Cacao Mexicatessen Cilantro Lime Rice

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6
This vegan cilantro lime rice is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Combine the cilantro, spinach, pepper, lime juice, salt, 1 ½ cups water and 2 whole garlic cloves in a blender and purée on high speed until very smooth. It will be watery but viscous. Reserve the sauce.

If you’re using Morton’s kosher salt, use 1 ½ tablespoons. If you’re using fine sea salt or fine iodized salt, use 1 tablespoon.

Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Drop in a grain of rice; it should start sizzling right away. If it does, add the rice and stir until the grains change color a bit, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and minced garlic and stir until the onion becomes translucent and some of the rice toasts to golden brown, about 5 minutes.


Add the reserved sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the mixture starts to simmer and thicken, about 2 minutes. Cover the saucepan with aluminum foil and press the lid over the foil to get a nice seal. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let cook for 25 minutes.

If the rice still isn’t tender at 25 minutes, but the liquid in the pan has dried out, add another 1/2 cup water, cover again and continue cooking, tasting the grains every few minutes to check for doneness. Repeat if needed.

Turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 5 minutes. Uncover and gently fluff the rice with a rubber spatula. (Using a fork will break the grains.) Serve hot.

You can substitute other dark green herbs or aromatics, such as green onion tops, parsley or chives for the spinach.

You can use serrano, jalapeño or other green chile in place of the pasilla.

You can use 1 tablespoon granulated chicken or vegetable bouillon instead of salt.