Monday, January 7, 2013

Vegetarian Version of Chicken Rice a Roni

I try to eat homemade, nutrient-dense foods, but that goes out the window when I'm not feeling well, come home exhausted after an 11-hour day, etc.  You know the drill :)  On those nights, I reach for convenience foods because it's cheaper and marginally better for me than ordering take out.

Since becoming vegetarian, I've had to give up some of favorite meal savers, like Rice a Roni because the ingredients include animal products (chicken broth and chicken fat are found in a surprising number of foods that I would assume to be vegetarian).  So I was very excited to find a copycat version of Chicken Rice a Roni, which I tweaked to make it vegetarian friendly.  It doesn't taste exactly the same, but I really enjoyed it. 


The rice mix is easy to assemble:  I started by getting out all the spices.

Rather than add the chicken bouillon powder the recipe calls for, I cooked my rice in vegetable broth (made with Better than Bouillon base) instead of water.  This stuff is delicious and it's much cheaper than buying cans or boxes of broth!
Then I mixed the spice mixture in with the rice and pasta.  The recipe uses vermicelli, but I didn't have any on hand, so I substituted some mini stars and alphabet pasta (which make me much happier when I see them than vermicelli ever could).   And they still taste good ;)
Then cook as usual - brown in butter, add water or broth and bring to a boil, simmer for 15-20 minutes.
And enjoy!
I added frozen corn, broccoli  and bell pepper when it first started to boil to make it a little healthier, but folding in a scrambled egg, or any steamed veggie would also be tasty. Next time I make this mix, I'd like to experiment with whole wheat pasta and wild rice, but I didn't want to try anything too crazy on the first attempt!

Vegetarian Version of Chicken Rice-a-Roni

For the dry mix:
• 2 cups rice

• 1 cup pasta (smaller shapes works best)
• 2 teaspoons onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 cup parsley
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon thyme

When ready to cook:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter 
• 1 cup dry mix
• 2 1/4cups vegetable broth


Instructions

To make dry mix, stir together all ingredients. To prepare, brown 1 cup of dry mix in olive oil or butter. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in steamed vegetables if desired. Enjoy!

  linking up with Frugal Friday

Do you cook at home?  What do you eat on busy nights?

3 comments:

  1. Hello! I've been following your website for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

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  2. You are just too cute with your alphabet pasta! It would make me smile too. I appreciate a homemade version of rice-a-roni. For a while now, I have limited my purchases of pre-made foods/food mixes. This will come in handy. Thank you for linking!

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    Replies
    1. I'm trying to limit my pre-made foods too. It's can be so hard!

      Thanks for hosting! :)

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