Rice is an incredibly versatile starch and is indeed a “global grain.” However, every country uses it differently. Its bland flavor lends itself to being made into sweet or savory dishes.
Rice combines well with any spice, herb, or meat. It’s useful for preparing main dishes or as a side dish.
Some well-known rice dishes worldwide are risotto from Italy, West African Jollof, Iranian tahdig, or American jambalaya. Of course, Indian curry wouldn’t be curry without rice to accompany it!
China has the highest rice consumption globally – it amounted to almost 143 million metric tons last year!
Wild rice isn’t as well-known or as versatile. You may be surprised to learn that wild rice comes from semi-aquatic native American grass, not true rice.
This grain has quite a different flavor, color, and texture to the common white or brown rice that we all know. Its grains are longer and darker – almost black in color.
Despite not being as widely consumed as standard rice, wild rice has been cultivated and consumed for hundreds of years.
You can cook wild rice in the same way as conventional rice, but it needs a longer time to soften. Remember that once cooked, the grains swell up to three times their usual size when dry, so you need less than you think.
Wild rice is more filling and satisfying than white rice due to its high fiber content, so for this reason, too, you will need less per serving.
Some cooks like to mix it with normal rice and serve the two together. It’s often suggested in stuffing recipes as a substitute for breadcrumbs as it adds a pleasant nutty flavor and chewy texture.
When you find it in the shop, buy a little and store it in a sealed container in a cool, dark place. It will keep well for many months under these conditions.
However, you may have a recipe calling for wild rice but don’t have any in your cupboard. It can be a little more difficult to find in the supermarket, so it’s good to have a few substitutes up your sleeve.
That way, there’ll be no need for you to avoid those recipes that call for it. We’ve put together a bunch of some of the best substitutes for wild rice. Read on!
What Are the Best Substitutes for Wild Rice?
Want to try a quick creamy soup or stuffing recipe that calls for wild rice as an essential item? Don’t worry. Just use the following best wild rice substitutes to ace your dish!
1. Medium or Long-Grained Brown Rice
Because medium or preferably long-grained brown rice cooks reasonably quickly and is readily available, it is hands down the best alternative for wild rice.
It has a similar chewy texture and nutty flavor too. Particularly if you are making creamy chicken soup, prefer medium-grained brown rice to wild rice.
Here is how to substitute wild rice with brown rice:
- Leave your brown rice to soak for around 3 hours.
- Drain it and wash it well.
- Now you can add the raw brown rice directly to the stew, gravy, or soup recipe.
- Cook the brown rice with the other ingredients for an hour or so.
- Now make sure to add an optimal amount of flour or milk for extra creaminess.
- Cook the mixture for another 20 to 30 minutes.
- As you are substituting something with a little less flavor, be sure to add a doubled quantity of herbs and spices content.
2. Wild Pecan Rice (Popcorn Rice)
Wild rice and pecan rice have these things in common: both have a nutty texture and natural starchiness. This resemblance makes wild pecan rice the second-best alternative for wild rice.
You can safely add wild pecan rice to your recipe as a substitute for a similar quantity of wild rice. Follow the recipe instructions for wild rice.
Note that wild pecan rice is a hybrid rice style and isn’t a type of wild rice. Also, this substitute isn’t broadly available, so you would need to stock up!
3. Brown or White Basmati Rice
Here is another easy, widely available substitute for your recipe that calls for wild rice. Out of wild rice? Don’t worry. Grab a pack of long-grained basmati rice.
Soak it in lukewarm water for 30 minutes and then cook for around an hour until you’ve obtained a soft yet still firm texture.
People usually use brown or white basmati rice for soupy recipes or those with a lot of gravy.
If you are looking for diverse flavors in your recipe that require wild rice, you can also use a single cup of uncooked quinoa as a substitute for about half a cup of wild rice.
It would take around 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Quinoa is now also easily obtainable from most supermarkets and health food stores.
Wild rice lends a unique quality to several dishes, but all is not lost if you don’t have any. Try our substitutes for it and proceed with your recipe as normal. Good luck and happy cooking!