How To Cook Brown Rice

Knowing how to cook a good pot of brown rice is an essential kitchen skill. I’m talking about tender, chewy brown rice that goes equally well with a quick stir-fry as it does with slices of roasted chicken. Forget the crunchy or mushy stuff that you may have suffered through in the past — we’ve got our method locked down. It’s time to discover how great brown rice can be.

Which Brown Rice to Buy

Look for medium- or long-grain brown rice. (Short-grain brown rice cooks slightly differently, so skip it for this method.)

Long-grain rice (above) and short-grain rice (below).

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Uncooked brown rice can be stored in the cupboard, but is best used within a few months of purchasing. If you don’t cook with brown rice very often, storing it in the fridge will help keep it fresh for longer. If you have an open bag of rice, or if you bought your rice from a bulk bin, transfer it to an airtight container for storing.

If you’ve had some brown rice sitting in the back of your cupboard for more than a year, it’s probably best to toss it and pick up a fresh bag. The oils in the rice go rancid over time and can make the rice taste overly bitter and unpalatable.

Rinse and Toast for Better Brown Rice

Rinsing your rice before cooking it washes away any grit or dust that may have gotten mixed in during production. I also find that rinsing helps improve the texture of the rice; it’s less crucial than rinsing white rice, but still helps to make each grain distinct.

Toasting the rice won’t change its texture, but it gives the rice a more deeply nutty, toasted flavor. Just sauté the rice in a little olive oil before adding the water, and stir until the rice smells fragrant and you can see a touch of golden color here and there. This is a totally optional step, but if the earthy flavor of brown rice is what has kept you from eating it in the past, then you might find that you like brown rice better after toasting.

Don’t Skip The Resting Step

And finally, after cooking, let your rice rest off the heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes. This pause before serving helps the rice absorb the last of the moisture in the pot. If you skip it, the rice can be a little sticky and gummy when scooping it from the pot instead of light and fluffy.

Ways to Enjoy Brown Rice

Brown rice is truly a kitchen staple — willing and able to be used in all sorts of ways. It’s a side dish on its own, the base of a grain bowl or an easy lunch salad, a filling for burritos, or the start of a casserole. I often make a double batch for dinner and keep the leftovers in the fridge to use up during the week.

Since brown rice takes some time to cook, I also freeze bags of cooked grainsfor nights when I don’t have time to cook a fresh batch. It’s an easy way to make sure I always have some grains on hand when I need them.

How To Cook Brown Rice

Makes about 3 cups

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 1 cupmedium- or long-grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoonolive oil or sesame oil, optional
  • 2 cupswater
  • 1 teaspoonsalt
  • Equipment
  • Strainer or colander
  • 1-quart (or larger) pot with tight-fitting lid

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice: Place the rice in a large strainer or colander and rinse it thoroughly under cool water. There is no need to dry the rice before cooking; a bit of moisture on the rice is fine.
  2. Toast the rice (optional): Warm a teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat in the pot where you’ll cook the rice. Add the rice and toast until the rice is dry and starting to look slightly toasted on the tips. It will also start to smell fragrant and nutty.
  3. Combine the rice and water: Slowly pour the water into the pot with the rice — if you toasted the grains, the water will steam and bubble at first. Stir in a teaspoon of salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Make sure the liquid stops boiling and has reduced to a bare simmer over low heat, then cover the pot.
  5. Cook for 45 minutes. Do not uncover the pot to check the rice during cooking.
  6. Check the rice: At the end of the cooking time, remove the cover and check to see if all the water has been absorbed; a little water on the very bottom is fine, but if there’s more than a tablespoon, drain off the excess. At this point, the rice should also be chewy and tender, and no longer crunchy. If it’s still crunchy, add a little more water (if needed) and continue cooking; check every 10 minutes until the rice is done.
  7. Cover and let stand another 10 to 15 minutes: Take the rice off heat, and place the lid back on top. Let the rice stand another 10 to 15 minutes, covered. This last step prevents the rice from becoming overly sticky and helps it lose that wet, “just-steamed” texture.
  8. Fluff and serve: Use a fork to fluff the rice, then transfer it to a serving dish. Serve while warm.
  9. Store the leftovers: Let any leftovers cool completely, then transfer to storage containers. Refrigerate rice for 3 to 5 days. Brown rice can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Organic Brown Rice is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on The Kitchn

Benefits Of Kidney Beans And Recipes

One of the many varieties of beans, kidney beans are distinctive in their shape and color. They derive their name from their shape, similar to a kidney, and they are also red in color (in most cases). Considered a varietal of the common bean, which is scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, kidney beans are most frequently found in chili, a spicy stew, all around the world and is particularly popular in regions of India and throughout Central America. Kidney beans come in various types including white kidney beans, red kidney beans and light speckled kidney beans. You may also find them in striped, mottled, cream, purple and even black varieties.

Like many other types of beans, kidney beans are densely packed with nutrients that are critical to our health, which explains why they are a staple food in many cultural cuisines. For a relatively low cost, kidney beans can provide significant levels of dietary fiber, folate, phosphoruscopper, protein, ironmagnesiumpotassium, molybdenum and vitamin B1. A single cup of these beans represents at least 20% of your daily requirement for these nutrients; for some of these essential minerals and vitamins, it delivers more than 40% of the daily suggestion. The diverse range of nutrients naturally leads to an impressive list of health effects that these beans can provide.

Health Benefits Of Kidney Beans

The most notable health benefits of kidney beans include their ability to detoxify the body, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, increase muscle mass, prevent diabetes, boost circulation, reduce birth defect risk, stimulate the immune system, aid vision health, promote strong bones, support energy levels and strengthen cognitive health, among others.

Control Diabetes

The high level of dietary fiber found in kidney beans is great for people looking to control their diabetes or lower its risk. High-fiber foods can regulate the amount of blood sugar and insulin in the body, helping to reduce the dangers of spikes and drops in glucose, and stabilize energy levels.

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Another major benefit of the dietary fiber in kidney beans is its ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases. By providing a healthy balance to cholesterol, kidney beans can help lower your chances of developing atherosclerosis and suffering a heart attack.

Prevent Birth Defects

A single cup of kidney beans provides more than half of the recommended amount of folate in the body. Folic acid’s most notable benefit is that it can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infants, which makes it a critical nutrient for expecting mothers.

Promote Muscle Growth

Kidney beans are one of the best sources of plant protein that you can add to your diet, as a single cup offers nearly 15 grams of protein. Lean protein breaks down into crucial amino acids that are used for energy production and the growth of muscle tissue, so if you are trying to bulk up and burn fat, kidney bean-filled foods are an excellent option.

Boost Immune System

Although the amount of vitamin C is not as high as in other vegetables or fruits, it does contain more than 10% of your daily recommendation in each cup of kidney beans. This can stimulate the immune system and promote the production of white blood cells, which are the body’s first line of defense against foreign pathogens. It is also critical for collagen production, and thus helps repair processes throughout the body.

Eye Care

Boasting a high level of beta-carotene, which breaks down into vitamin A, kidney beans are known for their impact on vision health. Vitamin A specifically targets oxidative stress in the retina, helping to prevent the occurrence of macular degeneration and the development of cataracts.

Lower Blood Pressure

1 cup of kidney beans holds approximately 20% of your daily recommended amount of potassium, which is a critical vasodilator that can boost heart health. By reducing the amount of strain on the cardiovascular system and relaxing blood vessels and arteries, potassium helps to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and coronary heart disease.

Boost Circulation

There is an impressive amount of iron in kidney beans, with more than 20% of your daily recommended amount. Iron is a key component in the production of red blood cells, so a diet high in kidney beans will boost circulation and cardiovascular health, while also increasing energy levels and delivering oxygen to extremities and areas of the body that need resources the most.

Increase Bone Mineral Density

The list of minerals found in kidney beans includes phosphorus, magnesium, copper and manganese, all of which play a role in bone mineral density. Increasing your mineral uptake will lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, keeping you strong and active as you age.

Stimulate Energy Production

Manganese is an easily overlooked mineral but it plays dozens of key roles in the body, including the production of enzymes that are involved in energy production and mitochondrial function. This means more accessible energy in the body if you add these beans to your daily or weekly diet.

Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurodegenerative diseases come in many forms, but when it comes to preventing memory loss, thiamin has been heavily researched. Kidney beans possess high levels of this vitamin (B1), making it an ally for people as they age, particularly if they are at risk of cognitive decline or suffer from high levels of oxidative stress.

Improve Digestion

The most well known health benefit of kidney beans is the impact it can have on digestion. Dietary fiber is able to stimulate the production of gastric juices and promote peristaltic motion, which keeps the bowels moving normally. Regular consumption of these fiber-rich beans can help prevent symptoms of constipation and bloating, while also lowering your risk of colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids and ulcers.

Recipes For Kidney Beans

There are countless ways to add kidney beans to your diet but some of the best recipes include kidney bean curry and turkey chili.

Kidney Bean Curry

Ingredients:

Step 1 – Heat a saucepan, add vegetable oil and sauté sliced onion for 6-8 minutes.

Step 2 – Add the garlic and coriander and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Step 3 – Add the spices and stir thoroughly for 1 minute.

Step 4 – Add the tomatoes and kidney beans and bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 5 – Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the curry is thick.

Step 6 – Pour the curry over the cooked basmati rice, serve and enjoy!

Turkey Chili

Ingredients:

Step 1 – Cook the ground turkey in a pot until browned.

Step 2 – Add the onion and heat until it becomes translucent.

Step 3 – Add 1-2 cups of water to the mixture.

Step 4 – Add all other ingredients, including spices to taste.

Step 5 – Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower to a simmer.

Step 6 – Continue heating for 30-40 minutes on low heat.

Step 7 – Serve hot and enjoy!

Side Effects Of Kidney Beans

Despite the many health benefits of kidney beans, there are some important side effects to consider, including an elevated cancer risk, gastrointestinal problems, and hemagglutinin toxicity.

  • Cancer Risk – Folic acid is an important compound for a number of health issues but an excess of this compound can increase your risk of certain cancers. Eating more than 2-3 cups of these beans on a regular basis will significantly increase your cancer risk, so eat these beans in moderation.
  • Stomach Issues – The high level of fiber in kidney beans will help improve digestion, but an excess of fiber can have adverse effects on the gastrointestinal system, resulting in flatulence, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation and a higher risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Hemaggluttinin – Kidney beans have a notable amount of hemagglutinin, a compound that can stimulate gastric pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. This is quite rare, and is typically seen in people eating more than 3 cups of these beans per day.

15 High-Protein Bean Recipes to Celebrate #NationalBeanDay!

Protein is a popular topic in the plant-based world. To celebrate National Bean Day, we put together 15 high-protein bean dishes for you to try! We even snuck a healthy and delicious dessert in there! Beans are great because their flavor is easily masked by the other ingredients. They also store nicely (either dry or canned) to be used all year long! We have spicy, sweet, savory, meaty, and even salty bean dishes to fit anyone’s taste buds!

Hope you enjoy some of our favorite, high-protein bean dishes from the Food Monster App!

1. Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea ChiliVegan 3 bean kidney beans, lentils, and chickpea chili

Loaded with lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas, this chili is low in fat while being very high in pure plant-based protein! This Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea Chili will help to keep you fuller longer and less inclined to grab at that bag of potato chips later on in the evening.

2. Black-Eyed Pea and Leek Sausages Vegan Black-Eyed Pea and Leek Sausages with peppers

Infused with an abundance of spices and aromatic leeks, these Black-Eyed Pea and Leek Sausages are best served with a plate of vegetables and a side of sauerkraut or with pasta. They’re a cinch to make, too! Wheat protein flour gives them a delightfully meaty texture that’s reminiscent of classic sausages.

3. Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup

We all know how stress can take the life out of us! This is the time to slow down, take time to rest, enjoy nature, and savor warm, soothing soups… like this Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup! The combination of mung beans and spinach makes this dish not only protein-rich but also a nutritiously dense, balanced meal. When we eat according to our body constitution and in tune with the changing seasons, the natural outcome is detoxification and feeling healthier.

4. White Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burgers

Nothing beats a good ol’ veggie burger, especially when it can be made easily at home and is loaded up with nothing but the BEST ingredients. Not only that, but these White Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burgers are perfect for autumn, filling, healthy, and just plain adorable. The burgers are also healthy, easy to make, jam-packed with flavor, and will satisfy anyone’s taste buds, vegan or not.

5. Colombian Black Bean Stew colombian black bean stew

Not only is this Colombian Black Bean Stew super easy to make and utterly delicious, but it’s also extremely healthy, full of plant-based protein and fiber. It’s proof that healthy plant-based food does not need to be complicated or expensive. It uses inexpensive foods like black beans, onion, and garlic to make a hearty meal, especially when served with a side of grains and topped with sliced avocado.

6. White Bean Croutons Vegan Gluten-Free White Bean Croutons over salad

Whether you want to eat more beans or if you’re looking for gluten-free or healthier ”croutons ” then this White Bean Croutons recipe is for you! Some beans are delicious if they are a bit smaller and a bit more crispy (not undercooked!), but the larger beans such as giant white beans are really delicious if you overcook them so they fall apart. It’s such comfort food and also so satiating because of the fibers. Delicious!

7. Veggie Protein BurritosVegan Gluten-Free Veggie Protein Burritos cut in half

These protein-packed  Veggie Protein Burritos are the perfect make-and-freeze meal for quick, convenient lunches and dinners. They’re stuffed with quinoa and black beans, plus you can boost the protein content by throwing in tofu or meatless crumbles, so you can customize them to your favorite plant-based proteins.

8. Celery, Mushroom, and White Bean StewVegan Grain-Free Celery, Mushroom, and White Bean Stew with lemon wedge

If you’re craving a good, hearty stew, you can’t go wrong with this one! White beans, celery, and savory mushrooms are simmered in a tomato-based broth. This Celery, Mushroom, and White Bean Stew tastes even better the next day, once the flavors have had more time to marry.

9. Sweet Potato Black Bean Breakfast Hash Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Black Bean Breakfast Hash Topped with Avocado

This hearty Sweet Potato Black Bean Breakfast Hash packs your meal with flavor and a load of simple, whole food ingredients. Tender sweet potatoes and black beans are cooked with aromatic garlic and onion and seasoned with smoky paprika and cumin. Serve with avocado or a side of toast!

10. Pressure Cooker Hoppin’ John Vegan Gluten-Free Pressure Cooker Hoppin’ John with garnish

A Southern classic, made vegan! This easy, meat-free Pressure Cooker Hoppin’ John is the perfect dish to throw together whether you’re pressed for time or seeking a filling, budget-friendly meal. Black-eyed peas, wild rice, and tomatoes are stewed together in a pressure cooker for fast cooking. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, fear not! You can make this recipe on the stovetop as well.

11. Black Bean S’mores Brownies Vegan Grain-Free Black Bean S’mores Brownies with marshmallow topping

Utilizing black beans in brownie recipes is amazing because they are accessible, affordable, packed with protein, easy to use and create the perfect, buttery soft texture! These protein-packed Black Bean S’mores Brownies combine two of your all-time favorite sweets: fudgy brownies and ooey gooey s’mores. If you are in the mood for an indulgent treat that really isn’t that bad for you, whip up a batch of these brownies.

12. Bean and Vegetable Loaf Vegan Bean and Vegetable Loaf with tomatoes and spinach

Beans are the perfect base for a vegan take on the classic meatloaf. They provide all the protein, umami flavor, and dense texture that you expect from a meatloaf but are packed with fiber and are much healthier! This Bean and Vegetable Loaf is the perfect combination of meaty, savory, and filling!

13. Wild Rice and Beet Salad with Muhammara Bean Purée Vegan Gluten-Free Wild Rice and Beet Salad with Muhammara Bean Purée

This Muhammara is a roasted pepper based purée that is simple, seasonal, and so delicious to pair with the beet and rice salad. Traditionally, it is a Syrian roasted pepper, walnut, and pomegranate relish/dip for bread or meat but of course, we left all of that out in order to let its flavors truly shine.

14. Hearty Black Bean Soup Vegan Grain-Free Hearty Black Bean Soup with cream topping

This is a savory and Hearty Black Bean Soup that is chock full of black beans and is perfect on a cold wintery day. To give it a rich and smoky taste without bacon, this recipe includes some sun-dried tomatoes and grated smoked tofu. And if you don’t care for tofu, don’t worry; you only taste the smokiness, not the tofu.

15. Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Forget pizza and take-out, Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are now the ultimate feel-good dish! Top it up with some hearty black beans, some deliciously charred corn, and the perfect garlic-y tahini and you’ve got yourself a meal to cure any heartache! The beans give it a certain rich and earthy meatiness which pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the potato and the corn. Together with the velvety tahini sauce, you’ve got something that is completely addictive and absolutely good for you!

For more high-protein recipes, we suggest downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Colombian Black Bean Stew

Organic Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on One Green Planet