Deliciously packed with flavor, this traditional rice and tomato dish from Portugal is ready for serving in thirty minutes. Easy-peasy preparation, try Arroz de Tomate (Portuguese Tomato Rice) for tomorrow night’s dinner! You will be pleasantly surprised!
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Portuguese Tomato Rice is such a versatile dish.
It can serve as an appetizer, a side dish, or a base for a filling seafood entre.
It does not matter if it’s the height of summer, and it just came out of the kitchen — just pair arroz de tomate with a glass of chilled white wine, and you’re good to go!
IF YOU WANT MORE PORTUGUESE RECIPES, THEN YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Olive oil – if possible, use extra virgin olive oil for this arroz de tomate recipe.
- Garlic – minced or finely chopped.
- Onion – finely chopped; the goal is for the onions to disappear in the dish altogether.
- Tomatoes – get the best, fresh ones that you can find.
- Stock – I used chicken stock in this Portuguese tomato rice recipe.
- Bay leaves – a couple of dried bay leaves.
- Chili flakes – it’s not a spicy dish, so you would only be needing a tiny amount.
- Salt & ground black pepper – use whatever you have on hand.
- Parsley – I strongly suggest using fresh parsley for making Portuguese tomato rice.
- Rice – since I cannot find carolino rice anywhere in Stockholm, I use long-grain rice like basmati because it does not release too much starch in the mixing (and cooking process).
If you like a bit more creaminess, use medium-grain rice like arborio (commonly used for risotto) or bomba rice (generally used for paella).
Start preparing your Portuguese tomato rice by heating the olive oil on a medium-sized or large pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is ready, add finely chopped garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the finely chopped onion (photo 1).
Cook until the onion becomes soft.
Add the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and a dash of chili flakes (photo 2).
Mix to combine.
Turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan with a lid.
Cook until the tomatoes become soft, about three to five minutes (photo 3).
Add rice (photo 4).
Mix to coat the rice with the liquid in the pan.
Add stock and bay leaves (photo 5).
Mix and cover with a lid. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
Add parsley and mix (photo 6).
Cover with a lid and turn down the heat to low.
Simmer until the rice is ready, about twenty minutes.
Taste, adjust seasoning, and mix.
Take the pan off the heat and serve your arroz de tomate.
- Go for the ripest (and juiciest) kind of tomatoes that you can find.
I usually use cherry tomatoes because those tend to be excellent in Stockholm the whole year-round.
- Stick to fresh tomatoes for making Portuguese tomato rice, do not substitute with canned tomatoes or paste.
- If you think there is not enough liquid, do not hesitate to add more stock and adjust the seasoning.
- Do not skip the parsley when preparing arroz de tomate. There is a noticeable difference in flavor if you omit it. So, if you’re a fan, add more.
- Carolino rice. It is the kind of rice that locals use to make arroz de tomate.
If it’s easy for you to purchase them, don’t even hesitate. 🙂
- Stock. You can use beef, vegetable, or fish stock if you want to add seafood to it.
I generally use chicken stock for tomato rice because that is what I always have on hand.
If you cannot find carolino rice, I find that basmati or any long-grain rice is a great alternative, which I used for this recipe.
Note that my response is based on what I have tried on some regions of Portugal; there might be some areas in the country that do it differently.
I have always seen their tomato rice with a bit of soup, not dry. You can see in my images (i.e., pan fresh out of the stove) — there’s quite a lot of liquid in there.
The rest of my images show you what happens after waiting for about 10 to 15 minutes. Naturally, the rice soaks up more liquid, but it does not affect the taste of the dish.
I don’t recommend doing this.
There would be very little sauce (if any) left in your tomato rice if you do.
Are you finally convinced to give arroz de tomate a try? As one of the most popular posts in my blog, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!
So let me know. 🙂
Arroz de Tomate Recipe (Portuguese Tomato Rice)
- 2 & 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 & 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 3 & 3/4 cups stock, (or more if needed)
- 2 pcs dried bay leaves
- salt and pepper, to season
- dash chili flakes
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped (or about a handful)
- Using a medium-sized to a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is ready, add finely chopped garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add finely chopped onion and cook until it has softened.
- Add chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Mix to combine. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until tomatoes are a bit mushy. This typically takes about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add rice. Mix to coat the rice with the liquid in the pan.
- Pour the stock into the rice and add bay leaves. Mix and put the lid back on. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring rice to a boil.
- Add parsley and mix. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice has cooked. Mix the rice a couple of times during this cooking time to make sure that nothing is sticking.
- Adjust the seasoning if needed. Mix and take tomato rice off the heat.
- Serve. Garnish with more parsley, if desired.
- Cook’s Tip #1: Go for the ripest (and juiciest) kind of tomatoes that you can find. I usually use cherry tomatoes because those tend to be excellent in Stockholm the whole year-round.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Stick to fresh tomatoes for preparing Portuguese tomato rice, do not substitute with canned tomatoes or paste.
- Cook’s Tip #3: If you think there is not enough liquid on your tomato rice, do not hesitate to add more stock and adjust the seasoning.
- Cook’s Tip #4: Do not skip the fresh parsley. There is a noticeable difference in flavor if you omit it. So, if you like them, definitely add more to your tomato rice.
Thank you for this recipe. I am Portuguese but grew up with none of the culture. This dish was a delicious side and very easy to make.
You’re welcome Marnie – and thank you too 🙂
in Portugal they actually never use basmati but a local variety, carolino rice. also fennel is not a comom ingredient. nevertheless is a good recipe.
Thanks for your comment Nelson. 🙂
I completely agree about the local rice. Silly me, I thought it would be easy to buy it from Amazon – no such luck there. I tried all other types of rice I have (arborio, carnaroli, bomba, and jasmine; basmati is the only one closest to the texture of carolino rice. Quite expected because the Italian and Spanish ones have more starch.
Planning to visit Alto Douro next — this time I will bring some carolino rice back to Stockholm. 🙂
Thx for the recipe. Can this be made ahead?
You’re welcome Cristina! I do not recommend making this ahead, because the rice will soak up the soup and you’ll end up with dried, almost risotto-like consistency. It’s still delicious, but that is not the right texture.
Thanks for taking the time to post this recipe, but your ingredients picture lists celery but I believe you meant parsley.
I know Johnny. :/ I noticed that weeks after publishing the post – just never got around to updating it. I reckon the recipe card and the instructions are saying parsley anyway…?
I will try to update it during this Christmas break. Apologies again.
Looking for this childhood recipe for quite a while Will definitely try your recipe Sounds delicious
Thank you Donna — enjoy!
I just found your blog! I’m excited to try this dish. Thanks for the Video – it’s very helpful.
You’re welcome Linh — hope you like it! 🙂
I’m going to try this this weekend thank you fir posting
You’re welcome Gerri! I hope you’ll like it. 🙂
Enjoyed both making and eating this dish! My tomatoes have gone insane and I can’t give them all away… so, I was on the hunt and came across this dish! Family LOVED it! It’s in our rotation!
I have photos!
love the recipe, i know the recipe says parsley but in the picture it looks like cilantro. just curious which one i should be using?
Yep, its parsley — flat-leaf parsley, not the curly-leaf ones. Enjoy! 🙂