Is Spanish Rice Healthy: A Look at Spanish Cultural Cuisine

is spanish rice healthy

Rice is a staple for many in different parts of the world. They have benefits and disadvantages in equal measure. While some may regard this food as a crucial component in their diet, others reduce and even avoid rice.

There are different types of rice on the market today.

For example, whole grain rice has become increasingly sought-after because of its health benefits. People produce whole grain rice in various parts of the world.

Meanwhile, Spanish rice is famous whole grain rice that is considered very nutritious. Many consider this a delectable dish as a healthy option for rice eaters. Although it may be hard to switch to Spanish rice, many are patient with the dietary change they make, noting how they benefit from the shift they have made.

However, is it true that Spanish rice is healthy?

This article will look into that, including the history of Spanish rice and its health benefits.

Is Spanish Rice Healthy?

Yes. Spanish rice is healthy. It is a rich dish made from whole grain rice and vegetables such as onions and green paper, making it a good part of a healthy cuisine.

It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and is a good source of healthy calories. Hence, it is a better option for following energy-giving food.

Furthermore, it contains no fat or harmful cholesterol.

History of Rice in Spain

It was first cultivated in China in 2500 BC, going by the oldest records. After that, other regions started acquiring rice, gradually spreading to India, Greece, the Mediterranean, and several areas in North Africa.

The Moors were the first to introduce rice to Spain, who arrived in the 8th century and brought a variety of new foods. Arros is the Spanish word for rice, borrowed from ar-buzz, Arabic.

Besides the new foods, they also introduced technological advances such as irrigation, which helped produce more food and made the production more prosperous.

What is Spanish Rice?

Spanish rice is among the most popular and flavorful dishes in South America and a few areas of North America. Many prefer adding it to the main course as a side dish, while others like serving it as a staple food.

There isn’t any clear evidence that shows the Spanish rice is originally from Spain regardless of its name. Many who love partaking in this flavorful dish also consider it “Mexican rice.”

Spanish rice has a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years ago. One theory states that Spanish sailors packed as many rice sacks as they could while traveling back to Spain because it was simple to grow and could keep sailors satisfied for hours. The journey to Spain from Africa was quite long, so they needed many sacks of rice.

Spanish cooks started to spin the rice once they realized how easy it was to prepare this dish. They did this by adding chopped vegetables, meats, and beans.

Regardless of where it comes from, Spanish rice is a healthy and tasty addition to your menu.

Why Spanish Rice?

Spain is a beautiful country, and if you have an opportunity to visit it, you will discover that almost every meal is complete with a healthy serving of rice. You may think that, indeed, they must get tired of rice after some time. However, that usually isn’t the case.

Spaniards don’t get tired of rice quickly because of its versatility when preparing it. You can serve Spanish with almost every meal.

This dish is cost-effective because it only costs a few cents per ounce. That is what makes it popular and the most accessible food available.

Rice is a grain, so it does not spoil quickly if properly stored too.

What Ingredients are Used to Prepare Spanish Rice?

Rice is at the top of the ingredients list when preparing Spanish rice. Other ingredients come right after to enhance flavor.

  • Preparing this dish starts with sautéed rice with garlic and onions in cooking oil. 
  • Once you have done that, the red signature color is the excellent taste produced by adding broth and tomato seasoning. 
  • You can choose to twist it by adding saffron, cumin, and chili, but this will depend on your taste preferences. 

Spices differentiate between Spanish rice and Mexican rice, even though many think they are the same dish. 

  • If you ask several cooks, they will tell you to season Mexican rice with cumin and Spanish rice with saffron.

What are the Nutritional Benefits of Spanish Rice? 

Rice has a wide variety of nutritional advantages.

  • One of them is that rice provides a variety of vitamins. 

It has Vitamins B and D, which are essential vitamins for supporting metabolism and the immune system in our bodies. Combining Vitamin D with calcium strengthens the bones and prevents osteoporosis and arthritis, bone-related medical conditions.

  • Another nutritional benefit of rice is that it helps firm up a loose stool by normalizing bowel movements. What makes this possible is the insoluble fiber found in rice.
  • The tomato flavoring in Spanish rice is another benefit of this delicious dish.

Tomatoes have several nutrients that are essential to the body, including choline, vitamin C, lycopene, and many other antioxidants that can cleanse and nourish your system.

What Effects Does Spanish Rice Have On Your Body? 

Besides vitamins and other nutrients, Spanish rice also contains carbohydrates. Rice is already processed, and it has simple carbs, especially white rice.

Rice works best for you if you need the energy to take you through the day. Why? The simple carbohydrates in white rice usually give the instant energy you require.

The only downside to this is that the body breaks rice down so fast that you will feel hungry once you eat. That may cause high insulin due to overeating once you feel hungry.

The remedy to this problem is simply choosing to go with brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice stabilizes blood sugar and curbs hunger since it contains complex carbohydrates.

Here’s a tip that will help you curb hunger and promote good health while using white rice. When preparing Spanish rice, use fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. You can also count on fresh hot red peppers to kick-start your metabolism.

How To Prepare Spanish Rice

While there are many ways to prepare Spanish rice, here is a quick and straightforward way to do it:

  • Preparation is about time is about 10 minutes
  • Cooking takes about 20 minutes 
  • The total time required to prepare Spanish rice is approximately 30 minutes


1 ½ cup Jasmine rice cooked

¼ onion chopped

Two tablespoons olive or avocado oil

1 cup grated tomato or tomato sauce

2 ½ cups broth, preferably chicken broth


  • Pour some olive or avocado oil into a pan, sauté onions, and heat for 5 minutes. 
  • Once you’ve done that, add rice and cook until golden brown. 
  • Add tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes with broth and then boil it.
  • Turn the heat to a low setting. Once you’ve done that, simmer for 20 minutes until done.


What you choose to call it doesn’t matter—Spanish rice or Mexican rice. What matters is the nutritional value and benefits of this delicious dish. Spanish rice is healthy, and it makes for a great addition to a balanced diet.

To add complex carbohydrates and fiber, use brown rice instead of white. Season the Spanish rice dish according to your preferences. 

Some people may dismiss Spanish rice as a popular side dish with almost every meal. Even so, if you look a little deeper, you’ll notice that the story of Spanish rice portrays the rich history of Spain.

Want to Work Together?

Choosing to eat Spanish rice or making any change for the sake of your health and wellness is great, as long as you are patient with yourself and dedicated to the choices you make. Are you struggling to make good decisions? Are you a tired, overwhelmed, or stressed woman who’s beginning to experience negative health issues such as digestive problems, chronic inflammation, aging prematurely, and weight gain? After consistently putting in long hours and juggling too many priorities, are you desperate to make a change?

It’s easy to neglect personal wellness in exchange for what feels good and that never-ending to-do list. The thought of adding one more thing to your list – wellness – may even tip the scale. Take the guesswork out of the individual steps needed to find balance and optimal health and let the Green Balanced Gal Wellness Program lead the way. You are unique, your food and lifestyle choices should be too, and thankfully, the Green Balanced Gal approach to wellness is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Get started today with the coaching support you need to feel your very best – mind, body, and soul! 

I want to guide you through taking back the balance and health in your life. I’d love to jump on a call with you to see how we can work together. Schedule a time here>>

About Amy

I'm an Integrative Health Coach for career-oriented, busy women in search of finding balance, wellness, and lifestyle transformation in an overworked, stressful, and boundary-blurring world.

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