Taco nights are a wonderful weekday staple in our household, as I suspect they are in many. It’s so simple to whip up, especially when so much already comes pre-packaged and ready.
Our taco nights have become slightly less simple once we reduced our salt intake and therefore actually realized how much salt is contained in those pre-packaged items.
The low sodium beans are easy enough to come by, and a homemade taco seasoning mix can be made in bulk. Skipping out on my salty Spanish or Mexican rice, however, has been a source of frustration.
My sweetie has mostly taken up the duties of making Mexican rice so it’s still a no-fuss process for me. And if I’m being totally honest, the work that goes into homemade, healthier Mexican rice is only slightly more than dumping box contents into boiling water. After all, the rice part takes equally long to cook and is equally easy to ignore.
The worst part of the homemade rice is cutting a carrot and an onion; in other words, not all that much work.
My sweetie has kept the rice flavorful, without the salt, by adding a homemade broth. He has also started cutting out the addition of tomato and tomato paste. Since I was on duty this time, I made it my way.
Here’s what I did:
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, chopped, optional
- 1 c. medium grain rice
- 2 c. homemade vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
- 1 c. frozen peas
- 2 to 3 T. tomato paste
Add the oil to a Dutch oven on medium heat. Saute the onion and carrot for 3 to 5 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the garlic, tomato, if using, and the rice. Saute for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the rice is nearly done and the broth is absorbed. Add the peas and tomato paste, stir to combine, re-cover and cook until the peas are cooked through and rice is ready, about another 3 to 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice and enjoy with tacos … or next week’s recipe.