Qdoba is a popular kind of ‘fast casual’ restaurant that serves delicious, Mexican-inspired dishes at a budget price.
They work a little like Subway, where you can pick your own ingredients and make a completely customized meal in 4 steps. Starting with your entree, then your protein, then you get to pick a side, and finally any salsas & sauces.
One of the most popular side items they have is their ‘cilantro lime rice’, which pairs well with almost anything on the menu. Today we’re going to show you how you can make this yourself to bring whatever you serve it with to that next level.
How to make Qdoba Rice
Even though Qdoba has plenty of sides on offer, from pinto beans, pickled jalapenos, and grilled veggies, this extremely simple cilantro lime rice often gets picked because of its simplicity and delicious flavor.
Just by using some pretty basic ingredients we can whip this rice up in under 30 minutes, and it’s mostly ‘hands off’ cooking leaving you free to focus on your main dish. Give it a try!
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 cup of long-grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon of lime zest
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
You’ve probably made rice a bunch of times already. This isn’t going to be much of a new experience in terms of cooking, but what really makes this rice stand out from the crowd is the use of lime zest, lime juice, and chopped cilantro.
Because of its simplicity, there’s also a ton of space for both substituting ingredients as well as adding new ones to further customize the flavor.
Using a large pot, add 2 cups of water to it and bring it to a boil.
Once the water is boiling add the rice and butter to it, give it a quick stir, and then cover it with a lid that also allows some steam to escape.
Reduce the heat to low and leave it simmering for roughly 20 minutes.
Check if the rice is fully cooked, it should be tender and all the water should be absorbed/evaporated.
Transfer the rice into a serving bowl using a rice paddle, if not a wooden spoon also works.
Just before serving, stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Try to stir in only as much as you need as it will make storing any leftover rice for later much easier.
Then simply pair this with whatever main you have decided to have and enjoy!
Even though this is a very simple recipe, there are a lot of things we can substitute to accommodate different dietary requirements.
In addition to that don’t be afraid to add new ingredients and customize the flavor further, the whole mantra of Qdoba is about customizing the food to your preference.
Ghee or clarified butter is essentially regular butter that has been simmered and strained to remove the additional water.
While this is great for frying as it can withstand high temperatures, it actually tastes incredible and your rice will be every bit as delicious if you exchange the butter for ghee.
While some don’t consider margarine a great cooking substitute due to its tendency to burn if you leave it on the pan for too long.
The beauty of this dish is that we aren’t actually cooking the butter, we are simply adding it to the water and letting the heat melt the margarine.
So in this scenario, it works great.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is our number one go-to substitute for the fresh lime juice, simply because it sits in the same area in terms of its zesty/acidic quality.
It can be used as a simple 1:1 substitute and, while not tasting exactly the same, will still have that citrus essence that lets the meal translate.
Cilantro is not for everyone. People’s distaste for the herb comes from the fact it can taste what many describe as being ‘soapy’. There’s some legitimate science behind why this is, but for the sake of the recipe, parsley is where you want to go next if cilantro isn’t your thing.
It comes from the same family of herbs but has more of a peppery taste. It fits just perfectly with our citrus rice dish!
What to serve with Qdoba Rice
Qdoba allows you to pick from a bunch of different entrees and protein types to customize your meal. This is why the sides are so adaptable, they’re designed to work with anything!
Here are a few of our top picks, inspired by Qdoba’s own menu, for things you can make to accompany your rice.
A giant bowl kitted out with double grilled chicken, black beans, grilled fajita veggies, and sauces. With all that protein and flavor, you’re sure to need a nice and simple carbohydrate source like our rice to accompany it.
Grilled Steak Burrito
With this burrito you don’t even have to eat your rice as a side, you can stuff it into the burrito along with your grilled steak, sweetcorn, peppers, and beans to make the ultimate Mexican-inspired burrito.
Add a bunch of flavorful salsas, toppings such as cheese, a protein of choice and a nice vinegary dressing served on fresh romaine lettuce. That’s the perfect accompaniment to balance out your rice and turn it into a filling, nutritious meal.
How to reheat Qdoba Rice
Rice is one of those foods that actually tastes better the following day. This is why if you ever eat (properly cooked) fried rice from an Asian restaurant the rice has almost always been cooked the night before and allowed to sit overnight.
Here’s how to go about reheating it.
How to reheat Qdoba Rice in a pot
Let the rice come up to room temperature, add about 2 tablespoons of water to the pot per cup of rice that was used. Place the lid on and let it heat on medium for about 5 minutes.
How to reheat Qdoba Rice in a microwave
We’ll do the same again for heating it in the microwave, place the rice in the bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice that was used. Heat for 3-4 minutes, this might seem like a long time but we need that water to rehydrate the rice.
How to reheat Qdoba Rice in the oven
Preheat the oven to 300°F and spread the rice out evenly oven in an oven-proof dish (make sure to break down any rice clumps that have formed).
Once again add 2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice and bake for about 20 minutes.
How to reheat Qdoba Rice in an air fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 320°F. We have to add a little oil to the rice to help it cook.
Air fry for 8-10 minutes, take it out halfway through and give it a stir to ensure the oil is adequately coating everything.
How to store Qdoba Rice
Rice is a great thing to make and store for later. But we need to ensure that we skip the final step in our recipe (adding the lime zest, juice, and cilantro) so we can store the rice by itself and add those ingredients just before serving.
Store in the fridge
Let the rice cool to room temperature, transfer it to a nice air-tight container, or possibly a bowl with plastic wrap other the top, and refrigerate.
Once refrigerated it will last for 3-4 days.
Store in the freezer
Freezing rice is in many ways preferable to refrigerating. If you sprinkle a few tablespoons of water over it before freezing you can just pop it straight in the microwave and it will completely rehydrate itself!
Simply place the rice in an air-tight container and freeze, it will last for up to 1 month.
Qdoba Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe
- 1 large boiling pot
- 1 rice paddle (or wooden spoon)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- Using a large pot, add 2 cups of water to it and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling add the rice and butter to it, give it a quick stir, and then cover it with a lid that also allows some steam to escape.
- Reduce the heat to low and leave it simmering for roughly 20 minutes.
- Check if the rice is fully cooked, it should be tender and all the water should be absorbed/evaporated.
- Transfer the rice into a serving bowl using a rice paddle, if not a wooden spoon also works.
- Just before serving, stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Try to stir in only as much as you need as it will make storing any leftover rice for later much easier.Then simply pair this with whatever main you have decided to have and enjoy!