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What to serve with white rice — 50+ ideas! White rice is a staple starch at any meal. It’s versatile, budget-friendly, and easy to make for dinner or batch cook and freeze in advance. Check out this list of meal ideas to make your next meal plan frugal and delicious.

Collage of budget-friendly recipes made with white rice.

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White rice is one of the best budget-friendly staples you can keep in your pantry because it's incredibly affordable. I buy it for less than $1 per pound at Costco (it's one of my top Costco pantry staples), but have also seen it for great deals at many of my favorite Cheap Grocery Stores. And when stored with my long term food storage methods, can last up to 30 years!

I like to cook large batches of white rice using my Instant Pot or Slow Cooker and freeze it in 2 cup portions using my Souper Cubes. Then, when I need a cheap and delicious base or side dish to serve alongside my meal, I'll place the frozen block of rice in the microwave for 5-8 minutes, or until it's perfectly moist and fluffy again.

Silicone Cubes

My favorite way to freeze individual portions and meals. Use code HOMECOOKEDROOTS10 for 10% off.

What to Serve with White Rice

It's the perfect neutral base to serve with just about anything. In this post, I've shared some of my favorite budget-friendly recipes made with the following cheap proteins: lentils, tofu, beans, tempeh, and chickpeas.

Browse this collection by protein type or bookmark this page for later so you can incorporate these recipes in your meal plan every week to save money!

Recipes with Lentils

Lentil curry served with white rice, fresh lemon and cilantro.

1

The Best Lentil Curry

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2

Lentil Mushroom Stroganoff

Savory, creamy lentil mushroom stroganoff recipe is a vegetarian and gluten-free version of the classic Stroganoff packed with nutrition.
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Credit: cookednadloved.com

3

Vegan Lentil Fesenjān (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)

9-ingredient vegan Fesenjān made with lentils! A hearty stew of toasted walnuts, pomegranate molasses, onion, and spices. A comforting, Persian-inspired, plant-based meal!
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Credit: minimalistbaker.com

4

Lebanese Mujadara

Mujadara is a Middle Eastern lentils and rice recipe with crispy caramelized onions. Just 3 ingredients make a easy vegan, protein-rich meal!
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Credit: feelgoodfoodie.net

5

Soyrizo Lentil Rice Bowls

These Soyrizo Lentil Rice Bowls are the best vegan dinner! Plenty of veggies, zesty soyrizo & cooked lentils in broth!
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Credit: thissavoryvegan.com

6

Lentil Balls with Zesty Rice (Vegan Meal Prep)

These Lentil Balls with Zesty Rice are so versatile! They’re easy to make, filled with flavour and so meal preppable! Made from Vegan Yack Attack On The Go!
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Credit: jessicainthekitchen.com

7

Red Lentil Dahl with Coconut Milk by Wholesome Soulfood Kitchen

Creamy red lentil dahl is a simple dish that requires only one pot and a few simple ingredients. This protein-packed lentil dish is fantastic with rice and fresh herbs.
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8

Moroccan Lentil-Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed baked eggplant with Moroccan-spiced lentils! Just 9 ingredients, big flavor, plenty of protein and fiber, and the perfect side dish or entrée.
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Credit: minimalistbaker.com

9

The Best Lentil Salad

This is the BEST Lentil Salad! Loaded with a lot of ingredients that are not only good for your body, but for your tastebuds, too.
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Credit: noracooks.com
Lentil Chili recipe.

10

Lentil Chili

Lentil Chili is an easy, hearty, and delicious 1-pot vegan meal. Made with hearty red lentils, black beans, walnuts, vegetables, and a handful of smoky spices, it’s perfect for layering on tons of toppings and will brighten up any cold or gloomy day!
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Credit: noracooks.com

Recipes with Tofu

11

Tofu Fried Rice

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Tofu Paneer.

12

Tofu Palak Paneer

Cheese is replaced with tofu in this impressive but easy Indian-inspired vegan meal. For this Tofu Palak Paneer, spiced pan-fried tofu cubes are tossed in a creamy spinach curry, and then served over rice. Ready in about 30 minutes!
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Credit: noracooks.com
Closeup of tofu in sweet orange sauce garnished with sesame seeds.

13

Sticky Vegan Orange Chicken by Home-Cooked Roots

This dish is so indulgent feeling yet much healthier than takeout! It's refined sugar free, gluten free and the flavor packed sticky orange sauce is made with only 6 ingredients. Plus, the whole dish comes together in about 30 minutes. The best recipe for weeknights or when you're craving the classic takeout orange chicken.
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14

Crispy Baked Teriyaki Tofu

This crispy teriyaki tofu is better than takeout and easy enough for a weeknight dinner! Serve with rice and steamed veggies for a scrumptious vegan meal.
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Credit: connoisseurusveg.com

15

Copycat Chipotle Sofritas Recipe

This Copycat Chipotle Sofritas recipe is exactly like the original recipe! All you need is a few fresh ingredients and a block of extra-firm tofu, and you'll be able to make Chipotle's sofritas right at home in your own kitchen.
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16

Crispy Lemon Pepper Tofu

This lemon pepper tofu is crispy and saucy, with the best chewy texture! It takes minutes to make and it’s perfect for meal bowls, salads, wraps, and more!
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Credit: jessicainthekitchen.com
Egg roll in a bowl served in a bowl with chopsticks.

17

Vegan Egg Roll in a Bowl by Home-Cooked Roots

Loaded with fresh vegetables and extra firm tofu, this flavorful vegan egg roll in a bowl is a hassle-free take on a popular appetizer. If you serve this over white rice, it's a very hearty and nutritious dinner.
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18

Tofu Mushroom Stir Fry

This Tofu Mushroom Stir Fry tosses crispy fried tofu and meaty mushrooms in a delicious stir fry sauce to give you an easy yet flavor-packed dinner for any night of the week!
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Credit: frommybowl.com
Blue serving bowl of crispy peanut tofu with brown rice, green onions, lime wedge and chopsticks.

19

30 Minute Crispy Peanut Tofu by Home-Cooked Roots

This 30-Minute Crispy Peanut Tofu is made with tofu that's been air fried until golden brown and crispy, then tossed in a quick and easy vegan peanut sauce. Oven-baking and pan frying methods included!
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20

General Tso's Tofu by Home-Cooked Roots

Sticky, saucy, and delicious, this General Tso's tofu is way better than takeout. This easy weeknight-friendly dish goes wonderfully with white rice and any vegetable you like.
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Recipes with Beans

Bowl of Instant Pot red beans served with fluffy white rice, green onion, and freshly cracked black pepper.

21

Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice (Vegetarian) by Home-Cooked Roots

Super flavorful and satisfying, this Instant Pot red beans and rice dish is loaded with vegan sausage and tons of flavor. Serve this plant protein-heavy dish with white rice and your favorite vegetable or a side salad.
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22

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Black beans are simmered with cumin and lime, then served over rice with pan-fried plantains to make this mouthwatering Cuban-inspired meal.
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Credit: connoisseurusveg.com

23

Salsa Verde & White Bean Casserole

This Dump-and-Bake Salsa Verde & White Bean Casserole is a veggie-packed and cozy! You only need 8 simple ingredients for this fuss-free main.
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Credit: frommybowl.com

24

Italian Beans & Rice

Savory, simple and delicious, these Italian Beans & Rice are made with vegan sausage, veggies, white beans and white rice or brown rice.
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Credit: thissavoryvegan.com

25

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

This healthy Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers recipe is packed with rice, beans, veggies, and so much flavor! They are easy to make too!
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Credit: tastesbetterfromscratch.com

26

BBQ Bean Bowl with Corn and Coleslaw

A vegan BBQ bowl with smoky BBQ baked beans, creamy coleslaw, and grilled corn or cornbread! I like to add a serving of fluffy white rice to make the meal more hearty!
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Credit: minimalistbaker.com

27

Easy Three Bean Salad

Three bean salad: a GO-TO side for summer gatherings, or any time you’re craving an easy, fiber-packed dish made with pantry staples! Serve over fluffy white rice to make it a complete meal!
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28

Vegan Black Bean Stew

This easy vegan black bean stew is the perfect fall and winter comfort food dish. Simple, filling, and full of plant based nutrients!
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Credit: makeitdairyfree.com

29

One Pot Vegan Southwest Rice

This easy one pot vegan southwest rice is ready in just 30 minutes! Flavorful with easy cleanup is always a win for a new favorite meal!
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Credit: makeitdairyfree.com

30

New Orleans-Style Vegan Gumbo Recipe

Made with the holy trinity of flavor bases and vegan sausage, this vegan gumbo will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a Louisiana kitchen.
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Credit: liveeatlearn.com

Recipes with Tempeh

31

Vegan Tempeh Burrito Bowls

A flavor packed (and easy to make) vegan burrito bowl with tempeh taco meat and copycat Chipotle cauliflower rice!
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Credit: liveeatlearn.com

32

Tempeh Chili Meal Prep

This vegan Tempeh Chili Meal Prep is ready in 30 minutes and takes care of lunch for the week (plus it’s like…really tasty).
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Credit: liveeatlearn.com

33

Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Ginger Sauce (Vegan)

This Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Ginger Sauce is done in 35 minutes & perfect for a weeknight meal! A great meal prep option, and so delicious!
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Credit: jessicainthekitchen.com

34

BBQ Tempeh Bowls with Garlic Herb Rice

These BBQ Tempeh Bowls with Garlic Herb Rice are loaded with flavor-packed rice, corn, tomatoes, greens, crispy tempeh and vegan dressing.
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Credit: thissavoryvegan.com

35

Tempeh Enchilada Rice Skillet

This Tempeh Enchilada Rice Skillet is the best one-pot vegan dinner recipe! Plenty of veggies, flavor-packed rice and crispy tempeh!
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Credit: thissavoryvegan.com

36

Peanut & Lemongrass Tempeh Satay

Incredibly flavorful Thai- and Indonesian-inspired tempeh satay infused with lemongrass, turmeric, peanut butter, and coconut aminos for a hearty, rich depth of flavor. Enjoy over white rice, on salads, in wraps, or as an appetizer!
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Credit: minimalistbaker.com

37

Tempeh Kecap

You’ll be blown away by the unique flavors in this Indonesian Tempeh Kecap! Fried tempeh and peanuts are coated in a sticky, sweet, umami-rich sauce perfumed with lime leaves and lemongrass. It’s a gourmet stir fry that’s surprisingly easy to make.
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Credit: rainbowplantlife.com

38

Vegan Tempeh Marsala

This Vegan Tempeh Marsala is creamy, satisfying, and filled with mouthwatering flavor! Serve over white rice instead of pasta for a twist on the Italian classic!
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Credit: frommybowl.com

39

Fall Favorite Maple-Mustard Tempeh Bowls

These tempeh bowls are a true fall favorite! Massaged kale, sweet potatoes, roasty marinated maple-mustard tempeh, crunchy apple, and an unexpected pile of briney sauerkraut. Serve over white rice for a full and hearty vegan main!
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Credit: pinchofyum.com

40

Sesame Tempeh Bowls

These Sesame Tempeh Bowls are a great vegan alternative to sesame chicken and only take about 20 minutes to make. An easy fast vegan meal prep!
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Credit: budgetbytes.com

Recipes with Chickpeas

bowl of butter chicken over rice on blue background

41

Vegan Butter Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas by Home-Cooked Roots

This vegan butter chicken is a non-traditional take on a popular Indian dish but it is just as creamy, tangy and it's bursting with flavor. Comes together in just about 30 minutes making this the perfect weeknight recipe!
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42

20-minute miso veggie stir-fry

20-minute miso veggie stir-fry anyone? This recipe is what I describe as healthy asian comfort food. It takes less than 20 minutes to whip together, and only 10 ingredients.
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Credit: twospoons.ca

43

Tomato Braised Chickpeas

These simple Tomato Braised Chickpeas are made in one pot with just a few ingredients. Serve with crusty bread for an easy vegan dinner!
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Credit: thissavoryvegan.com

44

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Tender chickpeas are cooked in a spicy cream sauce, made with coconut milk and rich tomato sauce. You’ll love this vegan tikka masala!
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Credit: jessicainthekitchen.com

45

Lemony Chickpea Soup

This Lemon Chickpea Soup is a light and bright meal for spring, made with chickpeas, dill, lemon juice, spinach, and a creamy chickpea puree. Serve over white rice for a more filling dish.
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Credit: rainbowplantlife.com

46

Marry Me Chickpeas

This one-pan Marry Me Chickpeas recipe combines canned chickpeas with a dreamy sun dried tomato cream sauce. Scoop up every bite with crusty bread or serve over white rice for unforgettable comforting bites!
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Credit: noracooks.com

47

Chickpea Curry Casserole (Dump & Bake)

Make this flavorful Chickpea Curry Casserole tonight with just 15 minutes of prep and simple pantry staple ingredients.
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Credit: frommybowl.com

48

Warming 1-Pot Chickpea Curry (Vindaloo-Inspired)

Easy, 1-pot chickpea curry with tomatoes, red bell pepper, and warming spices. A comforting, plant-based meal perfect for meal prep or weeknights!
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Credit: minimalistbaker.com

49

Instant Pot Coconut Chickpea Curry

Instant Pot Coconut Chickpea Curry is a one-pot creamy vegan curry made with pantry ingredients. Make pot-in-pot brown rice for complete meal.
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Credit: pipingpotcurry.com
Bowl of curry topped with white rice and fresh cilantro.

50

Thai Yellow Curry Recipe

This Yellow Curry recipe is one of my favorite Thai curries! It's loaded with plant-based protein, hearty potatoes, lemongrass, yellow curry paste, and coconut cream to make an ultra rich and hearty dinner. Serve with jasmine rice, fresh herbs, and a final squeeze of lime juice!
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Recipes with Extra Veggies

Cauliflower tossed in Kung Pao sauce served over white rice in white bowl.

51

Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower by Home-Cooked Roots

This vegan takeout inspired dish is tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet! A delicious, simple and gluten free weeknight meal!
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52

Easy Vegetable Rice Pilaf

This Vegetable Rice Pilaf is an easy-to-make, healthy side dish that’s packed with nutrition, flavor, and fresh vegetables.
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Credit: sweetsimplevegan.com
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