It’s hard to keep up, but in case you haven’t heard black rice is the new brown and considered to be the healthiest rice of all. I know, it’s like shoe fashion. Just when you finally splurge on a new shoe-of-the-moment you learn pointy toe flats are out and round toe flats are in. But unlike fickle shoe styles, the recent excitement over black rice seems to be more than just a trend…
What Makes Black Rice the Healthiest Rice in the World?
It’s mostly due to the high level of antioxidants. Specifically, black rice is rich in a class of flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins. Although all antioxidants have unique anti-aging and health-boosting properties, anthocyanins are potent anti-inflammatories and have specifically been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer as well as improvements in memory. Anthocyanins, also found in blueberries, acai and grapes, are what give all of these “superfoods” their deep purple and reddish pigments. A new study presented in August 2010 at the American Chemical Society in Boston showed 10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice contains the equivalent amount of anthocyanins found in a serving of blueberries. And black rice is a lot cheaper too! Plus it’s rich in iron.
What Does Black Rice Taste Like?
Absolutely delicious! Exotic black rice has a mild but distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with a tremendous number of foods and flavors. Plus it looks beautiful and makes an impressive presence on any plate; it’s the easiest ever side dish because it doesn’t need to be all dolled up to look or taste exciting.
How do You Cook Black Rice?
You cook black rice just like you cook any other rice. It cooks in about 30 minutes. You can cook it stovetop or use a rice cooker. And by the way, if you don’t have a rice cooker you should get one. Nothing makes cooking rice (or any whole grain for that matter!) easier than using a rice cooker. Once you start using a rice cooker you’ll never go back to stovetop again… As a side note, if you are using a rice cooker to cook black rice or brown rice you’ll want to use about a quarter of a cup more water than the instructions call for (this is because most rice cookers are engineered to cook white rice, but both black and brown rice have the hull intact, which is healthier, and therefore take longer to cook and need a bit more water.) After it is cooked, you can use black rice just like you would any other rice—make a pilaf, add it to salads, mix it in soups, make a pudding, use it as a gluten-free substitute for bulgur wheat in tabouleh, etc. Oh! And if you are using the black rice in a recipe that goes well with coconut try cooking the black rice in coconut water.
Quick Chicken Dinner with the Healthiest Rice Side Dish
This is such a simple meal but it really is so so good! To make the meal and get it on the table quickly just follow the steps below.
Step 1: Cook Black Rice
If cooking black rice in a rice cooker simply rinse the rinse 1 cup rice under cold running water and then transfer to the rice cooker. Add 2 ¼ cups water and set timer for 30 minutes. Let cooked rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes after cooking. Season with salt to taste. A great brand to look for in the stores or online is Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice®. If cooking black rice stovetop rinse 1 cup rice in a strainer under cold running water. Bring 2 ¼ cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. When water boils, add the rice, stir it once. Turn heat to medium and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, pour the rice into a strainer over the sink. Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off the heat. Immediately cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes (if your pot lid isn’t extremely tight, place a piece of aluminum foil over pot then place the lid on top of foil for a tighter seal). After ten minutes, uncover rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt to taste.
Step 2: Make the Chicken
- 1 pound pastured boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup beer
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Season chicken breasts with salt. Place chicken in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour beer on top of chicken. Squeeze lemon juice on top of chicken. Cover chicken with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Step 3: Make the Roasted Winter Vegetable Medley
- 4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut on diagonal into 1/2 –inch thick slices
- 2 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 ½ inch diameter
- ¾ pound Brussels sprouts, cut off ends and pull off any yellow outer leaves, cut Brussels sprouts in ½
- 2 cups butternut squash cubes
- 2 -3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet.
- Toss parsnips, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash cubes in extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread vegetables out on the baking sheet. Roast for approximately 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove vegetables from oven, drizzle with lemon juice and toss with chopped parsley. Serve warm.
Step 4: Make the Honey Mustard Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Grey Poupon mustard
- 1tablespoon raw honey
- 2 tablespoons hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil or flax oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a medium sized dish and use a fork to whisk until well blended. Note: honey mustard sauce will keep for 2 to 3 days stored if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Step 5: Assemble the meal
Place the chicken over the brown rice and drizzle the honey mustard sauce on top. Serve the roasted veggies on the side.
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