Mexican Rice with Heirloom Tomato Juice & Roasted Onions

This recipe is really just an excuse to use up something I didn’t want to waste. Roasted tomato juice. After roasting all of those beautiful heirloom tomatoes throughout the course of a day, I find that there is more juice than I care to blend into the final tomato sauce recipe. One year I started freezing it and realized over the course of a winter that a lot of my recipes called for something like tomato or vegetable juice. As it turned out, not only did I save a little change,  I had just about enough of the leftover roasting juice  in my freezer to make it through the fall and winter season. You can do something similar when you open a can of tomatoes to make any of your recipes. Most folks will cook off the liquid and nutrients during the course of preparing something. Instead,  pour it into a freezer container and skip all that extra cooking.

This rice is pretty tasty with all sorts of summer squash. You can grill, saute or steam the squash and place it on top of the rice. It’s also good with tacos, regardless of whether they are soy, meat, poultry or fish based. Today I used it as a base for grilled fish and summer squash at the Raleigh Downtown Farmers’ Market.

Over the years, I have found that an equal amount of chicken broth and tomato juice results in the best flavor and doesn’t cook up terribly sticky. My favorite, basmati, will be more sticky than long-grain white rice.  Grilled or sautéed sweet onions that are pre-cooked and chopped are excellent as an additional element to the dish. I keep the onions and roasted peppers in the freezer in different size containers. Capers are tasty as well, but don’t add the brine. Hot peppers are in full swing at the market now and excellent to add for some spice. This recipe makes enough for four/six. The bonus… you can freeze this after you make it and use it in casseroles or soup.


Mexican Rice with Heirloom Tomato Juice & Roasted Onions


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup home-made tomato juice or juice from canned roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup broth (preferably chicken)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if your tomato juice is salt-free)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted onions, chopped
  • Optional – chopped jalapeno, capers, other herbs like marjoram or thyme


  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium/high heat. Be careful not to scorch it.
  • When it’s piping hot, pour in your rice and stir to coat it. Keep stirring this around until it’s popping. Don’t brown it.
  • Just  as it begins to turn color add in your liquids and any seasonings like salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, capers, red pepper bits, jalapeno, or chopped onions.
  • Bring to a rapid boil and cover.
  • Immediately turn down the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and DON’T peak. You will release  necessary heat and steam. Leave on the stove for 10 more minutes.
  • Uncover and fluff with a fork.


  • Lots of folks bake their rice in the oven. I have done this in the past with great success and if I can find my notes sometime soon, I’ll post them with this recipe.
  • A good heavy pot is necessary to retain even heat when cooking your rice. I have used all sorts of pots in the past and prefer my dutch ovens for this purpose if I’m not using a dedicated rice cooker.
  • Freeze leftovers for use in casseroles or soups.
  • Rice cookers seem like a huge expense. I only recently was given one. It makes excellent rice that is more consistent than mine in a pot when I need to make a large amount for cooking demos and large family gatherings. It doesn’t use oven or stove top space which can be valuable commodities when you’re cooking for a group.  It keeps the rice warm and perfect for hours on end. And, it cooks  brown and wild rice perfectly without effort any on my part. Call me lazy, but I find it to be a useful tool which doesn’t cause me to waste food.
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