All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

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Previously, I showed you how to make orange colored carrot rice. The make-in-a-few minutes microwave method was especially popular. So, here’s how to make pink (or purple) and green colored rice just as easily. The best thing about them is that they are colored just with vegetables - no hard to pronounce ingredients in sight.

I’ve used white rice for color clarity, but you could use regular or sprouted brown rice instead. I used leftover rice from the night before; you could also use defrosted frozen rice.

Recipe: Pink or purple rice

For every cup of cooked white rice, use:

  • 1 tsp to 1/2 Tbs. finely grated red cabbage
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • pinch salt

Grate the red cabbage as finely as possible - a microplane grater is the best tool for this. The more red cabbage you use, the more purple the rice will be. Add a few drops of lemon juice to the grated cabbage a little at a time. It will turn redder and redder.

Mix the cabbage with salt and oil, and spread on top of the rice. Cover with plastic film and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Mix together very well.

It doesn’t taste cabbage-y at all, and the lemon juice adds a pleasant slight sour note, rather like sushi rice.

Recipe: Green rice

For every cup of cooked white rice, use:

  • 1 Tbs. frozen green peas
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • pinch salt

Put the peas in a small bowl and microwave on HIGH for 30-40 seconds to defrost them. Mash them up as finely as you can with a fork, or in a mortar and pestle.

Mix the peas, salt and oil with the rice and microwave on HIGH for one minute. Mix together very well.

Recipe: Simple orange rice

For a more flavorful orange colored carrot rice, see this page. This is a simple version which omits the onion.

For every cup of cooked white rice, use:

  • 1 Tbs. finely grated carrot
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • pinch salt

Grate the carrot as finely as possible. Place on top of the rice with the oil and salt. Cover with plastic film and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Mix together very well.

You could use one kind of rice at a time, or two or more at once. Remember that plain white rice would give you one more colorway.

Multicolored animal onigiri

As you can see I did get the Hello Kitty bento decorating kit that I wrote about here and here from J-List after all. The onigiri molds make small onigiri, about 1/4 cup worth per piece. Here are the contents of the kit:

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I think I will use the onigiri molds the most - it’s really quick to form little onigiri with them, so they could be used for everyday bento. The nori punches and the shape cutter are more fiddly to use so I’ll keep them for special occasion bento when I have time to pull out the tweezers and such. (It took me almost as long to put the nori faces on just three of the onigiri than it did to make the colored rice and form six onigiri.) But don’t you think a plate of multicolored onigiri would be great for a party?

A note on using onigiri molds like these: traditionally made onigiri are formed with salted hands, which add flavor to the rice. I find it impossible to salt the insides of onigiri molds properly, so I pre-salt the rice a little instead as I’ve done with the vegetable colored rice. (Want to know more about onigiri? See how to make them the traditional way, an easier way using plastic wrap, and the different kinds of onigiri you can make.)

So you see, I’m not against all charaben/kyaraben. As long as it’s all-natural and easy to make, I’m all for it!

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

22 comments

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Augh I want that set!

J-list is blocked at work for some reason so I can’t see how much it is, but me want! Hehe. Thanks, this is really cool, I’d considered coloring my onigiri a bit, well, out of my league (I’m much more into speed bento than charaben) and not really… well, kind of pointless, to be honest, but at least this is adding nutrition too! Thanks!!!

j-list/j-box

J-list is blocked at my work too—I’m guessing because of the adult items. However, if I google J-box our Surf Control allows it. It’s worth a try!

Re: Augh I want that set!

Porn and shopping!

n___n im telling your boss

For those that can’t get

For those that can’t get there at work… Price: $24.00

Seems a bit pricey for a rice mold set, but it IS Sanrio and those things seem to be a little more expensive. I remember paying more for a Cinnamaroll Egg mold than for the bear/bunny/car/fish ones.

I love the idea for the natural coloring! Plus it would probably be a good way to get kids to eat more veggies! Double bonus!

Which kind of rice should I

Which kind of rice should I use to make onigiri?

Huhu! Yes, it seems that you

Huhu! Yes, it seems that you agree with healthy kyaraben, ;)! Thanks for the tips for the colouring. I think I’ll test these recipes. I love vegetables mixed rice. And in a few days, you’ll have healthy kyaraben in response of our port on my blog…You made me thought a lot. And kyaraben, with a bit of practice, can be fast.

these look yummy. I also

these look yummy. I also want that set!

What's colorful!

It’ s cute! I would like to try making there.

It looks delicious!!

I am college student. So,in the future,I would like to lovely lunch box for children.

Natural colored rice for onigiri

Is there a way to color the rice without using a microwave?

You are essentially

You are essentially steam-cooking the rice and the added vegetables with the microwave, so you could use a steamer instead I think - may take a bit more time and work but should work. Just put the rice and vegetables in heat-proof cups and steam until the vegetables are softened, and proceed as for the microwaved rice. (I haven’t tried it out myself but theoretically this should work.)

the orange rice was

the orange rice was AMAZING!!! thank you!

hi, i just made the

hi, i just made the pink/purple rice for my first onigiri(!!) this morning in my rice cooker. i decided to try putting the color in as the rice cooks instead of after to save myself a step, and wanted to let you know that it worked REALLY well (the rice was bright purple!)

i just took about 1/4 small head of raw purple cabbage and ran it through the food processor until it was very finely grated/pureed and lemon juice, then put it in a tupperware (it was in the fridge for a day before i could make the rice and the color stayed very bright). this morning after rinsing my rice i added 2-3 tablespoons of the cabbage puree to the raw rice (1 rice cooker cup), then added water to the fill line and hit cook. it was perfect! thanks so much! my bento was actually cute for once :)

what about freezing?

Hi! What do you think about making the puree and then freeze it in the ice cube molds? one could simply add one puree cube while the rice is cooking ^_^ and have always a lot of colors available!

Thank you for all the great tips!

nena from Italy

Re: All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

Thanks for this, I really enjoy this site. I'm gonna tell all my friends about this site. All the recipes are really good.
-Katy

Re: All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

So cute! Some of this day, I will make it! XD

We use to have that green rice back at my parent's house, but we don't use green peas.... We use pandan *kind of leaves that are use widely in S.E asia, mainly as food colouring or fragrance* juices. They make the rice soft green in colour and has a very very very fragrance aroma that will make you ask for more. XD I used the juices *like 2-3 tbs* for a cup of rice and pour it to the water and raw rice when you boiled it. (Thailand rice or the friends, not really sure what kind mom used :()

Re: All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

Is that the rice with bamboo juice?

Re: All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

ok, so found it from wikipedia, as I did not find Pandan word in English, I got it in Japanese instead: Nioi-takonoki, Nioi-adan, or Ban Lan in Chinese.

Instead of vegetables...

I was wondering, is it possible to use fruit to color the rice instead of vegetables?

Re: Instead of vegetables...

I cannot really think of a fruit that would have an intense enough color to impart, without making the rice taste strange. You could try experimenting though.

Re: All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

I made VIVID pink rice by adding a splash of the contents of a jar of pickled beetroot to my rice after cooking. It's just pink vinegar really, although I couldn't taste any difference. The colour was fantastic though!

Re: All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

I find it interesting that you have a hard time getting salt in to onigiri molds? I do it in one of two ways, but both are pretty much like making it by hand. I make a small bowl (1/2 cup or so) of warm water and add salt to it, then wet my hands/fingertips with it. Then I either swipe my fingers once around the inside of the mold (best option because it helps keep the rice mold cleaner as you go, and it helps the rice stick together better and slide out of the mold easily) or I lightly cup and compact the portion of rice I am about to shape just before I get it in the mold. I find that either of those ways gives it that salty flavor, without being overbearing or really just using too much salt. It makes the salt more of a garnish than a central ingredient and helps the rice taste seem less redundant (than when you presalt the rice). Just wanted to throw my experience out there!

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