Yep, this cilantro lime brown rice tastes just like Chipotle’s! Chipotle’s burrito bowls are my go-to “fast food” meal when we’re in a hurry. Likewise, this homemade brown rice has become a kitchen staple. It’s so versatile.
If you have this cilantro lime brown rice in the fridge, you can throw together a meal in a hurry. Add beans or cooked eggs, top with some salsa or guacamole, and you’ll have a burrito bowl in ten minutes. If you have leftover greens or vegetables, this is the perfect way to use them up.
This cilantro lime brown rice is also a great side dish that will round out your Mexican-themed meals or anything that comes off your grill this summer. It starts with a base of perfectly cooked brown rice, a healthy whole grain. I often stir in a can of well-rinsed black beans for some extra protein.
I originally created this recipe for my cookbook, Love Real Food. If you haven’t tried those burrito bowls yet (page 142), you have been missing out on a delicious and quick weeknight meal. I’m sharing the recipe for the rice here, just in case!
Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Ingredients
I modeled this recipe off Chipotle’s ingredients for their cilantro lime rice. Chipotle says, “We simmer the whole-grain rice with bay leaves to add savory flavors, then season it with lemon and lime juices and toss it with cilantro for a slightly tart, fresh taste.”
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
Long-Grain Brown Rice
Long-grain brown rice is key. I love its slightly nutty flavor and the natural separation of the grains. I typically buy the Lundberg Farms brand (red bag).
We’ll cook the rice with a bay leaf, which infuses the rice with a subtle layer of savory flavor.
Chopped cilantro adds a burst of fresh flavor to this rice recipe. It’s not complete without it.
You can’t make cilantro lime rice without lime! You’ll need the juice from about 1 medium lime for this recipe.
That’s right, there’s lemon juice in your cilantro-lime rice! Lemon brightens up the flavor and rounds out the lime. Chipotle uses a lime-and-lemon citrus juice blend for their recipes, but we’ll use a squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead.
You’ve probably noticed a light sheen on Chipotle’s rice, and it’s because they’ve added oil. Stirring in a little oil adds richness and prevents the rice from clumping together. Chipotle uses canola, sunflower or rice bran oil, but I like to use minimally processed extra-virgin olive oil instead.
Uses for Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
Cilantro lime rice goes great with your Mexican and Tex-Mex meals. Here are some serving ideas.
Make Burritos or Burrito Bowls
Serve this rice with any combination of the following:
- Beans: Refried Beans or cooked beans
- Salsa: Pico de Gallo, Red Salsa or Salsa Verde
- Avocado: Guacamole or Avocado Sauce or fresh avocado slices
- Don’t miss the burrito bowls in my cookbook, Love Real Food (shown below).
Serve as a Side Dish
Cilantro lime rice is the perfect side dish. Here are some entrées that would go well:
- Tacos: Epic Vegetarian Tacos or any of these fun options
- Enchiladas: Veggie Black Bean Enchiladas or Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas or Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole
- More Mexican Classics: Quesadillas, Huevos Rancheros and more
Please let me know how your rice turns out in the comments. I’m always so eager to hear from you.
Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 ½ cups 1x
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Cooked
- Cuisine: Mexican
This cilantro lime brown rice recipe is the perfect side dish for Mexican meals! It tastes just like Chipotle’s, and it’s so easy to make. Recipe yields 4 ½ cups, enough for 4 servings.
- 1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice or brown basmati rice, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)*
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice (from 1 small lemon)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Pour in the rinsed rice and drop in the bay leaf. Give the mixture a brief stir and let it boil for 30 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent overflow.
- Drain the rice, return it to the pot, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes off the heat. Discard the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Add the cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt if necessary (I usually add an extra ¼ teaspoon). Cover until you’re ready to serve.
- Leftover rice will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
Recipe originally published in my cookbook, Love Real Food (page 142).
Change it up: For some extra protein, stir one can of well-rinsed black beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans) into the rice after cooking.