I live in Brazil and around here is very common to make broccoli rice (rice, broccoli and sometimes garlic). I have eat it many times in restaurants, they are either white or green like the pictures below.

When I do at home I only manage to make it white, how can I make it greenish like the second picture?

Around here the white one is more common but from my experience the green one has more flavour.

  • Are you sure it's actually the broccoli making it green? Seems that, if it has more flavor, the green could be other flavorings rather than just broccoli.
    – Catija
    May 26, 2016 at 16:33
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    Going by pictures, the first one looks more appetizing to me, but forget about that. My first instinct to achieve the result of the 2nd picture would be to first boil the broccoli, then boil the rice in the water of the broccoli. The second picture looks like there's not one surviving broccoli floret, so perhaps they cook the broccoli to a mush, scoop out the broccoli leftovers, then boil the rice in the broccoli water, and mix in the remaining broccoli afterwards. May 26, 2016 at 16:50
  • I agree with Willem -- the second one looks like the broccoli was likely either cooked to mush, or cooked & puréed. In some ways, it reminds me of red rice (rice cooked in tomato juice). I also remember seeing a cooking show once (I think it was Roger Mooking on Everyday Exotic) where he took a knife and 'shaved' the broccoli (just taking off the buds from the florettes); you could then cook down the stems and add the buds later.
    – Joe
    May 26, 2016 at 17:38
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    I've seen a couple of recipes that make what they call a "broccoli pesto" with puréed broccoli and garlic. Perhaps that makes sense?
    – Catija
    May 26, 2016 at 17:51
  • Have you searched for recipes? If so have you found any that don't just involve mixing small pieces of broccoli into the rice, like the first picture? I tried searching for "arroz de brócolis" on google.com.br and saw some promising-looking things, both in web search and image search. If you look through a couple of those you might even be able to answer your own question! (I took a stab at it but I imagine someone who speaks Portuguese would do better.)
    – Cascabel
    May 26, 2016 at 18:36

3 Answers 3


Mashing/pureeing the broccoli is probably the best bet here, as folks guessed in comments. That second picture looks like it has really tiny pieces of broccoli, small enough that you end up with it coating the rice.

This seems to be confirmed by recipes online that look relatively similar. For example this recipe says:

Coloque os talos e as folhas até eles ficarem al dente. Retire e coloque em água bem gelada (para interromper o processo de cozimento). Pique os brócolis bem fino e bata com a faca até ficar quase com um mingau.

Coloque a manteiga numa frigideira e frite bem os brócolis picados sem deixar secar. Acrescento o arroz. Mexa bem e sirva imediatamente.

Or with Google Translate:

Place the stems and leaves until they are al dente . Remove and place in ice-cold water (to stop the cooking process). Chop the broccoli finely and mix with the knife until almost a mush.

Place the butter in a frying pan and fry the broccoli and chopped without leaving dry. Add the rice. Stir well and serve immediately.

and their picture looks similar to yours, though a bit more yellow:

broccoli rice

As for whether that'll give you more flavor... probably kind of? It'll certainly spread out the broccoli, so that you taste it in every bite of rice, but there won't be any just-broccoli bites.

  • 1
    I'd also wonder if some basil is snuck in there, on the pesto and "more flavorful" front.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 27, 2016 at 0:59
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    @Ecnerwal Might be good, but I don't think it's part of the normal recipe in Brazil. I went through at least 15 recipes and saw none with basil, and only one with parsley. (Coincidentally I was in Brazil recently and had this a couple times, never noticed basil.)
    – Cascabel
    May 27, 2016 at 1:09
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    If nothing else, by coating the rice in broccoli purée, you'll get more of it in contact with your tongue (both by covering up the rice, and by increasing the surface area of the broccoli).
    – Joe
    May 27, 2016 at 14:30
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    I was a little worry about cooking the broccoli then the rice on its water, I always try to not overcook broccoli because I learned that mush broccoli is awful. The tricky seems to be to put it on cold water just after they cook, as the recipe you mentioned stated. I also saw a recipe online saying to add baking soda to the cooking broccoli to enhance its green color (but I don't know how would affect the rice).
    – talles
    May 30, 2016 at 16:36

From my experience, I used to cook green rice, however I don't use broccoli in this coloring method. I use spinach instead.

I boil the spinach, then blend them all with their water until being very smooth. then I cook the rice using this water.

I guess u can try this method, then add the broccoli as whole pieces in it.

Unfortunately, I have no pics to post here.

  • I asked my mom if she knew how they do, she didn't know but she bet it was boiled spinach as you said, but I'm a little skeptical because I didn't see a single recipe mentioning it.
    – talles
    May 30, 2016 at 16:33

The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), also known as the Mexican husk tomato is the perfect apporach, as an alternate opposite to the red one also commonly used in rice and other foods. Raw blended sauce is also a usual choice, but the multiple and inclusive transformation processes (sautee, broiling, frying, boiling, etc.) along with other greenish blended sauce related ingredients (Avocado, coriander, parsley*, Poblano pepper**, Serrano green chilli***) hit a better spot. The less different ingredients, the more you'll keep original favor. You may find many matching sauces with similar ingredients on market and most of them may be hot (green habanero chilli), just find the difference by asking or differenciating its container shape (hot sauses are contained in drop-serving bottles while the rest tend to be spoonable).

*Parsley is often confused with coriander (chinese parsley), coriander is stronger.

**Poblano pepper is NOT hot.

***Serrano chilli IS HOT and is smaller than the Jalapeño. It also has a ligth green color and unlike the Jalapeño, it is a better ingredient in cooking. They may be hot by origin or they can actually become hot(ter) if you broil/bake/sautee/... them (lemon in serrano and vinegar marinade in jalapeño can actually mantain, lower or make its hotness more acceptable). Heinz is ptobably the most available brand if you are looking for already made options. Hotness/Itching strongly depends on how country is used to it. Also the words pepper and chilli are often used interchangeably, making it some hard to catch what is and what is not hot (however, since all mentioned and similar are peppers due to its shape, chilli is more apt to the hot), so about other green chilli/pepper possible options not mentioned here: inquire or go on your own.

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