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You’re throwing together a healthy dinner of grilled fish and broccoli tonight but you need a good side to go along. I’ll bet you reach for a box of Rice-a-Roni or some other side-dish-in-a-box.

I understand, I used to do that, too. Then I read the nutrition information on those instant side dishes. They are full of sodium! So I decided it was time to make my own. I turned to my trusty Joy of Cooking and found this delicious recipe for Spanish rice, which I make often. I tweaked it a bit to my family’s preferences and I love to serve it alongside Mexican food, grilled fish or chicken or double the recipe and bring to a potluck.


  • 2 slices chopped bacon
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, drained
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a skillet, cook onion, bacon, pepper and garlic over medium heat until onions are translucent, about five minutes. NOTE: If you want to make the recipe vegetarian, omit bacon and use two tablespoons olive oil instead.
  3. Add rice and stir until coated. Add chicken or vegetable stock, tomatoes, paprika and pepper.
  4. Bring everything to a boil. Stir once and transfer to a casserole dish, cover and bake until stock is absorbed into rice, about 25 minutes.
  5. Uncover and let stand about five minutes before serving.