18 Perfect Complement to Spanish Rice: Top Side Dishes for Your Next Meal

Spanish Rice is a tasty and beloved dish; it is a delicious dish that can be served as a main course or as a side. It’s savory, slightly spicy and full of flavor. 

While there’s nothing wrong with serving it alone, adding the right-side dishes can take your meal to the next level. But what to serve with spanish rice? 

If you’re looking for the ideal side dish to complement your Spanish Rice, this article is for you! Keep reading to learn more about the best sides to pair with Spanish Rice. 

From vegetables to proteins, these sides are sure to take your meal from good to great. Let’s explore some of the best side dishes for Spanish rice. 

What is Spanish rice? What does Spanish rice taste like?

Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice or arroz rojo, is a type of dish typically made with white rice, tomatoes and onions. 

It can also include garlic, peppers, cumin and other seasonings. The finished dish has a reddish color from the tomato, which gives it the name “arroz rojo” (red rice) in Spanish.

Spanish rice has a warm, savory flavor from the combination of spices used to prepare it. It is usually served as a side dish but can be eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in burritos and tacos. 

Its texture is typically slightly crunchy when cooked correctly, as the grains tend to hold their shape thanks to careful cooking techniques.

There are many variations on the classic Spanish rice recipe, including adding vegetables such as bell peppers and zucchini, using brown rice instead of white, or adding other proteins like chicken or beef. 

It is a versatile dish that can be spiced up with chili peppers or toned down by leaving out certain ingredients. 

18 Best Sides to serve with Spanish Rice

1. Vegetables

There are so many delicious vegetables that will pair perfectly with Spanish Rice. You could go with something classic like sautéed or roasted bell peppers or zucchini. 

Roasted Veggies

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try roasted eggplant slices or grilled asparagus spears. This is a great way to get in some extra nutrition with your meal! 

2. Proteins

Proteins are a must when it comes to creating a balanced meal. A great protein option that pairs well with Spanish Rice is grilled chicken breasts

grilled chicken breasts

Not only are they easy and quick to prepare, but they also provide an ample amount of protein as well as flavor. Another excellent option is fish tacos – they’re light and flavorful and will be sure to be a hit at your next meal! 

3. Simple Salads

Salads are always an excellent choice when serving Spanish Rice. A simple garden salad topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado would be perfect for a light lunch or dinner. 

Or, if you’re looking for something heartier, why not try a Mexican-inspired salad?

Just top some lettuce with black beans, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes and cheese – then dress it up with some lime juice and olive oil – yum! 

4. Cucumber Tomato Salad 

Cucumber Tomato Salad is a light, refreshing salad that pairs perfectly with any spiced dish like Spanish rice. 

Cucumber Tomato Salad 

To make this salad, you’ll need cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion (optional), olive oil, cilantro (or parsley), lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Simply dice up the cucumber and tomato into small cubes and mix together in a bowl. 

For added flavor, add diced red onion if desired. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder and cilantro, then pour over the diced veggies. 

Mix everything together until all ingredients are evenly distributed, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy! 

5. Garlic Roasted Broccoli 

Garlic Roasted Broccoli dish adds texture and flavor to your meal without overpowering the flavors of your entree or side dish. 

Garlic Roasted Broccoli 

To make this dish, you’ll need fresh broccoli florets (or frozen ones will do, too!), minced garlic cloves (you can also use garlic powder if desired), olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Then while the oven is heating up, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until everything is evenly distributed. 

Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 18-20 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned around the edges (stirring halfway through). Remove from oven when finished and enjoy! 

6. Vegan Cheese Quesadilla 

Quesadillas are an easy way to add some cheesy goodness to your plate! 

To make vegan cheese quesadillas, you’ll need tortillas of choice (corn or flour work well here!), vegan cheese shreds/slices (you can find these at most grocery stores now), plus any other desired fillings such as spices or vegetables like bell peppers or onions). 

Heat pan on the stovetop over medium heat, then places one tortilla on the skillet, followed by vegan cheese shreds/slices plus any other desired fillings, then top off with the second tortilla

Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown, then remove from heat when finished cooking and let cool before slicing into wedges for serving. Enjoy! 

6. Beans

Pinto beans are a great side for Spanish rice because they provide a hearty source of protein as well as dietary fiber. Plus, they taste great when mixed with the spices in Spanish rice!

7. Avocado

The creamy texture of avocado pairs perfectly with the bold flavors in Spanish rice. Try adding diced avocado to your plate for a bit of zingy flavor and crunchy texture contrast.

8. Corn Tortillas

Corn Tortillas

Bring out the best in your Spanish Rice by serving it topped with warm corn tortillas! They are light but filling and perfect for scooping up every last bite of this tasty dish.

Discover More: Creative Side Dishes to Serve with Tortillas

9. Salsa

Turn up the heat with some freshly homemade salsa! This colorful condiment adds a nice kick to any Latin American-style meal, especially when served over Spanish rice.

10. Guacamole

Creamy guacamole balances out the spicy kick of Mexican-style dishes like Spanish Rice, making it an essential accompaniment for many diners’ plates!

11. Cilantro

Add freshness to your plate by sprinkling finely chopped cilantro on top of your Spanish Rice just before serving! This fragrant herb will instantly bring out all of the vibrant flavors in this classic Latin American dish.

12. Plantains


Plantains are often served as a side dish for Mexican cuisine, including dishes containing Spanish Rice. They add sweetness to each bite without overpowering any other ingredients in the dish!

13. Refried Beans

Refried beans are cooked twice so that they become very soft and creamy; this makes them ideal for pairing with bold-flavored dishes like Spanish Rice! 

Plus, their protein content makes them an excellent choice for a wholesome meal option too.

14. Grilled Peppers & Onions

For additional color and crunchy texture, add grilled peppers or onions to your plate of Spanish Rice! This simple addition ensures that no diner will go hungry after feasting on this classic Latin American staple food item.

15. Spicy Chicken or Beef Fajita

Incorporate some variety into your traditional Mexican fare by incorporating fajitas into your meal plan! (Recipe)

Both chicken or beef fajitas pair beautifully with many different types of spicy Latin American dishes like Spanish Rice.

16. Empanadas

If you’re looking for something really special (and delicious!) to serve alongside your bowlfuls of tasty Hispanic cuisine – think empanadas! 


Empanadas are deep-fried pastries filled with various meats or cheeses – plus, they look beautiful when presented at a dinner table.

Explore More: A Guide to Serving Empanadas with Creative and Delicious Side Dishes

17. Chimichurri Sauce

A flavorful chimichurri sauce is a perfect way to add extra flavor and depth to any meal featuring Latin American dishes such as Spanish Rice! 

This herby condiment pairs nicely with grilled meat and vegetables alike…

18. Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries give diners something different than traditional French fries while still providing them something savory and satisfyingly crunchy – especially when paired alongside spoonfuls’ worth of spicy Latino eats such as Spanish Rice!

Best chicken (recipe) that goes with Spanish rice

1. Grilled Chicken and Spanish Rice

Grilled Chicken and Spanish Rice is a classic combination of grilled chicken, and Spanish rice is a great way to enjoy the flavors of Spain in your own home. 

The key to a good grilled chicken is to marinate it with olive oil, garlic, cilantro, oregano, and paprika for at least an hour before grilling. 

When it comes time to make the Spanish rice, use long-grain white rice, tomato sauce, garlic and stock for a flavorful side dish that pairs perfectly with your grilled chicken.

2. Paella Chicken

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that combines chicken with seafood and vegetables like peppers, tomatoes and artichokes. 

To prepare this dish at home, first, you’ll need to sauté the chicken in olive oil until it’s lightly browned all over. Then add onions and peppers to the pan with some spices, including smoked paprika and saffron threads. 

After you’ve added the liquid ingredients, such as stock or white wine and tomato sauce, let everything simmer together until it’s nice and thick. 

Serve your paella over a bed of fluffy Spanish rice for a complete meal that satisfies every palate!

3. Baked Chicken Fajitas

If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner recipe that requires minimal effort but still packs tons of flavor, then this one’s for you! 

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Start by marinating strips of chicken in lime juice, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder before baking them in the oven on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 

Once your chicken has cooked through, serve it alongside hot tortillas filled with sautéed bell peppers, onion and mushrooms—all cooked up with more chili powder for an extra kick! 

Top off your fajitas with some diced tomatoes, guacamole or sour cream for an unbeatable combo that goes great with Spanish rice on the side.

4. Mexican-Style Chili Verde Chicken

Mexican-Style Chili Verde Chicken is a smoky take on classic chili verde that can be whipped up in no time using canned green chilies as its base ingredient, so there’s no need to spend hours chopping anything up! 

Simply cook up some shredded chicken along with onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper before adding in the canned chilies as well as either fresh or frozen corn kernels (depending on what you have on hand). 

Let everything simmer until thickened, then serve over hot Spanish rice topped with chewy tortilla strips or crumbled Cotija cheese if you’re feeling fancy!

5. Tarragon-Cilantro Chicken

If you like Asian flavors but don’t have much time, then try out this easy stir fry recipe made with colorful veggies like red bell pepper and snap peas! 

Begin by marinating boneless skinless chicken breast pieces in tarragon leaves combined with fresh cilantro leaves plus some garlic cloves for added depth of flavor before cooking them briefly in a hot skillet along with sliced red onions—just be sure not to overcook them so they stay juicy! 

Serve this tasty stir fry over steaming hot Spanish rice ––delicious!

Best Vegan side dishes To eat with Spanish rice

1. Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries are a delicious side dish that is sure to be a hit with everyone around the table. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. 

They can be cooked in a variety of ways, but baking them in the oven with spices is one of the most flavorful options. Serve with ketchup or your favorite vegan dip for extra flavor.

2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts are nutrient-packed vegetables and are a great accompaniment to Spanish rice. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roast them in the oven with garlic and olive oil for a savory and flavorful side dish that goes well with almost any meal.

3. Grilled Zucchini

The warm flavors of grilled zucchini are a great way to add a touch of brightness to any plate. 

Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise, brush with olive oil and seasonings, then grill it on medium-high heat until lightly charred and tender.

4. Creamy Avocado & Corn Salad

Celebrate the flavors of summer in this delicious salad made with fresh avocado, sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro. 

When served alongside Spanish rice, this light yet filling salad will definitely please everyone’s taste buds!

5. Baked Herbed Artichoke Hearts

Artichokes are rich in fiber and vitamins C and K – plus they make dishes look beautiful! 

Bake artichoke hearts until tender, then top them off with herbs such as oregano, basil or parsley for an added punch of flavor that pairs nicely with Spanish rice.

6. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a classic French dish that combines sautéed vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions for maximum flavor impact. 


Serve ratatouille over Spanish rice for a colorful main course that is sure to delight vegans and meat-eaters alike!

7. Charred Broccoli & Tomatoes

Fire up your grill or broiler to make this easy yet versatile side dish which goes great alongside Spanish rice! 

Blister broccoli florets and cherry tomatoes over high heat until softened yet still slightly crunchy inside – top it off with some vegan parmesan cheese for an extra burst of flavor!

8. Lemony Asparagus & Mushrooms

Asparagus has a naturally sweet flavor making it an ideal choice to pair against the savoriness of Spanish rice dishes like paella or arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). 

Sauté mushrooms together until lightly browned, then toss them together in lemon juice for additional depth of flavor!

9. Curried Coconut Rice & Beans

For a more robust vegan side dish, combine cooked basmati or jasmine rice along with black beans simmered in coconut milk flavored by curry powder and aromatic ingredients such as garlic and ginger – this combo can be served both hot or cold, so you can enjoy leftovers later on down the line too!

10. Broccoli Slaw with Sesame Dressing

If you’re looking for something crunchy, consider making up some broccoli slaw which is made from grated raw broccoli blended together with red cabbage, carrots, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey vinegar, garlic, ginger, cilantro lime juice – serve over Spanish rice for maximum enjoyment!

What to serve with Spanish rice and beans? 

Spanish rice and beans is a classic dish that can be served with a variety of other items. 

To add more flavor and depth to the meal, some suggestions are to serve it with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, or jalapeno peppers. 

For additional protein and crunchy texture, you may also want to include pork carnitas or chorizo sausage.

A side of sautéed vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, and zucchini, is also a great accompaniment to Spanish rice and beans. 

If you’re looking for something sweeter to round out the meal, consider making a batch of Mexican-style cornbread or adding some sliced ripe avocados with a squeeze of lime juice on top.

What are the best flavors to go with Spanish rice?

Spanish rice is a delicious side dish that pairs well with many flavors. Depending on the type of Spanish rice you are preparing, some great flavor combinations include saffron and smoked paprika for an earthy and smoky taste, chorizo for a spicy kick, or black beans for an added layer of protein and texture. 

For an even more complex flavor, try adding roasted red peppers to the dish or topping it with crumbled feta cheese. 

Other delicious additions include diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, and olives. Adding fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, and cilantro can also elevate the dish’s flavors.

How do you jazz up Spanish rice?

One way to jazz up Spanish rice is to add a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. You can also add some spice by adding jalapeño peppers or chili powder. 

To make the flavors pop, try stirring in some garlic or herbs like oregano, basil or cilantro. If you’re looking for more protein, you can add cooked beans such as pinto or black beans.

For even more flavor, try topping your Spanish rice off with chopped fresh tomatoes and avocado slices. Lastly, don’t forget the cheese! 

Shredded pepper jack adds a great kick, while sharp cheddar adds a delicious creaminess. Enjoy!

How do you display Spanish rice on a platter?

To display Spanish rice on a platter, first, make sure to spread the rice evenly. Arrange colorful peppers, tomatoes, onions, or other vegetables around the edges of the dish for a bright presentation. 

For an added touch, sprinkle some grated cheese or chopped cilantro over the top. 

Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice for extra flavor and color. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Wrap Up On what to Serve with Spanish Rice

In conclusion, there are plenty of options when it comes to pairing side dishes with Spanish Rice. Whether you prefer veggies or proteins, there’s something out there for everyone! 

From salads to roasted veggies to cheesy quesadillas — there are so many options available that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters in your household.

So, the next time you make some Spanish Rice for dinner, be sure to have one (or two!) of these delicious sides ready—it will make all the difference in taste as well as presentation! Bon Appétit!


How much Spanish rice per person?

When making Spanish rice for a meal, it is best to plan for about 1/3 cup of cooked Spanish rice per person. 

If you are serving a larger crowd, you may want to increase the portion size accordingly. Keep in mind that ricer generally expands when cooked, so you may need more than anticipated. 

It is also important to consider other side dishes or entrees being served with the Spanish rice as well as how hungry everyone might be before determining the exact quantity needed for each person.

What to make with leftover Spanish rice?

There are many delicious dishes you can make with leftover Spanish rice. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Spanish Rice Burrito Bowls – Layer cooked Spanish rice with black beans, peppers, onions, and your favorite salsa for an easy and flavorful burrito bowl.

2. Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Stuff bell peppers with Spanish rice and any additional ingredients like seasoned ground beef or chicken and melted cheese for a hearty meal that is full of flavor.

3. Taco Salad – Toss together some cooked Spanish rice, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, shredded cheese, avocado slices and crunchy tortilla chips for an amazing taco salad.

Top it off with your favorite salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.

4. Spanish Rice Casserole – Layer cooked Spanish rice with ground beef or turkey, black beans, corn and cheese for an easy one-dish meal that is sure to please everyone at the table.

5. Burritos – Wrap up your favorite ingredients like refried beans, grilled vegetables, shredded chicken and cheese in a warm tortilla along with some cooked Spanish rice for a delicious burrito that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

6. Soup – Simmer together Spanish rice and other favorite ingredients like diced tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and cumin for a tasty soup that can be enjoyed on its own or topped off with garnishes like shredded cheese, chopped jalapenos and sour cream.

7. Fried Rice – Mix together cooked Spanish rice with scrambled eggs, diced ham, peas and carrots for an easy-fried rice dish that can be enjoyed as a side or a main course.

With these delicious recipes, you can easily enjoy your leftover Spanish rice in all kinds of tasty dishes! Enjoy!

what meat to serve with Spanish rice?

A delicious accompaniment to Spanish rice is Mexican-style beef or pork. Ground beef, steak, or pork chops are all great choices for adding protein and flavor to the dish. 

Slow-cooked shredded beef and chicken are also excellent options. If you’re looking for a lighter option, fish such as tilapia, red snapper, or mahi-mahi make wonderful accompaniments to Spanish rice. 

Try pairing your Spanish rice with one of these delicious meats for an easy meal that the whole family will love!

What vegetable goes with Spanish rice? 

A great vegetable to pair with Spanish rice is bell peppers. Bell peppers have a sweet and slightly smoky flavor that pairs well with the seasonings used in Spanish rice, such as cumin and paprika. 

Other vegetables that work well include onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, corn, garbanzo beans and black beans. 

To give your dish an extra boost of flavor (and protein), consider adding cooked ground beef or chorizo. 

For a vegan option, try adding chopped tofu or tempeh. Whatever veggies you choose to add to your Spanish rice dish will ensure it’s both delicious and nutritious! Happy cooking!

what to serve with hamburger Spanish rice? 

When it comes to pairing the perfect side dish with hamburger Spanish rice, there are many delicious options. You can make a classic Mexican-style meal by serving beans and tortillas alongside your hamburger Spanish rice. 

Or try adding a green salad with avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro to contrast the richness of the dish. 

If you’re looking for something lighter, steamed vegetables like broccoli or zucchini are both tasty and healthy accompaniments. 

For a heartier option, roasted potatoes topped with cheese make a great side to this savory main course. 

What goes with Spanish rice for dinner?

There are many delicious dishes that can be served alongside Spanish rice for dinner, such as chicken or beef tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tamales, chalupas, refried beans, guacamole and salsa. 

Other sides, like corn on the cob or a salad, would also be a great addition to your meal. 

To really make it a feast, you could add some appetizers such as chips and dip or jalapeno poppers. 

For dessert, you could opt for something light like flan or tres leches cake to finish off the meal. Enjoy!

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