8 Healthy Alternatives to Plain White Rice

While plain white rice isn't particularly unhealthy, it doesn't offer many nutritional benefits! Why not shake up your diet with these tasty and healthful alternatives.

1 / 8
Full bowl of cauliflower rice sitting on a wood table
Taste of Home

Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower is rich in Vitamin K, which helps to prevent blood clots and hemorrhaging, according to research from Oregon State University. Making cauliflower rice at home couldn’t be easier. Simply blitz the cauliflower in a food processor for a couple of minutes. You can then put the rice in a microwavable bowl and microwave it on high for three minutes. Just check out our step-by-step instructions for how to make cauliflower rice.

2 / 8
Quinoa Tabbouleh
Taste of Home


Despite its cereal-like texture, quinoa is actually a type of seed. This is one of the best alternatives to white rice as it’s packed with protein, fiber, and iron. To cook, rinse the quinoa ahead of time and then boil in a pan for around 15 minutes or until you see a light, fluffy texture.

Sub it for white rice or try these quinoa recipes.

3 / 8
Vegetable Barley Bake
Taste of Home


Research suggests that choosing high in barley diet can lead to lower cholesterol levels. It can also help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and even cardiovascular problems. Barley takes a little longer to cook than other grains. You will need to boil it for 40-50 minutes and leave to cool afterward. But it’s worth it for healthy recipes like this barley bake.

4 / 8
Seasoned brown rice
Taste of Home

Brown rice

Replacing white rice with brown rice is a straightforward swap and one that could lead to a wealth of health benefits. One study found that this change could lead to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Boil the rice for around 40-50 minutes and then leave to stand for around 10 minutes.

5 / 8
Summer Garden Couscous Salad
Taste of HomeTaste of Home


Not only is couscous one of the most popular alternatives to white rice, but it’s also a great source of plant-based protein. Boil the same volume of hot water as couscous and mix the two together. Cover the mixture and leave for 10-15 minutes. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous and add some butter or oil to give it a tasty twist! You can even make it into a beautiful tasty salad like this one.

6 / 8
Bowl with Amaranth on wooden background


With an unmistakably earthy flavor, amaranth can really make a dish. Choosing this instead of white rice is a great way to get more fiber in your diet. Use equal amounts of water and grain in a pan and bring to the boil. Next, you should reduce the heat to low and cook for around 15-20 minutes. Nice.

7 / 8
Summer Garden Couscous Salad
Taste of HomeTaste of Home


Boasting antioxidants, bulgur is a healthy alternative to white rice and super easy to get your hands on. Use two-times as much water as grain when cooking. Bring the water to boil and then allow it to simmer for a further 15 minutes. This one works well with a range of dishes including a Bulgur Jambalaya.

8 / 8
Buckwheat porridge in black casserole on wooden background closeup
Shutterstock / mama_mia


Fancy a bit of buckwheat? Research suggests that buckwheat can help to lower your blood sugar when eaten as part of a healthy diet. To cook buckwheat, use twice as much water as the volume you’re cooking, and bring to the boil. Cover and cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes. Simple. You can also use buckwheat to make those pancakes a bit healthier.

Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for food, health and lifestyle pieces. Her work has been seen in a number of national publications including Beyond Words Magazine, Reader's Digest and Psychologies. When she’s not typing away, you can find her trying out new recipes or binging Netflix shows— sometimes simultaneously.