Forbidden Rice, the name conjures up visions of colorful satin, harem pants and priceless jewels. Forbidden rice (also called black or purple rice) may have gotten its name from ancient China when it was considered the finest grain (due to its rarity and high nutritional value) and only emperors were allowed to eat it. Luckily for us, forbidden rice is much more readily available and is becoming more popular as a food staple. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and consistency, and that glorious color that turns your rice dish into a masterpiece – plus its loaded with fiber and nutrition. ‘Black rice was proclaimed as a ‘superfood’ worldwide largely thanks to an important piece of research by Dr. Zhimin Xu, titled “Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants”. The research stated that “just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants”‘ (Wikipedia)
I love forbidden rice, pretty much any way I’ve ever had it, but have to admit that this recipe from Bon Appetite (January, 2014) is simply the best. I decided to try it because the photo in the magazine was just so beautiful, but as I was making it, I thought some of the ingredients (like pomegranate seeds and microgreens) seemed out of place so I was tempted to leave them out. I’m glad I didn’t because every ingredient adds another unique burst of flavor. I tasted the dish both with the honey, vinegar dressing and without. Both ways are good but the dressing makes it taste a bit more like a salad rather than a main course. I did not have pistachios so substituted pepitos (shelled pumpkin seeds) which tasted great. You can also substitute sprouts or fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for the microgreens. This dish is meant to be served at room temperature which makes it perfect to bring to a party or for a buffet. Sometimes its nice to have a fuss free meal that doesn’t have to be served piping hot. You can make it ahead and chill it in the refrigerator (without the microgreens). Just bring it to room temperature, add the greens and toss.
I was inspired to make a Caesar salad when I saw a package of Kali Parmesan Crisps in Whole Foods. They add a delicious salty crunch in place of croutons. I looked up the recipe out of curiosity. Its only finely shredded parmesan cheese, spread into circles and baked for 5 minutes. Next time I will make them at home.
Ingredients:1 1/2 cup black rice 1/2 cup wild rice kosher salt 1/2 medium or 1 small butternut squash 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 tsp honey 2 scallions, thinly sliced 1 cup pomegranate seeds 1 cup microgreens (or parsley or cilantro) 1/2 cup pistachios (or pepitas – shelled pumpkin seeds)
- Cook black rice and wild rice in a large pot of boiling water with about 4 cups vegetable broth or salted water about 35 minutes or until tender. Remove from pot into a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 450. Half, seed and peel the squash and cut into cubes. I found a small squash so used the whole thing. Place squash cubes in a baking dish and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast squash 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Whisk vinegar, honey and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl. Add rice, squash, pomegranate, microgreens and pistachios; toss to combine.
Black and Wild Rice with Roasted Squash
1 head romaine, cleaned and cut
scallions, thinly sliced
parmesan crisps (homemade or packaged)
Arrange vegetables in a bowl and toss with dressing. Top with crisps. Dressing: Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps
1 head romaine, cleaned and cut cherry tomatoes(optional) scallions, thinly sliced parmesan crisps (homemade or packaged)
Arrange vegetables in a bowl and toss with dressing. Top with crisps.
Dressing: Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor.