Skip to content

Easy Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Jul 18, 2021

Fluffy brown rice gets an upgrade with a healthy dose of lime, cilantro, and fresh garlic


If you’re wanting to ‘jazz up’ your plain white rice a bit, this is your recipe. Quick and easy, this healthy side dish goes from ordinary to extraordinary with just a few simple changes. This will become your go-to side dish whenever you serve tacos, burritos, or any of your family favorite Mexican cuisine.

This Cilantro Lime Brown Rice recipe is very similar to many chain Mexican restaurants you likely have tasted and loved when you did. You’ll appreciate it’s healthy, fresh ingredients offering a plethora of nutritional benefits – let’s break it down and take a closer look:

Brown Rice

A common household staple in more than 100 countries, brown rice, when compared to white rice, is considered a whole grain and is less processed.  Brown rice still retains the bran and germ, the two outer layers which contain most of the vitamins and minerals in a grain.  White rice, a more processed food, has had both the bran and germ removed, therefore making brown rice the healthier choice. Brown rice is a rich source of important B vitamins and a good source of fiber and magnesium, both promoting heart health.


This fragrant herb is commonly used in Central American, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisine. In the United States, cilantro refers to the leaves while the seeds are referred to as coriander. Cilantro is high in antioxidants such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all good for preventing macular degeneration.  It pairs particularly well with Mexican dishes and can also be added to vegetable dips or used as a garnish for soups and salads.


This citrus fruit provides approximately 32 percent of a day’s worth of vitamin C and is a good source of magnesium and potassium, helping lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. Limes also promote healthy skin and may reduce the risk of asthma.  Both lime juice and lime zest are perfect for flavoring drinks and dishes.


This favorite flavoring component cooks love to use, was also a favorite of Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” who prescribed this edible bulb (it is not a herb) for nearly everything from poor digestion, fatigue, and parasites. Garlic has been blessed with very powerful active agents called organosulfur compounds or allyl sulfide compounds. Chopping or crushing garlic releases an enzyme that causes the formation of allicin, a pungent oily liquid with antibacterial properties that may reduce heart disease, inflammation, and boosts the immune system.

Now that you know the impressive nutritional profile of this recipe, it’s time to get cooking!

Easy Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 1/2 cup servings
Calories 122 kcal


  • 2 Cups brown rice - use either quick cooking (microwaves in 90 seconds) or use traditional rice that requires water and a longer cooking time.
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Lime (zested and juiced)
  • 1 Teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook rice according to package directions.
  • Once rice has cooked, cool for 10 minutes before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
  • While rice is cooling, chop cilantro, zest and juice 1 lime, and mince the fresh garlic.
  • Place rice in a medium-sized bowl and then add olive oil, cilantro, zest and juice of the lime, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fluff ingredients with a fork.


Nutrition per serving: Calories - 122 calories; Total Fat - 4 grams; Protein - 2 grams; Carbohydrates - 19 grams; Fiber - 2 grams; Sodium - 50 milligrams


Posted in

Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

Meal-planning tips for a healthier brain

Subscribe to the Eat Well to Be Well newsletter to get 17 pages from The Nourished Brain absolutely free.  

Plan your way to a healthier brain

Subscribe to the Eat Well to get this FREE meal-planning guide, along with weekly tips toward a healthier brain.