It's easy to create a budget-friendly meal when you have a bag of rice on hand. Between the type of rice (white, brown, jasmine, etc.) and how you cook it (in a rice cooker, on the stovetop, or in the oven), you have a lot of options to play around with.
It's also hard to get bored when there are so many budget-friendly ways to top a bowl of rice. A simple protein, a vegetable, and an unusual sauce is all you need for a great meal, but there are even more ways to get creative. Here are 21 recipes starring rice to get excited about.
The three main ingredients in this recipe are cauliflower, onion, and rice. It does require a few pantry ingredients like sesame oil, rice wine, and soy sauce, but it's worth stocking up on these for other stir-fry recipes, as they'll last a long time.
I think the definition of a good budget meal is a recipe that has hearty grains and some protein. This recipe does exactly that with the rice, lentils, and egg. Harissa — or any hot sauce — is a welcome addition.
This is an everyday breakfast staple in China and in many parts of the world. The concept in its basic form takes rice and broth and toppings to create a silky porridge.
Upgrade your can of tuna by pairing it with a little rice, sauce, sesame seeds, and avocado. Avocado certainly isn't cheap, but the rest of the ingredients are very budget-friendly.
Fill your freezer this winter with delicious homemade burritos. This version combines rice, black beans, and vegetables.
This recipe uses wild rice, brown rice, and vegetables as a base. The whole thing is topped with bone-in chicken thighs before being frozen for later consumption.
Fried rice is a great way to use up leftover rice. This recipe elevates that idea with a playful twist on jambalaya.
I'm pretty obsessed with the idea of this frittata. It uses basic kitchen staples like rice and eggs and upgrades them with bacon and kimchi. You can even make your own kimchi if you're up to it.
Need a cheap dessert to feed a crowd? This recipe calls for rice, dairy, and lemon. You can play around with it a bunch, by either using Meyer lemons or regular lemons, and using half-and-half instead of cream. It's totally up to you and what you have around.
This is a great option for a cheap lunch. Top cooked brown rice with whatever greens you have on hand — we use Swiss chard here — and then a homemade romesco sauce.
A meal consisting of chicken, rice, and vegetables isn't anything new, but the addition of this honey-mustard sauce really brings the whole dish to life. When in doubt, make a special sauce for cheap meals.
This recipe combines one protein, one kind of rice, and one vegetable. But don't be fooled! There are a lot of little additions that make this recipe special.
Skip the line at Chipotle and make your own burrito bowls instead. I love that this one includes BBQ chicken. Again, avocado is more of a luxury ingredient, and it's not necessary as a topping.
14. Potato Risotto
This recipe is intended to be made in a pressure cooker. It's a simple, hearty meal that will warm you up in the winter.
I've been making this recipe about once a week for the last few months. After you've fried the tofu, the whole things comes together very quickly if you have a wok.
16. Watermelon Curry
The most expensive ingredient in this recipe is the watermelon (everything else is pantry basics). This might sound a little strange as a recipe, but trust me — it's delicious. It's best hot right off the stove.
The cashews in this dish really make this recipe for me. The texture addition is just so good and a little surprising if you're new to making meals in the wok.
Need a cheap dessert for one? Pull out your bag of rice and a mug! This recipe is pretty basic, so feel free to play around with it until you find what you love.
Basil and beef are a perfect match. If you have yet to experience this relationship, now is the time to do it with the help of this recipe.
The most important ingredient in this recipe might be cheese (duh), but there's a whole lot of cheap ingredients that bolster the cheese to make this possible. Put your cast iron skillet to work!
This hearty curry will keep you warm during the colder months. It's filled with beef, vegetables, and kimchi.