We had black rice with curried vegetables for dinner tonight. Black rice is a new food for our table. A food everyone embraced with enthusiasm, as they dug into a bowl of black and orange food. Fun food because it’s so out of the ordinary to see black rice on their plates. Or should I say Halloween food. It is Halloween week after all, why not have a little fun with food, right?
The rice taste like a cross between wild rice and brown rice. Earthy with a hint of nutty flavor. I didn’t know this rice has many health benefits, more than any other variety. It’s very high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, known to prevent cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, and has the highest protein and fiber of all rice. I bought it because I was inspired to give dinner some Halloween flair, who knew it would be so nutritious. I was just looking for black and orange foods for dinner.
Besides all that nutrition, the salad was delicious. I will admit, if healthy is not tasty I am not serving it. Food needs to be delicious with healthy as it’s sidekick. This hearty, warm autumn salad is a complete meal with warm spices, and textures that will tantalize the taste buds. A nice combination of flavors I will be making again and again.
2 cups black rice
4 cups water, or vegetable stock
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
2 small sugar pumpkins, peeled, seeded, diced
6 medium carrots (I used purple and orange), peeled, diagonally sliced
1 medium onion, peeled, diced
5-6 kale leaves, stems removed, chopped
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons GF rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, toasted (see below)
1 tablespoon dill sprigs, for garnish, optional
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, slightly crush by hand with the back of a spoon to release oils
3 teaspoons ground curry
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
For the Rice:
In a medium saucepan set over high heat, boil water or stock. When the water is boiling add kosher salt and rice. Reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, until all water has evaporated. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl (big enough to also hold all the chopped vegetables). Set aside.
For toasting cashews:
Place raw cashews on a parchment lined baking sheet, toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden.
Note: Toasting in the oven just slightly will bring out more flavor from nuts, longer than this will remove the nutrients in the nuts. It’s worth the extra effort, health wise, than buying toasted nuts, which have essential oils removed during the heat process.
For the vegetables:
Combine all chopped vegetables in another large bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar, and all the spices. Toss to combine well. Transfer to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper (half sheet size pans). Spread out evenly in one layer. Bake for 27-30 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer to the rice bowl. Toss to combine well. Transfer onto a serving plate. Garnish with cashews and sprigs of dill. Serve warm.
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