Nutrition is always a priority, but these days, fast, easy, and inexpensive also top the list. That’s why I like this dairy-free dirty rice recipe. This simplified riff on a Louisiana classic uses more familiar ingredients that you can find in almost any kitchen. It also has a comforting flavor that can be spiced up or down, based on your family’s preferences.
Dirty Rice that’s Naturally Allergy- and Family-Friendly
This dirty rice recipe was originally shared with us by Denise Hall, back when she wrote for a blog called Fit Fare.
One of my Cajun grandmother’s standard Sunday dinner items was a dish called dirty rice. And hers was the best. The main ingredients in the dish are usually white rice and chicken liver or giblets. The meat gives the dish a dark color.
The version of dirty rice I like to make for my family substitutes a small portion of lean ground beef for the high cholesterol organ meat. I also like to use brown rice instead of regular white rice to boost the fiber content of the dish. The remaining ingredients are all the vegetables and spices. The end result is a dish my grandmother would be proud to serve at Sunday dinner.
Dirty Rice Recipe FAQs
Can I Substitute a Different Meat?
Denise’s recipe is extra “dirty” since it uses beef and beef broth. You can substitute ground pork or chicken and use chicken broth if you prefer. You can even add chicken gizzards if that’s your thing!
Can You Suggest a Vegetarian and Vegan Option?
For the same “dirt” look, I would use chopped mushrooms and mushroom broth in place of the beef and beef broth, respectively. I also think this dish would be excellent with pressed and diced extra-firm tofu.
Where’s the Celery?
Dirty rice usually contains celery, but Denise isn’t a fan of this vegetable. If you like it, add 1/2 cup sliced celery with the meat, onion, and green bell pepper.
What is Red Pepper?
This term is often used interchangeably with cayenne pepper. For a truly mild dish, you can use just a pinch of cayenne pepper, or use just black pepper.
Can I Use White Rice?
Yes, the ratio of broth to rice is the same for using regular (not instant) medium or long grain white rice. The cook time will also be about the same.
Special Diet Notes: Dirty Rice
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free.
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- Salt, to taste
- Red pepper, to taste (1/4 tsp for a mild-medium hot dish)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced onion
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 2½ cups dairy-free beef broth (I use Better than Bouillon soup base)
- 1½ cups instant brown rice (I use Uncle Ben’s)
- Black pepper, to taste (optional)
- Season the beef with salt and red pepper.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the seasoned beef, onion, and bell pepper, and cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender.
- Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
- Stir in the parsley and rice.
- Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
- If desired, season with black pepper.