Pantry Staples – Rice

Oct 15, 2020 | Food Access, Kitchen, Reading List

By: Monica Schmocker

Rice may be the first food that comes to mind when people think about what to count as a ‘pantry staple,’ and with good reason. Rice is simple yet versatile, affordable and easy to find in stores. 
White or brown, basmati or jasmine, arborio or sticky…there are so many varieties!

If you are like me and have never really thought about where rice comes from and how we have gotten these varieties in stores today, check out the following video for a quick overview!

You can also click the link below for more information:


All of the recipes included below were make using white rice. Feel free to substitute for brown rice or another type of your choice.

Stuffed Squash

(or tomatoes or peppers…)

This recipe makes use of seasonal summer vegetables but it can be adjusted and you can make and enjoy variations of this dish all year round!


  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 lime
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Cut acorn squash in half vertically. Start by slicing into one of the grooves and cutting through end to end.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  3. Drizzle cut side with olive oil and place cut side down on a cookie sheet. Place in a preheated 400 F oven for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Rinse the rice. Place rice and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Chop the bell pepper, kale, onion, and garlic.
  6. Slice the corn off the cob.
  7. In a saucepan, combine oil with garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 2-4 minutes. Add the bell pepper, corn, and kale.
  8. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and add chili flakes & cumin.
  9. Stir in the rice once it is finished cooking. Season with salt & pepper.
  10. Fill the 4 halves of acorn squash with the rice and vegetable mixture.
  11. Top with meat of choice (or black beans) and cheese.
  12. Place under broiler until the cheese is melted.


  • You can save the seeds from the squash and roast them later for an additional snack.
  • As hinted at the top of this recipe, you can use this same rice and vegetable filling to stuff peppers or tomatoes as well.

Here’s a video tutorial put together by our Education and Outreach Director, Kristin Hughes. Check it out!

Latin Rice and Beans

Adapted from recipe and post by Siobhan on 6/20/2019, at:


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • ½-1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp cajun or creole or taco seasoning
  • 1-2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 can (6oz) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup lime juice (optional)
  • 1 fresh lime (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and fry until gold and softened.
  2. Add in garlic, seasoning mix and rice; stir to coat.
  3. Heat rice 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Add peppers, tomato paste, black beans, vegetable stock and lime juice. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until stock is mostly absorbed (about 20-30 minutes).
  6. Turn off heat, place fitted lid on the pan and leave covered for 10-15 minutes.  (The steam trapped in the pan will continue to cook the rice).
  7. Season with salt, pepper and extra cajun seasoning as needed. Top with a little lime juice and serve with lime wedges.
  8. Enjoy!


  • Feel free to add a meat (or meats) of your choice to add more protein to your meal. I added pre-sliced pepperoni for a quick, no-prep needed extra kick of flavor and texture.
  • Vegetable stock can be substituted with another stock such as beef or chicken, or with plain water.

Fried Rice

The base of this meal consists of rice, eggs, vegetables and meat (if you want). Beyond that, use this recipe as a guide and make your own fried rice, be as creative as you want!

I have not included amounts, because the ratio is really up to you! I tend to include about half rice and half vegetables, with 1 or 2 eggs. Some people prefer mostly rice with a little bit of meat and little or no vegetables. Find your favorite 🙂 


  • Rice
  • frozen vegetables (carrots, peas, corn mix)
  • ½-1 onion, chopped
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil (optional)
  • 1-3 eggs


  1. Cook rice according to package directions, adding soy sauce and sesame oil (if using) to the cooking water.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil. Add garlic, onion and veggies. Cook until onions are turning soft and translucent.
  3. Create a well in middle of the pan, add eggs to the pan and lightly scramble, stirring in with the vegetables as the eggs cook.
  4. Add cooked rice to pan with eggs and vegetables, stir to combine.
  5. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until rice is nicely brown in color.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


  • You can use any vegetables, fresh or frozen. I tend to use frozen vegetable blends for convenience.

Do you have a favorite rice dish or any tips on how to cook rice to perfection? Let us know in the comments!


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