One of the world's leading crops, rice is used in dishes all around the world. Even though many might not want to admit it, white rice isn’t exactly the "healthiest” for us. White rice lacks protein, essential vitamins, and fiber, while other rice substitutes are extremely nutrient-dense.

With that said, you don’t need to avoid white rice. It isn't necessarily bad for you, but with so many white rice alternatives that taste almost exactly the same, why wouldn't you choose rice substitutes that are more beneficial for your body?  These rice substitutes are perfect for anyone looking to up their fiber and protein intake. 

#SpoonTip: Not all grains cook as fast as rice does. When using these rice substitutes, you might have to play around with cooking times.


cereal, wheat, porridge, buckwheat, corn, groats, quinoa, millet
Christin Urso

Likely the most well-known grain on this list, quinoa is a great rice substitute if you’re trying to get a little more protein into your diet while still enjoying a starch. It also includes many vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Easy ways to add quinoa to your include adding it to salads, incorporating it into veggie burgers, and serving it alongside your choice of protein. Quinoa has a rather bland flavor, so seasoning is definitely required. 


Barley has very high levels of fiber and protein, helps lower high cholesterol, and can help control blood sugar levels. Barley is a great addition or rice substitute in soups, casseroles, or risottos to make them more flavorful and heartier.


I know what you’re thinking. What good will cauliflower do as a rice substitute? Not only does it emulate the texture of rice, but its lack of flavor also allows you to make it into any dish you can dream of.

Many grocery stores today sell riced cauliflower; however, it’s very easy to put cauliflower into a food processor and make it yourself. Riced cauliflower goes especially well with stir-fries and can be enjoyed on the side or mixed into the dish. 


Similar to quinoa, farro is an ancient grain that's experienced a recent rise in popularity. Farro can be the star or a simple addition to almost any dish. Try using it in this veggie burger recipe, which is packed with nutrients.


Couscous is more of a starch-y rice alternative compared to quinoa. Because it's made from durum wheat and semolina, it's fluffy and smooth in texture. Couscous can be enjoyed with vegetables or simply steamed with water or stock. The advantage of this rice substitute is that it tastes good with the simplest of preparations and doesn't necessarily need to be thrown into soups and other dishes. 

There are countless rice substitutes you can use in your cooking. Almost any grain can be used in place of rice. Certainly don't give up rice, but never close your mind to the endless possibilities that are out there.