A pretty side transformed into a hearty meal

This is one of those dishes that’s meant to be a side, but whenever I come across a great recipe, I manage to turn it into a main dish, ’cause why should potlucks have all the fun?

I love coconut rice (I just don’t have it often because it’s high in fat) and adding turmeric gives it an exotic yellow colour and makes it feel hearty. At least it does in my mind!

While we’re here, you pronounce turmeric “ter-mer-ick.” Not “too-mer-ick.” Have some respect for all the folks who harvest this ingredient!


1 tbsp coconut oil
1 chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp turmeric
2 chopped green onion stalks
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 diced carrot
2 c brown rice
1 15oz can coconut milk
2 c vegetable broth
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1/4 c chopped cilantro
2 limes, for garnish
Optional: Protein of choice

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-high. Cook the onion & garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, green onions, thyme, and carrot and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir until coated yellow. Add the coconut milk, broth, cayenne pepper, and salt. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer on low until the rice is tender (about 40-50 minutes). If you are making a protein, cook it at this time.

Remove the rice from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in the cilantro, and serve with a squeeze of 1/3 or 1/4 lime. Serves 6-8.


  • For rice, you can use short grain or basmati rice. Short grain requires 35-40 minutes of cooking time, and basmati or other long grain rice will require 40-50 minutes.
  • I tried this recipe with turmeric paste which worked fine (and doesn’t affect the taste) but powder works just as well.
  • I used premium coconut milk.
  • I don’t taste the spice at all with that amount of cayenne pepper, so you can add more or even remove it to suit your spice level.
  • I used 1 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Here, I added vegan sausages and some extra butternut squash I roasted. If you want to go more Asian, use tofu or another protein of choice.
  • I also added some black sesame seeds (vs. white) for extra zinc, and to look more pro.


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