Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice – $5 Dinner Challenge

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on May 17, 2010

So I looked out the kitchen window and noticed that the cilantro had almost reached the height of the child rabbit fence around my square foot gardening planters. I knew cilantro grew quickly, but didn’t think it would really grow THAT quickly.

Quick…how can I start using this up. And pronto!!!

How about mixed into brown rice with some lime juice for a little extra flavor?!?

(I’m leaving you with just this for tonight…a complete meal with this lip smackingly delicious rice…coming soon to a frugal food website near you.)

1 cup uncooked brown rice ($.40)
2 Tbsp lime juice ($.10)
1 Tbsp olive oil ($.10)
1 teaspoon garlic powder ($.05)
Cilantro, use your discretion (free from the garden)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add the brown rice, lime juice, olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Return to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until rice is tender.

2. Chop cilantro.

3. Once the rice has cooked, add the garlic powder, chopped cilantro and more salt and pepper to taste. Fluff with a fork before serving.
4. Serve Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice with favorite Mexican dish.

Cost $.65

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy May 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Yes, cilantro grows very quickly. We use ours when we make salsa from our garden veggies, so I don’t even plant the cilantro seeds until we have green tomatoes on our tomato plants. I don’t want the cilantro to be “done” before there are tomatoes to use it with.


Sarah (Frontier Kitchen) May 17, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Using it to make pico de gallo would be great and have that salsa taste without being too spicy for your little guys. I love fresh cilantro!


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom May 17, 2010 at 7:42 pm

@Sarah (Frontier Kitchen),

Love that idea! I might have to replant later when the tomatoes are ready! Love pico de gallo!


Jan May 17, 2010 at 7:40 pm

we can’t even start outside plants until the end of May here! (too cold)


Leslie B May 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Throw it together with some cooked jalapenos, onions and tomatillos for a super yummy Salsa Verde!


katie May 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Mix it in with your salad greens to zest it up a bit!


Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black May 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Okay, a little random but still related: Did you know that cilantro is great for flushing out metal toxins from the body? Apparently they will bind to the cilantro, then subsequently get flushed (literally) out of your system. Just a bit of trivia for you today. :)

How about using some in smoothies?


Cassie May 17, 2010 at 8:48 pm

@Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black,
Smooties? Do you just mix it in a normal smoothie, or is there a strange but awesome recipe to share? Lol!


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom May 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm

@Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black,

I did not know that! Hmmm….

And smoothies…interesting idea…I might just have to try it!


Michele @ Frugal Granola May 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom, Erin, If you’re still breastfeeding, you wouldn’t want to do a toxin flush right now. :)

Your recipe looks yummy! I love cilantro. Add some black beans, & it’s a meal!


Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black May 18, 2010 at 11:30 am

@Michele @ Frugal Granola, Michele- Good point to consider. And Cassie- No, no recipe! Just a thought. (Do people actually use recipes for smoothies? I thought you were just supposed to throw a bunch of stuff in there. ;) )


Michelle May 17, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Sounds yummy like Chipotle’s rice! You can also use cilantro in guacamole with your avocados. MMMMMM…..


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom May 17, 2010 at 9:24 pm


Rest assured I’ll be adding some to my guac!


Queen of the House May 18, 2010 at 8:01 am

Looks yummy! Maybe I will have to add a little cilantro to my gardening plans. (Still a little too early to plant outside for me…we might still have some cold nights…)


Jessica P May 18, 2010 at 8:39 am

I have a “cowboy caviar” recipe on my blog that is a great way to use cilantro. It’s like a fresh corn and black bean salsa.

I’ve also made cilantro and lime rice (it’s just like Chipotle’s which I’m addicted to).

You can also use it in a marinade, I like to do tequila lime fajitas. A little Tequila, salt, pepper, lime juice and zest, garlic and cilantro. Marinate then grill!! Super moist and delicious.


angie May 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

this would be great


Clara May 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Been making this for years and it goes great as a side to either grilled chicken or fish. Outside of basal, cilantro is our number one herb to grow and use through the spring/summer until the first frost.


Genesis Winter May 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Cilantro Chutney
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne
Put it all in a blender, and puree until smooth. This is great over rice, or anything. Keeps in a jar in your refrigerator for about a week.


FoodontheTable May 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

It does look like Chipotle’s rice. Looks delicious!


Kristin May 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Chicken Taco’s with Cilantro Herb Paste
(recipe courtesy of

Herb Paste
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
3 medium garlic cloves , roughly chopped
3 medium scallions , roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 medium jalapeño chile , stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into thin cutlets
1 tablespoon coarse salt or 1.5 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine cilantro, garlic, scallions, chile, and cumin in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, and with machine running, add 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Process until smooth.

Remove 2 tablespoons of herb paste to a bowl, whisk in lime juice, and set aside.

Rub salt over both sides of the chicken, and spread with remaining herb paste. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Scrape herb paste off chicken and sprinkle with sugar and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Let cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice into strips. Season with salt if desired. Serve in warmed flour tortillas and top with cheese, chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, sour cream, sauteed onions, and reserved herb paste.


Patricia May 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

You can also do a Mexican version of pesto with it. Same basic ingredients but sub cilantro for the basil. Great on grilled chicken.


Dani May 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I add a little honey to mine. It gives a great sweetness, but not too much.


Cena Dunfee September 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I usually make the rice just with salt & water. Then take the cilantro, olive oil, and lime juice (& a little zest…) and blend in the blender with some garlic. When the rice is done pour over rice as you fluff it with a fork. Mmmmm.


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