Arroz Colorido colorful Mexican rice on red plate with fresh thyme

Arroz Colorido – Colorful Mexican Rice: A Meal Prep Solution

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Arroz colorido means “Colorful Rice” in Spanish: you will love the bright flavors in this Mexican rice.

I just made this in an effort to get ahead of meals for my family for the week. I am not someone who normally “meal preps” by chopping up and organizing food to cook for the week but do usually cook a little extra for leftovers for lunch the next day.

I give people a lot of credit when they prep ahead for several days. I think I don’t like to spend a whole weekend afternoon cooking (as it is I am usually making meals for that day – and it’s the weekend so I want to relax!).

Now that we are back to school and have some busy evenings with activities, I decided to create this versatile plant-based dish. Then I can use it for creating meals throughout the week and packed lunches.

Nutrition in Colorful Mexican Rice

This recipe is high in nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. It is rich in complex carbohydrates, a great source of energy. There is only a trace of fat. The phytonutrients from brown rice and vegetables may help to prevent some chronic diseases. Also, rice and vegetables provide plant-based protein.

Something to consider for meal prepping is how long the food will last. Cutting up veggies ahead of time means more exposure to light and air, which can lead to the loss of some vitamins. Then, cooked food doesn’t last all week in the refrigerator as far as food safety. For most foods, if they will be used after 3 days, it’s better to keep them in the freezer.

So, I don’t attempt to cook for the whole week on the weekends. Plus, it can take a while and I like to relax! But it is helpful to cook larger batches of food. This Mexican rice is flexible because you can combine it with a variety of foods (see Other Possible Additions below) for different meals.

Variations for Arroz Colorido

This photo shows the recipe as is. I just marinated and pressed, extra firm tofu in hot sauce, cooked it until crispy, and added it to the rice dish. Oh yeah, plus chili powder (I wrote the recipe without it for those who don’t care for spicy food).

Other Possible Additions:

  • Cooked black or pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or chickpeas
  • Cooked lentils
  • Sauteed tempeh
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Chopped pecans, pistachios, or walnuts
  • Sriracha sauce
  • More veggies, like broccoli and mushrooms!

You can use this colorful Mexican rice as a base for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas along with higher protein foods of your choice. Finally, top it with cooked peppers, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, or jalapenos for extra crunch or spice!

Cooking Tips

First, I recommend rinsing the rice well. I cooked the rice in water, but you could use vegetable broth. Also, I made the rice in a rice cooker: super easy! I wrote the recipe for the stovetop as not everyone has a rice cooker. Rice cookers are usually non-stick, and they don’t need to be watched as closely as cooking on a stove.

You could also make the whole thing in a multi-cooker. I just got one, and I will be back to update this recipe once I try it and can share the settings and times required.

The seasonings include garlic, cumin, scallions, black peppers, and lime juice. These provide lots of flavor, but the recipe isn’t spicy. If you do prefer spicy foods, you could add a little chili powder, cayenne pepper, or sriracha sauce. Do you like chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? They are spicy and smoky: for this size dish I may chop up one or two to add. Thai red curry paste would be great as well.

This Mexican rice freezes very well, too!

This makes 6 generous servings.

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Arroz Colorido colorful Mexican rice on red plate with fresh thyme

Arroz Colorido – Colorful Mexican Rice

Melissa Altman-Traub
This Mexican style rice recipe is an easy and flavorful side dish. Add your favorite protein for simple meal prep.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Total Time 19 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Servings 6
Calories 108 kcal


  • non-stick spray
  • 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 scallions, whites separated from green tops chopped
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 15 ounces petite diced tomatoes, canned
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime


  • Saute the corn in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic and chopped white parts of scallions to the pan. Add pepper and cumin. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice and chopped green parts of the scallions to the pan. Cover. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the rice with this vegetable mixture. Add 1/2 cup of water.


Look for canned tomatoes that have a BPA-free lining.
The nutrition estimate is from VeryWell Fit


Calories: 108kcal
Keyword Meal Prep, Rice, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Food styling: H. Traub

Originally published: 9/9/18. Updated 10/26/20

Have you tried Arroz Colorido – Colorful Mexican Rice? Please leave a rating and let me know in the comments how you liked it.

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1 thought on “Arroz Colorido – Colorful Mexican Rice: A Meal Prep Solution”

  1. I’m always looking for a new rice recipe to try, it’s such a versatile side dish. Love all these ingredients and wouldn’t have thought of adding lime, will give this a try!

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