Vegan Spanish Rice

Vegan Spanish Rice with Salted Avocado on the side. Pic by M.C.

My family Spanish rice recipe is near and dear to my heart. It was passed down to me from my mom from probably my great-great grandmother. My mom always made it vegan, but she said the original recipe probably had shrimp or chicken in it.

My great grandmother Henrietta spoke fluent Castilian Spanish. Her mother came to California from Spain with her husband and two children via a ship to San Diego. I imagine they left Spain because he embezzled money from the king. I assume the King of Spain. He left her and returned to Spain. She probably took a train from San Diego to San Francisco with their son and daughter. She met and married an Italian shoemaker and lived in the Italian district. They had Henrietta my great-great grandmother. This second husband left them, but stayed in the area as a cobbler. Then the 1906 San Francisco earthquake happened. Henrietta and her sister ended up in a convent. When Henrietta grew up she went to find her father, but he would have nothing to do with her. Through the years little embellishments have been added to the story sounding like a historical novel. Definitely not a romance. The men may have left, but the comfort food was always there.

For many years my mom would use Bragg’s Amino Acids instead of salt. These days I use a bouillon cube and sea salt. Lately, I have been using canned fire roasted tomatoes. And New Mexico chili is the best. It’s not a spicy hot. I have tried California chili but it is too bitter.

1 onion, large
3 garlic cloves, pressed
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup short grain brown rice from freezer
8 oz. tomato sauce, canned
14.5 oz. tomatoes, fire roasted, diced, canned
1 Tbsp. New Mexican chili powder
1 1/4 cup water, filtered
1 Tbsp. Bragg’s Amino Acids or 1 Edward and Sons bouillon cube
1 tsp. sea salt

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep spices. Put water in Pyrex measuring cup and add bouillon cube and chili powder then set aside. Chop onion and celery and set aside in different bowls. Press garlic into small bowl and set aside. Measure rice and set aside. (I keep Lundberg’s short grain brown rice in the freezer so when it hits the hot pan it helps it toast.) Open tomato cans and set aside. Measure the olive oil and put in a pan. (I use a 3 quart stainless-steel pan that is 10 inches wide.) Heat pan on low heat. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes until golden brown. Add celery and brown for 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add sea salt and stir. Add rice and stir for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes then stir. Add water with chili powder and bouillon then stir. Bring to a boil. Put lid on and set on simmer. Set timer for 1 hour. Cook about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check every 10 minutes and stir.

Whether a single immigrant mom or a nuclear family Spanish rice is always a great staple for an affordable flavorful meal with beans. Don’t forget the tortillas to help scoop up the rice and beans.

Happy Vegan!

Toasting the brown rice. Pic by M.C.
My family Spanish Rice recipe.
Bring rice to boil, put lid on, the set to simmer. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. Pic by M.C.

Want more Mexican food?
Vegan Mexican Food
Vegan Margarita
Vegan Mexican Pinto Beans

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Copyright 2022 Melissa Crismon

6 thoughts on “Vegan Spanish Rice

  1. Spanish rice is one of my favourite dishes to make. I like that you can make it in one pot and it’s so incredibly flavourful. Lovely recipe.

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