Have you ever wondered what makes brown rice different from white rice? Contrary to popular belief, brown rice is not a diverse variety of rice.
Instead, it is simply whole grain rice with the bran and germ layers left intact.
These layers contain most of the rice’s nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
As a result, brown rice is often viewed as a healthier option than white rice.
However, it can also be challenging to cook perfectly.
If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious alternative to brown rice, check out these five substitutes.
What is Brown Rice?
Brown rice is a type of whole grain rice that has been hulled and had its outer bran layer removed.
This process leaves the rice with a chewy texture and nutty flavor.
Brown rice is an excellent source of fiber and essential nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any diet.
Additionally, brown rice is more nutrient-dense than white rice, which has been stripped of its bran and germ.
When appropriately cooked, brown rice is tender and fluffy, slightly chewy texture.
It can be enjoyed as a side dish or used in various recipes, including stir-fries, pilafs, and soups.
For those looking to add more whole grains to their diet, brown rice is a delicious and nutritious option.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Brown Rice
Brown rice is a nutritious and versatile grain that is popularly used in a variety of dishes.
However, if you are looking for alternative options or find yourself without brown rice, there are several substitutes available.
In this guide, we will compare the top 5 substitutes for brown rice, discussing their key characteristics and suggesting proper ratios to help you find suitable alternatives.
|Nutty flavor; high protein content
|Use an equal ratio of quinoa as a substitute for brown rice
|Chewy texture; nutty flavor
|Use an equal ratio of farro as a substitute for brown rice
|Rich in antioxidants; slightly sweet and nutty flavor
|Use an equal ratio of black rice as a substitute for brown rice
|Gluten-free grain; mild flavor
|Use an equal ratio of sorghum as a substitute for brown rice
|Tender texture; earthy flavor
|Use an equal ratio of barley as a substitute for brown rice
Now, let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:
1 – Quinoa
Quinoa is an ancient grain first cultivated in the Andes Mountains of South America.
It was a staple food of the Inca people, and it is still an important part of the diet in many parts of Peru and Bolivia.
Quinoa is a versatile grain that can be used in various dishes, and it is also a good source of protein and fiber.
Quinoa has a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture, and it can be cooked like rice or used in salads and soups.
Quinoa is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and it is now available in most supermarkets.
- Key Characteristics: Quinoa has a nutty flavor and is known for its high protein content. It is a versatile grain that can be used as a substitute for brown rice in various recipes.
- Proper Ratio: Use an equal ratio of quinoa as a substitute for brown rice. Adjust the cooking time based on the package instructions for quinoa.
2 – Farro
Farro is a type of wheat that is popular in Italian cuisine.
It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, making it a versatile ingredient for salads, soups, and side dishes.
Farro is also a good source of fiber and protein, and it contains various vitamins and minerals.
While it is possible to purchase farro that has already been cooked, many people prefer to cook it themselves to control the texture.
To do this, simmer the farro in water or broth until it is tender.
Once cooked, you can use it in any recipe that calls for cooked grains.
So next time you’re looking for something new to try, consider adding some farro to your menu.
- Key Characteristics: Farro has a chewy texture and nutty flavor. It is often used in salads, soups, and grain bowls, and can be a suitable substitute for brown rice.
- Proper Ratio: Use an equal ratio of farro as a substitute for brown rice. Adjust the cooking time based on the package instructions for farro.
3 – Black Rice
Black rice is a type of heirloom rice that has been cultivated for centuries in Asia.
Also known as “forbidden rice,” it was once reserved for Chinese royalty due to its rareness and nutritional value.
Today, black rice is gaining popularity worldwide for its distinct flavor and health benefits.
Black rice is nutty and slightly sweet, with a chewy texture similar to wild rice.
It is also a good source of fiber and antioxidants.
In some Asian cultures, black rice is believed to have detoxifying properties, and it is often used in traditional medicine.
Black rice is now available in many supermarkets and natural food stores with its growing popularity.
- Key Characteristics: Black rice, also known as forbidden rice, is rich in antioxidants and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It adds a visually striking element to dishes and can be used as a substitute for brown rice.
- Proper Ratio: Use an equal ratio of black rice as a substitute for brown rice. Adjust the cooking time based on the package instructions for black rice.
4 – Sorghum
You may not be familiar with sorghum, but this humble grain is quite interesting.
Native to Africa, sorghum is a cereal grain used to make everything from flour to syrup.
It is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, and it is now grown in many parts of the world.
Sorghum is a drought-tolerant crop, and it is often used as livestock feed.
However, it can also be eaten by humans.
The grain can be cooked and eaten like rice or ground into flour for use in baking.
Sorghum syrup is also a popular sweetener, and it can be used in place of honey or molasses.
- Key Characteristics: Sorghum is a gluten-free grain with a mild flavor. It can be cooked to have a similar texture to brown rice and can be used as a substitute in various recipes.
- Proper Ratio: Use an equal ratio of sorghum as a substitute for brown rice. Adjust the cooking time based on the package instructions for sorghum.
5 – Barley
Barley is a versatile grain that has been cultivated for centuries.
It is most commonly used in the brewing of beer and whisky, but it can also be used for making bread and other baked goods.
Barley is a highly nutritious grain, and it is a good source of fiber and protein.
It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Barley is relatively easy to grow, and tolerant of poor soil conditions.
As a result, it is an essential crop in many parts of the world.
Despite its humble origins, barley is a versatile and nutritious grain that has an essential place in the human diet.
- Key Characteristics: Barley has a tender texture and an earthy flavor. It is often used in soups, stews, and pilafs, and can be a suitable substitute for brown rice in these types of dishes.
- Proper Ratio: Use an equal ratio of barley as a substitute for brown rice. Adjust the cooking time based on the package instructions for barley.
Brown rice is a healthy and nutritious whole grain with various uses.
Brown rice is high in fiber and vitamins, and it has a nutty flavor that pairs well with many different foods.
However, brown rice does have some drawbacks.
It can be more challenging to cook than white rice, and it has a shorter shelf life.
Many people choose to substitute brown rice for other grains for these reasons.
Some of the best substitutes for brown rice include quinoa, farro, barley, and black rice.
Each of these grains has its unique flavor and texture, so experiment to find one best suits your taste.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Brown Rice
- Black Rice
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Andrew Gray is a seasoned food writer and blogger with a wealth of experience in the restaurant and catering industries. With a passion for all things delicious, Andrew has honed his culinary expertise through his work as a personal chef and caterer.
His love for food led him to venture into food writing, where he has contributed to various online publications, sharing his knowledge and insights on the culinary world. As the proud owner of AmericasRestaurant.com, Andrew covers a wide range of topics, including recipes, restaurant reviews, product recommendations, and culinary tips.
Through his website, he aims to inspire and educate fellow food enthusiasts, offering a comprehensive resource for all things food-related.