Featured Food: brown rice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrown rice.  What comes to mind?  Hippies?  Health food?

Or: tasty, chewy, delicious, versatile, high fiber.  And oh yes — delicious.

Brown rice isn’t a variety of rice.  It’s rice that has not been milled to remove the bran layer of the grain.  Inside that brown rice is white rice.  The nutritional impact is that brown rice has more fiber and more vitamins and minerals.

    1 cup        calories        protein      fiber     Magnesium  
Brown Rice        218             4.5 g        3.5 g      86 mg
White Rice        242             4.4 g        0.6 g      24 mg

 

The value for magnesium is given as a quick comparison of what happens to vitamins and minerals when the outer bran layer of a whole grain like rice is removed.  The value goes way down.  Note, it’s slightly lower calorie, because some of the volume of the rice is indigestible fiber.

You can substitute brown rice in plenty of dishes that call for white rice.  The main difference is that the brown rice has more flavor, and has a chewier texture.  It goes especially well with stir fry-type dishes, and Asian style sauces.  Fried rice made with brown rice is excellent.  It’s also great in soups and casseroles, and can be served as a simple side dish grain for grilled salmon, baked fish or grilled chicken.  Brown rice is also the basis for many vegan and vegetarian dishes, including casseroles and grain-based salads.

Brown rice does take longer to cook, about twice as long as white rice.  So if you’re going to use it, plan ahead for that.  It comes in long, medium and short grain styles.  They all taste about the same.  The best way to find out what works for you is to buy different varieties and try them out.

Easy brown rice salad:

  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup sliced sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashews, peanuts or pecans
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB lemon juice, or to taste
  • optional: 1 cup tofu chunks or leftover cooked chicken or turkey

 

 

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