Gluten-Free/ Rice/ Vegetarian & Vegan

Tomato Basil Rice

Perfect to serve with chicken and fish, this tomato basil rice is a quick and easy recipe that will add some color and flavor to your plate.
Tomato rice in a white bowl, garnished with halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

Last Updated on June 24, 2021 by Betty Davies

This Italian inspired rice side dish is full of flavor and a perfect accompaniment to chicken, fish and veggie mains. Simple to make all in one pot, this tomato basil rice is rich, delicious and so bright and vibrant!

Red rice topped with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil in a white bowl.

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Liven up your rice side dish with this yummy recipe that is loaded with flavors of tomato, basil and garlic.

Made with a few simple ingredients, it only takes a couple of extra minutes to make than plain rice, and it adds such a wonderful color and taste to your plate.

Perfect to serve with Italian style dishes, chicken and seafood, it’s an effortless way to liven up a weeknight meal. Plain rice is mixed with tomato paste, garlic and basil for a fresh tasting side that the whole family will love.

Be sure to check out my Rice Stuffed Tomatoes and check out these vegan rice recipes for more inspiration.

Why you will love this recipe!

  • Quick and easy: Just prepare your rice and mix it into the tomato mixture. Simples!
  • Make ahead: Leftovers keep well and this rice dish is easily reheated to enjoy throughout the week.
  • One pot: Everything is all cooked in the same pot, so you don’t have extra to wash up…bonus!
  • Dietary info: This tomato basil rice is gluten-free and vegetarian.
Tomato basil rice in a blue bowl.

Ingredients

  • Rice: Use a long grain white rice for this recipe, Basmati or Jasmine will both work well. You can make this recipe with brown or wild rice too, but the cooking times will vary.
  • Butter: Use salted butter, or use unsalted and add a pinch of salt. The butter adds a richness and silky texture.
  • Tomato paste: For a rich tomatoey flavor.
  • Minced garlic, fresh basil and black pepper

How to make tomato basil rice

Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe!

  • Cook and drain the rice (photo 1).
  • Mix together the ingredients for the tomato sauce (photo 2).
  • Add in the rice and fresh basil to the pot and stir to combine (photo 3).
Three step by step photos to show how to cook and season the rice.

Recipe Variations

This tomato basil rice is pretty delicious as it is, but you can easily make a few changes to suit your tastes.

  • Make it dairy free or vegan. Simply skip the butter or use a plant based one.
  • Mix up the herbs. Tomato and basil are great together, but you can use other fresh herbs like rosemary, parsley or cilantro depending on what you plan to serve it with. If you are making a Mexican main course, cilantro would be a great swap!
  • Add in some vegetables. Saute up some onion, bell pepper or mushrooms to mix in.
  • Make it a fuller meal. Stir in some shredded chicken or shrimp to make this a filling dinner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it keep?

This flavored rice is great for weekly meal prep and leftovers keep well. Let the rice fully cool before placing it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep well for up to 5 days. Make sure to keep it refrigerated so that harmful bacteria doesn’t grow.

Can you freeze it?

You can freeze cooked rice for up to 1 month. For this recipe, it’s best not to stir in the fresh basil if you plan on freezing it, but add it in when you reheat it. Make sure the rice is fully cooled before storing in an airtight container or freezer bags.

How do you reheat rice?

Reheating cooked rice takes a few minutes and is super easy! If frozen, you can either thaw it in the fridge to reheat, or reheat straight from frozen, just add a couple of minutes on to the cooking time to make sure it is fully reheated through.

Stovetop: Place the rice in a pot with a couple of tablespoons of water and place on a medium high heat. Cook the rice til hot all the way through, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick.

Microwave: Place the rice in a microwave safe bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water. Heat on full power for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring halfway through, til piping hot.

Oven: Spread the rice out evenly on a baking sheet and add a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover tightly with foil. Heat at 300F for about 20 minutes til the rice is hot.

Red rice topped with halved tomatoes and fresh basil.

Serving Suggestions

Because of the flavors of tomato, basil and garlic, this rice dish is great with Italian style mains. It works great with chicken and seafood. Try it with:

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Rinse your rice before cooking. This helps to create light and fluffy grains that are less likely to stick together.
  • Take care not to over cook the rice or it can become clumpy. When you drain it, let it sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork to separate the grains.
  • Cook the rice in salted water to add flavor right from the start of cooking.
Freshly cooked tomato and basil rice served in a blue bowl.

This tomato basil rice recipe is such a simple way to add some flavor to your plate. Just a few additional ingredients and you have one yummy bite on your hands!

More Easy Side Dishes

If you’ve tried this recipe, be sure to leave a star rating and a comment below!

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Tomato rice in a white bowl, garnished with halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

Tomato Basil Rice

Perfect to serve with chicken and fish, this tomato basil rice is a quick and easy recipe that will add some color and flavor to your plate.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 233kcal
Author: Betty Davies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain white rice (210g)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • pinch black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil (about 4 leaves) (finely chopped)
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh basil to serve.

Instructions

  • Cook the rice in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pan, put in the butter, black pepper, tomato paste and minced garlic and place on a medium heat. Stir together til the butter has melted.
  • Take off the heat. Add the rice back to the pot, add in the fresh basil, stir to combine and serve.

Notes

  • Rinse your rice before cooking. This helps to create light and fluffy grains that are less likely to stick together.
  • Take care not to over cook the rice or it can become clumpy. When you drain it, let it sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork to separate the grains.
  • Cook the rice in salted water to add flavor right from the start of cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 179mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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