Quick variations on a healthy staple.
With these creative ways to embellish brown rice from the new book, The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health, you can try a different variety everyday for two weeks.
RELATED: 10 Healthy Brown Rice Recipes
Basic recipe: Plain Rice
1 cup rinsed and drained brown rice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
In a saucepan on high heat, stir together the rice, oil and salt and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, stir once and simmer uncovered until tender, about 45 minutes. If you like softer rice, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water.
1. Onion-herb rice
Before adding the rice to the saucepan, cook 1/3 cup diced onions and the salt in the oil, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb (thyme, terragon and oregano are good options) and then the water. Or stir 2 or 3 teaspooons freshed herbs into the cooked rice.
2. Saffron Rice
Crumble a pinch of saffron into the rice when you add the water. Remember, a little goes a long way. Saffron rice is also good with onions. Cook 1/3 cup diced onions in the oil before adding the raw rice.
3. Indian Rice
Add 3 whole cloves, 3 cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick with the water. Remove them when the rice is done. A pinch of saffron adds another dimension to this aromatic rice.
4. Coconut rice
Replace half of the water with unsweetened coconut milk. Or add 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut with the raw rice.
5. Ginger rice
Add 3 slices fresh ginger root and a garlic clove with the water and then remove them when the rice is done.
6. Sesame rice
Add 1/4-cup sesame seeds with the raw rice and omit the salt. To the cooked rice, add 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil and soy sauce to taste.
7. Ginger-sesame rice
With the rice, add 1/4-cup sesame seeds and omit the salt, and add 3 slices fresh ginger root and a garlic clove with the water. To the cooked rice, add 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil and soy sauce to taste.
8. Jeweled rice
To the ginger rice, sesame rice or ginger-sesame rice, add about 1/3 cup diced red bell peppers and 1/3 cup green peas during the last 10 minutes of simmering. When the rice is done, toss in 1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced scallions.
9. Zesty rice
Add a generous teaspoon of freshly grated lemon, orange or lime zest with the raw rice.
10. South of the Border rice
When you cook the raw rice in the oil, add 1/2-teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 garlic clove and 1 small chile pepper. When the rice is done, remove the garlic clove and chile and stir in 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes and 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.
11. Wild rice pilaf
In place of 1/2 cup of the brown rice, use 1/3-cup wild rice. When you add the rice to the pot, add 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary or 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs and a garlic clove. When the rice is done, stir in 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley.
12. Red rice pilaf
Replace 1/3 cup of the brown rice with 1/3-cup wehani or other red rice. With the raw rice, add a bay leaf and 1/4-teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne. When the rice is done, stir in 1/4 cup chopped pecans and 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped scallions. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
13. Italian rice
Add 1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes with the water. When the rice is cooked, stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil. Top with 2 or 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts just before serving.
14. Fruit and nuts rice
Toss the cooked rice with 1/2-cup currants or chopped apricots or other dried fruit and 1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts.