Brown Rice Pilaf with Sautéed Veggies & Tahini Sauce

In this recipe I incorporated many of the different whole food groups (grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds) into one dish.  It’s hearty, tasty–and satisfying!

Ingredients

2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice*
3 tablespoons olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
1–2 tablespoons chopped or minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup cooked black beans
2–3 cups finely chopped greens (kale, spinach, chard, etc.)
2 teaspoons liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
1–2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

       * Option: Cook rice in vegetable broth–or water with bouillon instead of salt to add more flavor to the rice.

Put (warm) cooked rice into medium-size mixing bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Cook for a few minutes until onions are tender and turn translucent. Add chopped greens. Cook until tender. Stir in liquid aminos (or soy sauce) and cook until liquid evaporates. Add veggies to brown rice. Mix all ingredients together. Set aside. Put tahini into small bowl. Add water and lemon juice gradually, stirring with a whisk. Add enough water to thin out a bit (but don’t make it too watery). Stir tahini sauce into the rice. Add almonds and black beans. Mix together. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Brown rice is the “unrefined” version of white rice. Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.

1. Rich in Selenium: Brown rice is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common
illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
2. High in Manganese : One cup of brown rice provides 80% of our dailye manganese requirements.
Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive
systems.
3. Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils: Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these
healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.
4. Promotes Weight Loss: The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it
makes digestion that much easier. Brown rice is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking
bowel regularity. In addition, brown rice also makes the tummy feel full which translates to smaller
meal portions.
5. Considered Whole Grain: Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its
“wholeness” through the refinement process. Wholes grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial
plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
6. Rich in Anti-Oxidants: This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually
associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. The
antioxidant capacity of brown rice is right up there with these super stars.
7. High in Fiber: Brown rice is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon
cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers
attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and
keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.
8. A Slow-Release Sugar: Brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels; therefore, it’s an excellent
food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup of
brown rice daily reduce their risks of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who
consume white rice regularly increase their chances of developing diabetes 100 fold.
9. Perfect Baby Food: Brown rice cereal or brown rice itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the
dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal
products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid
growth cycles.

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