Monday, September 13, 2010

Forbidden (Black) Rice, Lentils and Kale

Black rice, also known as Forbidden Rice, is an heirloom grain that was evidently grown for the Emperors of China as a longevity food. It has a deep, nutty taste, is high in nutrients, including iron, and contains anthocyanins, compounds that act as antioxidants, in its deep pigment. It’s also high in vitamin E and fiber and is being touted as the new “superfood”.

I just found the rice the other day at Whole Foods and thought I would give it a try in a very dark dish I put together with lentils and kale. Lentils are high in fiber, folate, vitamin B6, thiamin, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron. Its protein is a great complement to the amino acid content found in rice which makes the combination a wonderful, complete-protein dish.

Kale is a superstar leafy green. For it’s health benefits, I want to direct you to this great Facebook page for a Kale Challenge that I’m following right now. The Green Lemon-Aid recipe on this page is tangy and delicious and if you're into juicing, I encourage you to try it!

Here’s the rice and lentil dish with kale:

1 T grapeseed or coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped small

1 cup black rice, soaked in water overnight and rinsed well

1 cup green lentils, soaked in water overnight and rinsed well

water or veggie broth

2 cups kale leaves removed from stalks and broken into small pieces

Juice from ½ to 1 lemon

sea salt and black pepper

1. Place lentils in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until tender, ~10-15 minutes, but maybe less depending on how long they’ve been soaked.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a second medium saucepan. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add black rice and 1 ¾ cups of veggie broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until cooked, ~15-20 minutes since it's been soaked.

3. Drain the lentils, then add to the cooked rice and onions.

4. Pick up the kale with hands and squeeze/massage it in hands to tenderize it. Add to the hot rice and lentils and stir well to wilt the kale.

5. Squeeze half a lemon (or more) into the mix and season with sea salt and pepper.

This is a hearty dish on its own and is even good cold so would be great to take for lunch or for a simple dinner with a salad. Here's to your health!

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