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Legend tells us that black rice, believed to increase longevity, was once eaten exclusively by the Emperors of China, and it is still treasured for its roasted nutty taste, soft texture and beautiful deep purple color. Also known as forbidden rice and purple rice, this ancient grain contains a class of flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanin and, according to Chinese herbal medicine, is considered to be a blood tonifier. A striking presence on any plate, this once forbidden indulgence is now a wholesome everyday rice. It pairs beautifully with all cuisines – serve it steamed as a side dish, or in a pilaf, stir-fry, salad or pudding.
Varieties include Indonesian black rice and Thai jasmine black rice. All varieties turn deep purple when cooked due to the anthocyanin content.
Although usually served in Asian dishes, black rice’s nutty taste and rich color provide an interesting twist to other cuisines, such as this traditional Mediterranean salad.
Cook time: 70 minutes
1 cup black rice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups chopped spinach leaves
½ cup kalamata olives, cut in half
1 (6.5 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette:
½ cup olive oil
10 cloves roasted garlic (available in deli sections of supermarkets) or ½ cup chopped scallions
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Rinse black rice under cold water until water runs clear.
Bring water to boil with pinch of salt. Add rice. Cover. Simmer over low heat 40-45 minutes until all water is absorbed.
Let rice steam in covered pan for 10 minutes.
Add cooked rice to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
Add all the vegetables, beans and pine nuts. Mix thoroughly.
Make the vinaigrette by adding all ingredients to a blender for 30 seconds, until there are no chunks of garlic left.
Pour vinaigrette over entire bowl of salad and mix.
Copyright 2016 Michael Simms