How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice & Whole Grains
The amount of confusion around whole grains and carbs these days is enough to boggle anyone’s mind! I constantly get questions from friends, family and clients who want to know if they should be avoiding gluten, cutting out carbs, and which one means they can’t have bread! SO - I wanted to get some good info out there for you all!
First off - what is a whole grain? A whole grain, like a whole food, is any grain you would eat WHOLE - as in, it hasn’t been stripped, shelled or pulverized. Flour of any kind, and therefore bread, pasta, cake, etc - is not a whole grain. It could have been made from a whole grain (though most often, isn’t). But once it’s in powder form, it’s not longer whole. Rice (some rices have been stripped, look for long or whole grain), corn, quinoa, barley, farro, millet, kasha and oats are all whole grains.
While all grains are a carbohydrate, they do NOT all contain gluten. So for a lot of people who are on a gluten free diet, you still have lots of options like rice, corn, quinoa and oats (depending on how severe your allergy is, look for oats that are processed in a gluten-free facility). Whole grains also contain essential enzymes, iron, fiber, Vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. So in general, I would say, no, they’re not bad for you. In the U.S. we just don’t eat enough of them whole, and we don’t get enough variety. I would encourage all of you to purchase a grain you’ve never tried before and make it this week. Most of them are available in grocery stores these days. And they’re all rather simple to cook.
Below you can watch my video on whole grains, AND how to make a perfect pot of brown rice. Rice is probably the most eaten grain worldwide, considering it’s a staple in Asia, India and most of South and Central America. You have to figure with a majority of the planet eating the stuff, it’s probably not hurting anyone. Brown rice still has it’s hull, or bran, which is what protects the grain and contains healthy fats. It also has the most B-vitamins of all the grains. After watching the episode - check out my favorite fast and easy rice based meal (literally for any time of day!) And, you can download my Whole Grain Guide here!
Perfect Brown Rice
1 c. brown rice
2 c. water (or stock)
pinch of salt (generous)
1 Tbs. olive oil
Combine rice and liquid in a medium sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. Add salt and olive oil. Bring to a boil.
Stir the rice. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, untouched for about 20-25 minutes. Longer for a softer grain. Turn off the heat, tilt the lid and let the rice steam for 5 minutes. Serve hot, or store in refrigerator. Cooked rice will last up to a week in an airtight container.
Quick Rice Bowl
Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine
1/2 C. cooked brown rice (reheated if necessary)
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp. red wine vinegar + 1/4 tsp.
salt and pepper
Toss warm rice with 1 tsp. vinegar, scallions, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Set a small sauce pan over low heat and add 1 c. water and 1/4 tsp. vinegar. Bring to a simmer, stir the water to create a “whirlpool” effect. crack the egg into the water. Cook for 2 minutes, watching to make sure the bubbles don’t break the egg - you may have to adjust the heat a bit as you go. Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg onto a piece of paper towel.
Top rice with egg, add sliced avocado if desired.