Taste Test: Healthy Rice Substitutes

When I spotted Mr Organic’s Legume Rice products I was really interested, so I decided we simply had to give them a go. I love trying new foods, especially healthy and organic goodies, so the idea of this protein and fibre-rich alternative to rice really appealed.

Mr Organic make three types, Chickpea Rice, Red Lentil Rice and Green Pea Rice. We cooked them up and here’s what we found…

What is Legume Rice?
As you might expect, it’s like rice, but it’s made out of legumes like chickpea, red lentil and green pea flour, and formed into rice-like shapes. Literally one ingredient in each version. It’s cooked pretty much the same as rice, in boiling salted water, but it cooks faster, typically in 9-11 minutes.

The nutrition content is quite different to rice. They are all much more nutrient-dense. I’ll use wholegrain rice as the comparison, because that’s what you all use, right?

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Rices Compared (per 100g uncooked)
Wholegrain Rice Red Lentil Rice Chickpea Rice Green Pea Rice
Energy (kcal) 603 1412 1504 1417
Energy (kcal) 142 334 357 335
Fat 0.9g 1.7g 5.5g 1.8g
of which Saturates 0.2g 0.4g 0.8g 0.4g
Carbohydrate 29.2g 50g 51g 55g
of which sugars 0.1g 1.2g 2.5g 2.6g
Fibre 1.5g 7.6g 9.5g 8.8g
Protein 3.5g 26g 22g 20g
Salt <0.1g 0g 0g 0.01g
Cooking Time
20-25m 11m 11m 9m
Weight when cooked 240g 246g 226g 170g
RRP 34p 144p 144p 144p
Price per g of protein 9.7p 5.5p 6.5p 7.2p
Source: Wholegrain Rice was Duchy Organic 500g. The nutritional information was completely different on the Waitrose web site, with 119 calories per 100g instead of 142, so one of them is very inaccurate. Prices for all these products may vary at different retailers.

Why would you cook Legume Rice instead of normal rice?
This is quite an important question. I can think of a few scenarios where legume rice would be useful:

  • Those on a grain-free or the paleo diet, or people with a rice intolerance
  • Those with coeliac disease or those who are on a gluten-free diet and want to broaden their choices
  • Vegetarians or Vegans who want to add more nutrient-dense ingredients into their diet
  • Anyone looking to increase their protein and fibre intake
  • Parents who want to sneak more nutrition into their kids’ diets. It’s very filling
  • People who like trying new things and want a change from rice
  • Those wanting to support microbiome health by eating more fibre and more plants
  • People who eat a lot of rice and are worried about the level of arsenic in rice

Red Lentil Rice
The cook time of 11 minutes was just right for a firm texture. Not fluffy, sticky or clumpy. It held together well and was appetising to look at, with a bit more colour than standard rice. The flavour was quite nutty. I wouldn’t really know this was made of lentils unless I had been told. A real win for fussy eaters.

Red lentils are packed with nutrients especially folate, manganese and iron. I find that red lentils often come across as quite dry, and that’s probably why some people aren’t that keen on them. But for some reason, this was not like that at all. Overall, the rice was very nice and filling.


Chickpea Rice
Again, the cook time of 11 minutes was just right for a firm texture. The colour of this does look more like standard rice, and you could probably pass it off as rice!

Again with added benefit of manganese and folate and the highest fibre content of the three I love this. The flavour is noticeably chickpea but not that overbearing. You could hide that in a sauce or sprinkle some herbs and salt on top. It would go well with just about any flavour from tomato sauce to curries. Again, really great texture and flavour.


Green Pea Rice
This cooked in just 9 minutes, and that timing was just right as well. It has got the benefit of lots of Vitamin A and K, so a slightly different nutritional profile to the other two. No one could mistake this for real rice! Quite green looking, and it tastes quite green and pea-like too! We also tried it by adding some Meditteranean herbs and salt and it tasted amazing. Rosemary or mint and garlic would taste lovely too. It has probably the most interesting flavour of the three, and it’s not the one to choose for a very picky eater. But we thought it was pretty tasty, and we’d have it again, like the others.

What is Mr Organic like as a manufacturer?
First of all, I haven’t had any contact with or payment from Mr Organic to write this review. We bought samples with our own money, and on the back of that decided to stock them. I have always loved Mr Organic products because they are so focused on high-quality ethical food. All of it is vegan and manufactured in Italy, and with no air miles.

All three of these were delicious and nutritious, and we decided to stock them without hesitation. I can totally see that they will be useful additions to your store cupboard. They will certainly be a regular in ours.


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