Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Recipes, Side Dishes

Coconut-Cilantro Rice

March 21, 2015
This coconut-cilantro rice is an easy and delicious gluten-free side dish made with coconut milk and topped with fresh cilantro and toasted almonds.

Normally on a weeknight I cannot be bothered to prepare a main course and a recipe-derived side dish. If there is any side at all on offer it will be plain steamed rice that basically cooks itself in the rice steamer or a salad consisting of no more than three vegetables with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top.

Coconut Cilantro Rice

If I do run across a side that I’m dying to try then the main course will be a simple pan-fried steak or broiled fish type situation. Basically what I’m saying is ain’t nobody got time to follow more than one recipe a night. Unless that recipe is so stupidly simple that you really don’t feel like your putting in any effort at all, and with that less than laudable introduction I give you: coconut cilantro rice.

When my friend Nadja told me her dreamy stories of eating coconut rice while growing up in Jamaica, it’s basically all I thought about for weeks, never really attempting to make it, because it seemed like something no one 1000 miles from the nearest coconut tree should attempt. But then, upon further investigation, I realized that I had the ingredients right in my pantry this whole time!

Coconut Cilantro Rice {Dairy Free}

It is basically no more difficult then steaming rice in water. All you do is substitute some of the water for coconut milk and steam away as usual. I added a little salt and stirred some fresh cilantro in at the end to give it some brightness and color. Then because I can’t stop myself from making even the simplest things more complicated, I toasted some sliced almonds and threw those on top; it’s optional.

Coconut Cilantro Rice Recipe

Oh lord, I’ve died and gone to Jamaica. This rice is so fluffy and delicious and most importantly, easy! It’s good with grilled pork chops, roasted chicken thighs, or really just about anything. You could make it tonight.

Serving bowl by Olen Hsu


Coconut Cilantro Rice Recipe {Dairy Free, Gluten Free}
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2½ cups long grain rice (preferably Jasmine rice)
  • 1 (13½-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup toasted, sliced almonds
  1. Pour rice into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water is no longer cloudy.
  2. Transfer rice to a rice steamer or large saucepan. Add coconut milk, water, and salt and stir to combine. If you're using a rice steamer, cook according to the manufacturer's instructions (i.e. cover with the lid and turn it on).
  3. If you're using the saucepan bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, undisturbed, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Fluff with a fork and stir in cilantro. Transfer to a serving dish, top with toasted almonds, and serve.

One More Thing

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  • sue|theviewfromgreatisland March 22, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Amen sister, only one dish per night, I agree! This sounds lovely, I love coconut flavor in rice!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos March 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks Sue! As much as I’d love to eat multiple courses every night, I certainly don’t like to clean up 🙂

  • Feisty Eats March 22, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Looks gorgeous. I love cilantro anything!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos March 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks so much!!

  • Vicki in NC March 24, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve made coconut rice with black rice for dessert, but this recipe far exceeds my interest. I would have this for a meal with another vegetable. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos March 24, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Oh yum, Vicki! Your dessert version sounds divine!! Don’t tell anyone, but I could just eat this coconut rice for dinner–nothing else. 🙂

  • Nicole March 24, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    I’ve made a version of this before (coconut rice is SO GOOD) but I did not include any toasted almonds which sounds like the perfect thing to do. So pretty, too!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos March 24, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you Nicole! I love things that look more complicated than they really are. 🙂

  • Beth T. May 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    We made this for dinner a couple nights ago and it was a huge hit! It was super easy to toss the ingredients in the rice cooker and let it cook away while we prepped the rest of the meal (Panko Crusted Tilapia and Curried Okra and Tomatoes). The rice turned out perfectly.
    I’ve been eating the leftover rice for breakfast, topped with a fried egg and fresh salsa. Yum!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos May 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      So glad you liked it Beth! It is one of our favorites too and with fried egg? Genius!