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Spicy Green Rice

Flavor-boost your rice dishes with this super-simple but super-flavorful spicy green rice sauce. Blends up in just minutes and goes great with Mexican and Thai dishes … or when you just need a little extra tasty carby comfort.

Spicy Green Rice on a gray plate

There are recipes that home cooks turn to over and over again, to the point where it’s reflex as much as recipe. This, for me, is one of those.

Rice, along with pasta, is the ultimate carb comfort food, in my book, and when punched up with a sauce made with herbs and peppers, well, not to be too precious about it, but: crave-worthy.

The reason this recipe has become muscle memory in my kitchen is because it’s so quick and easy, and the fresh and herbacious flavors make the simplest meals — say, this and a tossed salad — seem unexpectedly special. Plus, I feel really good about sneaking extra greens into a dish that normally calls for none. #veggiegoals

Steps to blend up spicy green rice

If your fridge or freezer always has a supply of leftover rice (or quinoa or farro), Spicy Green Rice is just a speedy whirl in the blender away. I keep my trusty NutriBullet (affiliate link) nearby, and while my rice reheats (or cooks up afresh), I do a rough chop on the ingredients, toss them into the blender jar, and one short buzz later, my sauce is ready to go. No expensive Vitamix necessary, although it will, of course, do a bang-up job of it.

A bonus to this recipe is that all of the ingredients should be available year round at your regular grocery store, even though out of season locally.

But as a home vegetable gardener, I particularly love that I can pluck all of the green ingredients right out of my yard all summer long, and raid the pantry for the rest.

Stirring the spicy green sauce into the rice

This recipe has received a lot of testing this winter, as I tweaked it to balance herbs and chiles, and I never tired of its plucky flavors and seamless companionship with meals of quesadillas, roasted veggies, and tacos. (Pro tip: add ginger for Asian-inspired meals — oo-la-la.)

And I can’t count the number of times this was the star of a hurried lunch, with a glass of earl green iced tea and a big salad.

Spicy Green Rice served on a gray plate

Why everyone will love Spicy Green Rice

  • Think of it more like a mild chili sauce than an overtly healthy green-monster sauce. The herbs and fresh poblanos create a wonderfully spiced sauce, without the sinus-clearing qualities of sriracha or cayenne.
  • This is a whole foods plant-based compliant dish, but it’s the kind of naturally natural (lol) recipe that appeals to everyone because there’s nothing unfamiliar in it; no strange substitutions or suspect ingredients.
  • This recipe works well with a variety of grains and seeds. White rice? Of course! Brown rice? Yes! Quinoa? Absolutely! Ditto with farro, barley, and even couscous. Whatever your fam’s carb craving, the spicy green sauce will top it nicely.

There is no one in my circle who has sampled Spicy Green Rice and didn’t love it. If you have carnivore-leaning eaters in your care who raise a skeptical eyebrow at things overly green, I do hope you’ll find a way to get them to take a forkful. Because that’s all it will take. Just one. (But maybe wait until after that first bite to tell them it’s also vegan, lol.)

Karen xo

Spicy Green Rice recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Spicy Green Rice

Boost your rice dishes with this super-simple but super-flavorful spicy green rice sauce. Blends up in 5 minutes and goes great with Mexican and Thai dishes ... or when you just need a little extra tasty carby comfort.
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Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: green rice
Servings: 6
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 small poblano pepper roughly chopped (or sub a jalapeno or serrano)
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, thin stems okay
  • 2 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, optional*
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk, lite or full fat
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups cooked rice (warmed, if using leftovers)


  • Add all but the rice to a blender, and blend until smooth. Makes about 1 cup of sauce. Stir into the rice (don't worry; it won't be soupy). Serve immediately, or store in the fridge.


*Ginger adds a fresh zing to the mix, and goes well with Asian cuisine.


Fat: 135g
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Recipe Rating


Saturday 29th of April 2023

Amazing! I used full fat Greek yogurt and top it with a fried egg! Thanks!


Saturday 29th of April 2023

That’s the perfect lunch!


Sunday 22nd of December 2019

This is my new favorite way to fix rice. I serve it with everything!


Thursday 4th of July 2019

Our daughter is allergic to coconut, is there a substitute for the coconut milk?


Thursday 4th of July 2019

I have not tested any of these suggestions, but hopefully they'll spark some ideas. If I had to replace coconut milk for my own purposes, I would probably go with cashew milk (or homemade cashew cream made to the thickness of coconut milk). Next, I would try evaporated milk. I'm certain heavy cream, which is of similar density to coconut milk, would be awesome, but o. m. g. the calorie load there. You could also try a creamy plain yogurt, diluted to pourable consistency. San Salvadoran sour cream (not American sour cream - Mexican is far creamier and not as tangy; I can get it at Kroger), with a little bit of water, would probably make me weep with joy. (Hmm, I might have to try that latter, lol.)


Friday 7th of June 2019

That’s what I thought!!! Thanks for confirming! I am trying this recipe out tonight with a side of nachos!!


Tuesday 4th of June 2019

2 green onions - do you mean 2 bunches of green onion?


Tuesday 4th of June 2019

No, just 2 individual scallions. Two bunches is a lot of onions for this recipe!