Mom's Italian Spanish Rice

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Mom's Italian Spanish Rice was and still is one of my favorite meals

This was an inexpensive meal using rice in a wine-flavored tomato sauce.

The additions she would use made a whole other meal every time she served it.

There were times she added cooked ground meats, leftover meats, seafood, and sometimes assorted vegetables were added.

Mom got very creative back in the 1960s when money was tight and we were on a budget with leftovers.

We just love rice recipes and mom and grandma made it several ways broccoli and rice, baked rice balls made and my grandma's homemade rice pudding are all family favorites.

This basic rice recipe is delicious no matter what you end up putting in it and it's so fast taking just around 35 minutes to your tables!

Scroll down to the printable recipe and make sure you read my tips and suggestions.

spanish rice

Making The Rice

There are all kinds of rice, mom used just one kind growing up long grain old-fashioned cooked in a pot right off the Carolina box instructions and it always came out perfect.

Now we have rice steamers, instant pots, instant rice and so many ways to cook it and kinds to choose from.

Make whatever kind of rice you like since the rice is gently folded into the cooked sauce at the end, you just need to follow your package instructions.

I would stick to using long-grain white or brown rice for the best results.

One Pan Meal

I love how fast the kids eat this up they love it!

Perfect to hide vegetables and meats in and what I love about this the most is nothing goes to waste with the use of repurposing leftovers.

No matter what you have this tomato sauce simmered with this delectable sauce will accent whatever you add to it.

If you want to make it sauce and seafood, sauce with meat or plain rice, it's an amazing meal all in one pan!

this is a skillet with Spanish rice that has peppers, white rice, diced tomatoes and garlic in it

Ingredients you Will Need To Make Mom's Italian Spanish Rice

Scroll down to the recipe card for the exact measurements

  • Italian diced or crushed tomatoes
  • long-grain white rice cooked to package instructions 
  • canola or vegetable oil
  • bell pepper
  • fresh garlic minced
  • red wine ( like Merlot) or use vegetable or chicken broth
  • chopped fresh parsley (and more for garnishing the top)
  • dried oregano and dried basil
  • salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
  • Garnish: Grated Parmesan and Romano blended cheese

this is a big pan of sauce simmering with peppers and garlic to make Spanish Rice

Meat and Vegetable Suggestions

  • Cooked ground beef, pork, turkey, venison
  • Leftover cubed boneless meat, chicken, pork chops, steak, lamb
  • Crushed meatballs from leftover spaghetti sauce or sliced cooked Italian sausage
  • Canned Tuna, shrimp or crab meat
  • Minced onions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Cubed zucchini
  • Peas

this is around 3 cups of white rice being poured into a tomato sauce for Spanish Rice made Italian style


  • Use only cooked long grain rice (do not overcook it) and drain it 
  • Only fold in the cooked rice do not continue to cook it in the sauce
  • Simmer the tomatoes with fresh garlic and sauteed peppers for at least 35 minutes that's where all the flavor comes from
  • Add meats at the end and any vegetables just to heat
  • Adding carrots will sweeten the sauce
  • Substitute chicken or vegetable broth for wine
  • If you need any additional sauce to add 1- 4 ounces can of tomato sauce
  • Add melted mozzarella or provolone cheese on top for a cheesy rice dish

this is a deep skillet full of spanish rice that has white rice, sauce, peppers and garlic

Using Leftovers

This Italian Spanish Rice is a whole meal in itself when you add meats.

Repurposing leftovers is the perfect way to stretch your meals on a budget deliciously.

I really am with just peppers, garlic in this rich wine tomato sauce and with a heavy garnish of grated cheese on top.

That's my favorite way to eat this.

Just get creative and use whatever you like for this fabulous easy rice recipe and one of our favorites mom use to make.

this is tomato sauce with peppers and garlic for making sauce and rice

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Mom's Italian Spanish Rice

Yield: 6
Prep time: 5 MCook time: 35 MTotal time: 40 M
This is my mom's version of Spanish Rice but Italian style. An inexpensive meal that will feed a large family on a budget and easy one-pan meal made in 35 minutes.


  • 1- 28 ounce can of Italian diced or crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 cups of any kind of steamed long grain white rice cooked to package instructions (mom always use long grain Carolina rice) and set aside
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 sliced and cleaned bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine ( like Merlot) or use vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (and more for garnishing the top)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and dried basil
  • salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
  • Garnish: Grated Parmesan and Romano blended cheese
  • Optional: any cooked ground meats like hamburger, ground pork, ground venison.
  • Also, you can add any leftovers cooked that are boneless: cubed steak, cubed pork chops, cubed chicken or try using crushed meatballs or sliced Italian cooked sausage.
  • For seafood lovers, use one small can of drained shrimp, tuna or crab meat.
  • Optional vegetables: cubed zucchini, sliced mushrooms, shaved carrots, peas or any other kinds of vegetables you prefer.


How to cook Mom's Italian Spanish Rice

  1. In a large frypan, add olive oil, peppers and garlic saute 1 minute.
  2. Pour in diced or crushed tomatoes, wine and rest of ingredients.
  3. Simmer around 35 minutes or longer if adding any extra vegetables.
  4. Add any of the cooked meat if using and just heat the meat in the sauce at the end around 5 minutes then fold in the cooked white rice.
  5. Note: Do not continue cooking the rice in the sauce or it will get mushy.
  6. Also, the meat is already cooked if using and just needs to be heated up in the sauce.
  7. Mom always used leftover meats or seafood when we had it in the sauce.
  8. To serve: scoop the sauce with combined rice on a plate and garnish with grated cheese on top and fresh parsley.
Italian style Spanish rice, Spanish rice, sauce and rice, rice recipes, one-pan meal. leftover meat and rice recipes,
rice recipes, grain recipes, sauce recipes, 30 minutes meals, one-pan meal
Italian, American
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for later Mom's Italian Spanish Rice

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Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2017. It was edited and re-published in 2020.


  1. What an easy, scrumptious idea for using leftovers! I always cook too much :)

  2. Sounds great! There's always leftover meat here.

  3. I've tried similar recipe but I see here in yours you used wine. Which sounds so good. I will definitely give this a try.

  4. This was absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe!


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