This walnut rice recipe is such a beautiful side dish to have at your holiday table, or an elegant meal. A 5-ingredient festive rice that’s super easy to make, and pairs well with just about anything from turkey to meat roasts.
Need more holiday dish inspiration? Check our full list with appetizers, sides, mains, cocktails and desserts on Brazilian Christmas Foods.
Arroz com Nozes – A Classic Festive Rice
We Brazilians love our rice, and for us, no holiday is truly complete without a rice dish. And as much as I love stuffing, which we don’t have in Brazil, I can’t really survive any holiday without a rice dish. Any rice will do, be it a nicer Brazilian Christmas rice, a colorful carrot rice or even a simple instant pot brown rice, depends on the mood and the holiday.
Walnut rice, or how we call it in Portuguese arroz com nozes, is a Brazilian holiday classic that can be very elaborate or just a simple fluffy rice tossed with walnuts.
I kept this holiday rice recipe on the simple side, because, I don’t know about you but, we usually have enough going on during the holidays. This is that one easy, simple side dish recipe that isn’t stressful to make or has a ton of ingredients to prep. It’s perfect!
This walnut rice recipe is one of our go-to Christmas rice dishes! But, the fact that it pairs really well with just about anything, makes it a perfect side dish for any occasion, from special dinner parties, to Easter or New Years.
Try mixing in raisins, dried cranberries, or even minced fresh parsley. Not only it’s delicious, but adds pops of color, making your rice even more festive! I promise you, this arroz com nozes will be a fantastic addition to your holiday table.
I hope you love this simple festive rice recipe as much as I do!
How to make Walnut Rice
This walnut rice is super easy to make. Just follow these 4 simple steps, and read on through for more tips on how to make rice down below!
Make the rice – Just melt the butter and sautee the onion and garlic. Then, add the rice, season with salt, give everything a little stir, and add in the stock. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and let simmer. No peaking! Leave that lid closed the whole time.
Toast the walnuts – While the rice is simmering, lightly roast the walnuts. Just heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and spread the walnuts evenly in the pan. Let them roast for about 30 seconds, and give’em a little stir. Keep stirring every 30 seconds, for about 3 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the nuts every now and then so they don’t burn with the residual heat from the pan.
Let it steam rest – When the rice is done cooking, quickly open the pan, add in the last bit of butter, and the toasted nuts (and the dried fruit if you’re using any) and cover the pot again for the rice to rest in the steam and finish cooking. Let it sit covered about 10 minutes.
Mix it – after the 10 minutes resting time, open the pan and mix it to combine. Add in some minced parsley if you want, stir and serve your festive rice!
In case you need it, here are more tips for cooking rice
- No need to wash the rice – it’s just not necessary. If you’re using a good quality rice, the grains already go through a “polishing” process that eliminates impurities and all that extra starch that makes the rice overly sticky.
- Rice to liquid ratio of dry (unwashed) rice = 1:1.5 – This means that for each cup of dry unwashed rice, you’ll need 1.5 or 1 1/2 cups of cooking liquid.
- Never boil – The key for perfectly fluffy rice is to avoid aggressive boiling, as this would make the water evaporate faster than the rice absorbs it. Stick to a gentle boil first, then immediately reduce to a simmer, then simmer all the way through the end.
- Never EVER open the pan – the no peaking rule is a serious one when making rice. We want to trap all the heat and steam inside the pan, and if you open it at any point, you can compromise the steaming process.
- Don’t skip on the resting time – The residual heat and the steam in the pan is what will finish cooking your rice. So, it’s really important you add in the butter and the nuts quickly at the end, and re-cover the pan as fast as you can. Every second you spend with that lid open, you’re losing heat and precious steam to get your rice perfectly cooked.
For more notes and troubleshooting tips, review how to make rice here!
More Christmas Rice Ideas:
- Brazilian Christmas Rice
- Arroz Maluco – Brazilian Fried Rice with Ham and Egg
- Wild Rice Salad with Dried Fruits and Almonds
Other Festive Side Dishes You’ll Love:
- Baked Asparagus with Parmesan
- Cachaça Cranberry Sauce
- Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Pretzel and Sausage Stuffing with Beer
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- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 3 tbsp butter divided
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 tsp Brazilian Sofrito or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1.5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock water OK too
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- Salt to taste about 1 tsp per cup of dry rice
- In a medium sauce pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter.
- Add the onion and let it sautee until transparent, then, and garlic and sautee until fragrant and light gold.
- Then, add the rice, season with salt, give everything a little stir, and add in the stock. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and let simmer. No peaking! Leave that lid closed the whole time, and let it cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, lightly roast the walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Toss a few minutes until they are fragrant and begin to toast, set aside.
- When the rice is done cooking, quickly open the pan, add in the last bit of butter, and the toasted walnuts and cover the pot again for the rice to rest in the steam and finish cooking. Let it sit covered about 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes of resting time, open the pan and stir to combine.