distinctive crispy bottom layer.


Biryani offers an unforgettable tasting journey into the heart of Indian cuisine. 

Layered with fragrant spiced meat or vegetables and aromatic basmati rice, biryani is as much about technique as it’s about taste.

Rice Krispie Treats

Transform your rice into a delightful dessert with Rice Krispie Treats. 

This classic treat combines puffed rice cereal, marshmallows and butter transformed into gooey bars perfect for both children and adults. 

The best part? 

You can play around with flavors by using different variants of marshmallow.

The Aromatic Rice Pilaf

Bored with plain white rice? 

Elevate it into an aromatic Rice Pilaf where the grains are cooked in seasoned broth along with sauteed onions, garlic, and other spices. 

For added texture and flavor, mix in ingredients like nuts, dried fruits or fresh herbs.

Versatile Rice Salad

Combine cooked rice with an array of veggies, fruits, nuts or meats to create a refreshing Rice Salad. 

Tossed in vinaigrette or mayonnaise dressing, this dish is perfect served cold or at room temperature as a light lunch or side dish.

Hearty Rice Casserole 

Looking for comfort food? 

Look no further than a good old-fashioned Rice Casserole. 

Baked in the oven alongside other mouthwatering components such as cheese, meats or vegetables all coated in a rich sauce-this meal can be whipped up ahead of time and reheated before serving making it an ideal option for those hectic weekdays.