Wild rice is a grain that is often enjoyed in dishes such as salads, soups, and casseroles. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. The majority of those who enjoy wild rice do it because it is a healthier alternative to white rice. But what if finding wild rice becomes a challenge? In such a case, there are several substitutes that you can use. In this article, we will discuss the different substitutes for wild rice and how to make the best out of them.
Is wild rice rice?
No, wild rice is not actually the typical rice you know. It’s a seed from grass that grows in shallow water in marshes or along the shores of lakes and rivers. The grain is harvested by hand and then hulled and dried.
The appearance of wild rice is dark brown and black and it’s longer and thinner than rice. It has a chewy texture with a nutty flavor. When cooked, it doubles in size and becomes slightly translucent. The expanding nature may be the reason behind the ‘rice’ name
What is in wild rice?
Wild rice is a good source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
It is also gluten-free and has a low glycemic index, making it a good choice for people with celiac disease or diabetes.
6 Substitutes for wild rice
If you’re looking for a substitute for wild rice, you can try one of the options below. Notice that although the flavor and texture won’t be exactly like that of wild rice, they can still make a delicious and satisfying dish.
1. Long grain brown rice
Medium or long-grain brown types of rice are readily available in the market. It cooks quickly and is the best alternative for wild rice.
Brown rice has quite the same chewy texture and nutty flavor as wild rice. It is particularly best in the creamy chicken soup recipe.
To substitute wild rice for brown rice;
- Soak your brown rice for 3 hours.
- After that, drain the water and wash the rice well.
- Add your brown rice to your stew, soup, or gravy.
- Leave the rice to cook with other ingredients for an hour.
- Add some milk or flour for perfect creaminess.
- Cook for 20-30 minutes
Season your recipe with fresh herbs and spices to make a tasty wild rice soup.
2. White rice
This is yet another alternative for wild rice. Long grain rice (white) is easy to find and also cooks quickly. White rice has a characteristic tender and fluffy texture.
It is perfect for dishes like chicken rice, risotto, and paella.
To make a white rice substitute for wild rice:
- Wash your white rice well and drain the water.
- Soak the white rice in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.
- Drain the water and cook your rice until it softens.
Again, add spices (black pepper is a great option here) and fresh herbs as you please.
You can substitute wild rice for quinoa. It has a mild nutty flavor and is rich in fiber and protein. It also has a fluffy texture, just like wild rice.
To swap wild rice with quinoa:
- Rinse your quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer.
- To remove the bitterness, soak the quinoa in water for 10-15 minutes.
- Drain the water and add quinoa to your recipe.
- Let the quinoa cook on medium heat with other ingredients for about 15 minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add spices, ready to be served, alone or along with other savory dishes.
4. Wild Pecan Rice
Also known as popcorn rice, this substitute for wild rice has a nutty flavor. It is chewy and slightly crunchy, just like wild rice.
You can find this ingredient in health food stores.
To use wild pecan rice as a substitute for wild rice follow the package instructions to cook the rice. Just use equal amounts of wild pecan rice for wild rice.
You can also add spices and herbs to enhance the flavor.
5. Brown Basmati rice
This is another good alternative for wild rice. Brown Basmati rice has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, similar to wild rice.
It is also a good source of essential nutrients.
To use brown Basmati rice as a substitute for wild rice:
- Take an equal amount of brown Basmati rice to wild rice.
- Rinse the brown Basmati rice in a fine-mesh strainer.
- Soak the rice in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.
- Drain the water and add rice to your recipe.
- Let it cook on medium heat with other ingredients for an hour.
Enjoy your brown rice in gravy or soupy recipes like chicken broth.
6. Semi-pearled uncooked farro
For a different flavor, you can also use semi-pearled uncooked farro. It has a nutty flavor with a chewy texture.
To substitute farro for wild rice:
- Bring water to a boil and add semi-pearled farro.
- Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until al dente.
- Drain any excess water and add farro to your recipe.
Ensure you add more liquid to the recipe as farro absorbs more liquid than wild rice.
Wild Rice Nutrition Facts
A single serving (100g) of cooked wild rice provides:
|Magnesium||8% of DV|
|Copper||6% of DV|
|Vitamin B6||7% of DV|
|Manganese||14% of DV|
|Zinc||12% of DV|
|Folate||6% of DV|
|Zinc||9% of DV|
Wild rice contains potassium, iron, and selenium in small amounts. It also provides fewer calories than a serving of brown or white rice.
The fiber, magnesium, and potassium present in wild rice can promote heart health. These nutrients work together to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Also present are essential amino acid that acts as body-building nutrients.
Wild rice vs. white rice
White rice is the most common type of rice, and it is also the least expensive. Wild rice is less common, and it is more expensive.
Both white rice and wild rice have their own unique flavor and texture. White rice is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes. It has a light, fluffy texture and a mild flavor. Wild rice has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It is often used as a side dish or in salads.
When it comes to nutrition, both white rice, and wild rice are good sources of complex carbohydrates. However, wild rice is a more nutrient-dense food than white rice. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It also has a lower glycemic index than white rice, which means that it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike as quickly.
Ultimately, the type of rice you choose should be based on your personal preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Wild Rice A Grain?
Yes, wild rice is a type of grain. It is the seed of an aquatic grass that grows in shallow water.
Is wild rice the same as black rice?
No, wild rice is not the same as black rice. On one hand, black rice is a type of rice that has a black outer bran layer. On the other hand, wild rice is the seed of an aquatic grass.
Is wild rice a vegetable?
No, wild rice is not a vegetable. It is a type of grain. However, it is often used as a substitute for vegetables in recipes. For example, it can be used as a rice alternative in stir-fries or as a filling for tacos.
When it comes to nutrition, wild rice is more similar to grains than vegetables. It is a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
While wild rice is a delicious and healthy option for many dishes, it can be difficult to find and – depending on the brand – can be expensive. Fortunately, there are several substitutes for wild rice that can be easily found at most grocery stores. Each of these substitute options has a similar texture to wild rice, making them perfect for dishes where wild rice is the main ingredient.
If you feel adventurous, you can also try a whole-grain wheat product, but remember to cook according to the instructions on the packaging.
So next time you’re looking for a substitute for wild rice, consider one of these delicious and healthy options.