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Fiber-Full Brown Rice Salad

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:26 AM

The mention of salad evokes images of greens but brown rice also makes a tasty and nutritious base for a combination of vegetables. And unlike leafy greens, a brown rice salad doesn’t wilt and will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Compared to white rice, the brown version (a whole grain) contains three times the fiber plus essential nutrients, such as folate, iron, magnesium, and riboflavin (vitamin B1), which are stripped away when the bran of the rice is removed to produce the white version. And the nutty taste and texture of brown rice often appeals to children, as well as adults.

Convenient Cooking

Cooking brown rice from scratch usually takes up to 45 minutes. A shorter version here takes about 35 minutes. But frozen cooked brown rice, such as Rice Expressions, takes only three minutes to prepare in a microwave or 10 minutes on the stove.

An organic version is available in health food stores and a natural version can be found in some Costco stores. Flash frozen right after being cooked, this convenient alternative contains only brown rice, without any salt, gluten, preservatives, or other added ingredients.

Salad Basics

A brown rice salad can be a tasty, whole grain alternative to pasta salads or bread at barbecues and picnics, or with any meal. Since it travels well, it’s also easy to take to work for lunch.

You can combine the rice, at room temperature, with any chopped vegetables, such as shredded carrots, diced celery, English peas, chopped tomatoes, sweet peppers, or virtually any other vegetable you enjoy. Raisins or dried cranberries and chopped apples can add sweetness, and fresh herbs can add a variety of different flavors. For dressings, vinaigrettes, such as balsamic or Italian style, generally work well but feel free to experiment.

If you plan to make a bigger batch and refrigerate your salad for a day or two, stick with ingredients that aren’t watery, such as celery, sweet peppers, radishes, or peas, or remove the seeds and juice from cucumbers and tomatoes.

The possibilities are as broad as your imagination. As an example, you can try the recipe below from the American Institute for Cancer Research. The salad ingredients and dressing can each be prepared up to two hours before serving and refrigerated separately, and then combined just before serving.

Brown Rice Salad with Mango and Black Beans

Makes 4 servings, about 1 1/4 cup per serving.

Salad:

2 cups cooked brown rice, room temperature
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup diced mango, in 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped and seeded plum tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. If you’re serving it right away, toss with the dressing. Otherwise, refrigerate.

Dressing:

1/3 cup orange juice
1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1-2 inch piece jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped (For the least amount of heat, use the bottom end of a large pepper.)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp canola oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

In a blender or mini food processor, blend orange and lime juice, jalapeño pepper, cumin, and oregano until the pepper is ground up. Add oil and blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and toss with a fork. If the salad has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before adding dressing. Spoon the salad into a wide, shallow serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 284 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 51 g carbohydrate, 10 g protein, 10 g dietary fiber, 201 mg sodium


© HealthDay

 
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2011-26-03
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:26 AM
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