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One of the most widely consumed foods in the world, rice is a staple across many cultures, households, and diets. But rice isn’t just your typical pantry staple, it also checks the boxes for healthy food since it’s a nutrient-dense, complex carb that the body slowly digests so you can stay energized throughout the day. Carbs also provide energy for other cells in our bodies, including muscles.
In fact, rice has more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, B vitamins, potassium, fibre, iron and zinc. B vitamins are linked to supporting cognitive health and reducing chronic inflammation in the brain. One of the biggest advantages of rice is that it can be a go-to even for those who have food intolerances or sensitive stomachs. Aside from being gluten-free, rice is also virtually free of sodium, cholesterol, and fat and isn’t genetically modified if you buy rice produced in the U.S.
Even better? Research shows that eating carbohydrates, like rice, increases levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, which helps boost mood, reduces anxiety, and keeps appetite in check.
It’s also the perfect vehicle for eating other nutrient-rich foods. Craving rice now? Here’s an easy recipe to try.
Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad
This brown rice salad is nutritious, easy to make, and keeps well in the fridge! It also utilizes mostly pantry staples, including U.S.-grown long-grain brown rice, making it an easy dinner option for busy weeknights. Try swapping in your favourite veg to make it to your taste!
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Serves: 4
- 1 cup (250 ml) U.S. long-grain brown rice
- 1 (398 ml) can chickpeas
- 1 (398 ml) can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup (250 ml) jarred roasted red peppers, diced
- 2 cups (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups (500 ml) cucumber, quartered and sliced
- ½ cup (125 ml) kalamata olives
- ¼ cup (60 ml) parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp (60 ml) lemon juice
- 1/8 cup (80 ml) olive oil
- ½ tbsp (7 ml) dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
- Salt and pepper
- Cook brown rice according to package instructions.
- While the rice cooks, prepare the vegetables. Drain and rinse chickpeas and artichoke hearts. Cut artichoke hearts in half lengthwise.
- Chop up the rest of the vegetables and parsley. Set ingredients aside.
- Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients, plus a shake of salt and pepper, in a small jar. Tightly screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the dressing is creamy and cloudy looking.
- When rice is done cooking, let it cool to room temperature. Add rice to a large mixing bowl and toss with all the veggies, chickpeas and parsley, plus a generous shake of salt and pepper.
- Drizzle 1/8 cup (80 ml) of vinaigrette into the salad and toss to combine. Add more dressing, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste.