It’s game day here in Seattle. The Seahawks will face the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football, and it felt like perfect timing for one of our old stand-bys: Turkey Rice-a-Roni. Granted, it’s not really Rice-a-Roni, not since I had to stop eating wheat, anyway. But that’s how it all began, many years ago, so the name has stuck.
These days, I use Near East Rice Pilaf – Spanish Rice. It’s vegan and gluten-free, which this entire dish can be depending on the ingredients you use. This mix doesn’t call for a can of tomatoes like Rice-A-Roni does, but I still add them anyway. There are lots of diced tomato options out there these days – garlic and onion, basil and garlic, Italian spices – but I love Muir Glen’s fire roasted diced tomatoes with medium green chiles. They add the perfect amount of heat to this dish.
Look at those delicious charred bits!
I think the recipe on the box suggests adding things to the boiling water in steps, but I dumped everything in together, heating the water (2 cups) along with the spice packet and tomatoes until it boiled. Then, in went the rice – covered, reduced heat to low, and simmered until the rice cooked.
While the rice cooked, I browned the turkey in a separate pan. There are a lot of options here. You can use ground beef, pork, or chicken instead. I’ve thought it might also be good with chorizo or other sausage. And, of course, any number of vegetarian or vegan meat replacements would work just as well. The rice and tomato mixture has so much flavor that it’s not necessary to spend extra time seasoning the meat. I simply added a little olive oil to the pan and salted and peppered the meat as it cooked.
For some semblance of healthiness, I often add something green to the mix. Tonight, I chose chopped kale. Spinach and broccoli are also good options. The nice thing about any of these picks is that you can toss them right into the rice mixture when it’s cooked, stir, and let the heat cook the greens.
Once the kale wilted in the rice, I poured it over the turkey in the larger pan and gave it all a good stir to combine.
RF likes it with a little shredded cheddar cheese on top. I agree. Super quick, super easy, perfect for game day dinner. Go Hawks!!