This is a simple recipe for brown rice seasoned with saffron and smoked paprika, then sprinkled with lots of fresh parsley. It’s a quick and fuss-free version of paella.

Simple Saffron Brown Rice in a serving bowl with a fork

Why We Love This Recipe For Simple Saffron Brown Rice

This brown saffron rice was inspired by a Paella my family used to make. We used to make it in a big primary colored paella pan with a bottle of saffron and rice. We’d sauté the onions and garlic, add the spices, Saffron, rice and broth.

I wanted to develop a recipe that was similar to this paella, except I wanted to make a quicker side-dish version. Hence this saffron brown rice. It has onion, saffron, minced garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, lots of vegetable broth and fresh curly parsley.

The brown rice gives the dish a bit more chew, and works really well with the saffron. It’s perfect for weeknight OR weekend dinners, and goes really well with grilled or oven baked chicken, pork, seared shrimp and beef.

It’s both vegan and gluten-free, which makes it the perfect side dish to serve when having guests over. It’s very allergen friendly!

Simple Saffron Brown Rice in a serving bowl with a fork

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

Saffron

Saffron is a very specific spice that gives of a yellow tint, withs a sweet and mildly floral flavor. You can find saffron in most grocery stores in the spice isle, however the better the quality the more expensive it will be (like most things). If you can’t find saffron or don’t like it, you can substitute with a little ground turmeric instead.

Brown rice

I used brown rice as a healthier option to white rice, although either will do. Brown rice gives it a little more bite and its nuttiness adds to the flavor of the overall dish.

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet or red onion
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable broth, such as imagine no-chicken
  • ¾ cup chopped parsley

Step-By-Step Instructions to Make This Saffron Rice

Step 1: Cook garlic & onion

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant and just starting to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring often until the onion is starting to brown and soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 2: Cook rice

Add the saffron, thyme, smoked paprika and salt and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the broth and increase the heat to high. Stir thoroughly to make sure the saffron threads are evenly distributed, and bring the broth to a simmer. Add the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low or low to maintain a simmer, and cook until the broth has been absorbed and the rice is very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Remover from the heat and stir in parsley.

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to store leftover saffron rice:

Any leftover rice you end up with can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for the next day.

How do I know if saffron is good or not?

Saffron should taste fresh, florally and sweet. Avoid any saffron that has a plastic or metallic taste. Learn more here in this guide to purchasing saffron.

What if the rice isn’t cooked through?

If the rice is still too tender at the end of the cooking time, add a little extra water, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue cooking, another 5 to 10 minutes.

Additional Rice Recipes to Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Simple Saffron Brown Rice #vegan

Simple Saffron Brown Rice


  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups, 4 entree servings or 6 side dish 1x

Description

Simple recipe for brown rice cooked with smoked paprika and saffron. Vegan and gluten-free.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet or red onion
  • 1 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads, ½ g
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup brown rice
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable broth, such as imagine no-chicken
  • ¾ cup chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant and just starting to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion, stir to coat. Cook, stirring often until the onion is starting to brown and soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add saffron, thyme, smoked paprika and salt and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in broth and increase heat to high. Stir thoroughly to make sure saffron threads are evenly distributed, and bring to a simmer. Add rice, and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low or low to maintain a simmer, and cook until the broth has been absorbed and the rice is very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Remover from the heat and stir in parsley.

Notes

Cooking Tip:

If the rice is not quite tender at the end of the cooking time, add a little extra water, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue cooking, another 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup each for an entree serving. 2/3 cup for
  • Calories: 164
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 963 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 3 g

Keywords: saffron rice,spanish rice