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Brown Is Beautiful

May 8, 2009 | by Elana Mizrahi

Making the switch from white to brown rice.

A lot of people are hesitant to try to prepare healthy dishes. A common complaint I've heard is that, "My family won't eat it." Or, "I don't know how." It's true that when it comes to food people, especially children, are weary of change. But healthy cooking doesn't mean you have to make drastic changes. You can start with something simple, like switching from white to brown rice.

The process of converting brown rice to white rice destroys the majority of the vitamins B3, B1, and B6 naturally found in rice, and half of the manganese, phosphorus, and iron, as well as all the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. By making the switch to brown rice, you'll be serving your family a dish rich in vital nutrients.

You can also replace your rice recipes with quinoa, a seed with a fluffy, nutty texture that is high in complete protein (meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids), manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorous. Or give whole wheat bulgur a try which is also rich in magnesium, manganese, dietary fiber, and vitamin E.

Arroz Mexicano

1 cup of brown rice
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp dried parsley or cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 Tbs canola oil
2 cups of water

Sauté the onion and garlic in 1Tbs of oil over med-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomato, spices, and rice. Stir and continue to sauté for another minute. Add the two cups of water, cover and bring to boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and leave, covered until all the water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes before serving (To reheat, add a little bit of water to the rice and reheat over medium heat). Great served alongside chicken, fish, or beans.

Bulgur Pinenut Pilaf
A great side dish when you're in a hurry.

1 cup of whole wheat bulgur
1/4 tsp of salt
1 onion thinly sliced
1 tsp canola oil
3 Tbs pine nuts

Pour enough water over the bulgur so that it covers it by about a 1/2 inch. Stir in salt and bring to boil. Cover and turn down heat to low. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, until all water is absorbed.

Sauté the onion and pinenuts until the onion is soft.

Before serving spoon the onion and pinenut mixture on top. Bulgur can be made in advance and reheated over low heat.

You can also do this with almond halves instead of the pinenuts.

Greek Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp zatar (or dried oregano)
1/4 tsp salt
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, diced
4 pitted black olives, sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
100 g/3.5 oz feta or Bulgarian cheese
Olive oil

To prepare the quinoa, bring the water to a boil and put in the quinoa. Stir in the salt and zatar and cover. Reduce heat to low until all the water evaporates. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover to allow the quinoa to cool.

In the meantime, prepare the cumber, olives, and onion. Mix in the quinoa. Crumble the cheese into the mixture. Arrange the tomatoes on top and drizzle olive oil.

Chinese Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 Tbs canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 carrot, cut lengthwise into 4 and then chopped.
1/4 frozen peas
2 Tbs low-sodium tamari Soya sauce
1 Tbs sesame seed oil
1/4 cashews, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan over medium heat or in the oven
Sesame seeds for garnish

Prepare the rice by bringing the water and rice to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low until all the water evaporates.

Saute the onion and garlic in 1 tbs of canola oil until soft. Add rice, carrot, and peas. Continue to sauté another 3 minutes. Add soy sauce. Continue to cook another minute. Add sesame seed oil, cashews, and sesame seeds and serve hot.

Quinoa with Zatar and Olive oil

1 cup of quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 crushed garlic
1 tsp zatar

Bring the water to a boil.

As the water is boiling, saute the garlic in olive oil for a minute over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and zatar and continue to sauté for another minute. Add the quinoa mixture to the boiling water and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.


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