I personally try to avoid white rice. I eat it on occasion, and it's practical as it cooks faster, but there is a reason why that's the case (and it's not a great one). See white rice would be brown if they did not remove the side hulls and bran. They are full of protein, thiamine, calcium, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. They do add to the cooking time, but their benefits are way worth the extra mile! Most manufacturers will add back those vitamins and iron in a synthetic form to white rice and label it as "enriched" or "nutritious". But at the end of the day, I think we can all agree that all things equal, its best to get the natural form of vitamins and nutrients, as opposed to the man made synthetic ones. Brown rice also has a much nuttier texture and flavor, which I absolutely love.
This recipe calls for a few nice summer veggies, so it is full of nutrients. The pesto, made with arugula and almonds instead of basil and pine nuts, was a nice touch as it brought the flavors to a whole new level. I seriously wish I made a double batch, as this was gone in no time, and I am now craving some more! This can be enjoyed warm or cold, so you can make it ahead of time and pack it for lunch as well.
BROWN RICE PRIMAVERA WITH ARUGULA AND ALMOND PESTO
For the rice:
- 1 1/2 cups of dry short grain brown rice
- 3 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup of zucchini, grated
- 1 cup of carrots, grated
- 1 1/ 2 cups of broccoli florets, cut small
- 3/4 cup of frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup of spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the pesto:
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup of raw almonds
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of avocado oil (can substitute with olive oil if you do not have)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a small sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth to boil, and add the rice.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.*
- Once the broth is mostly absorbed, remove from the heat, and let the rice strand for another 10 minutes, covered.
- In the meantime, put all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Reserve.
- In a large saute pan, heat up the olive oil under medium heat, and cook the onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes until translucent,
- Add the rest of the vegetables and cook another 7-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the rice and the pesto, mix well, and adjust the seasoning.
- Serve warm, or put in the refrigerator for later use if you want to eat it cold.
This will make 4 servings
*If using a different kind of rice, your cooking time will vary, so please verify with the manufacturer's instructions to be safe.