Friday, January 7, 2011

Whole Grains Make Great "Spanish Rice" and Other Side Dishes

If you're trying to include more WHOLE grains in your diet, don't overlook the traditional white-rice side dishes. It's so easy to convert these recipes just by subsituting brown rice, cooked barley or other whole grains for the refined-carbohydrate white rice. Try these 3 recipes, then use the same strategy on your own favorite rice recipes.

Spanish Rice

2 cups cooked brown rice or barley

1 cup tomato sauce

1 bunch green onions, chopped (white part)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

pinch cayenne, to taste

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup sliced stuffed olives (optional)

Chopped cilantro or Italian parsley for garnish (optional)

Combine the grains, tomato sauce, onions and spices in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and olives and cook 2-3 minutes more. Garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired.

4 servings

Wild Rice with Dried Cherries or Cranberries

Here's a simple, festive side dish that's a favorite in our house.

4 cups cooked wild rice

1/2 cup dried cherries, dried cranberries or other dried fruit of your choice

Mix the dried fruit into the wild rice while it's still hot, or heat them together in the microwave.

4-6 servings


This traditional Indian rice dish is even more delicious, and certainly more healthful, when made with brown rice or barley.

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot

1/2 cup bouillon

4 cups cooked barley or brown rice

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 16-ounce can pink beans or kidney beans, drained

pinch cayenne, or to taste

1 cup frozen green peas

1 ripe tomato, chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or Italian parsley leaves

Bring the onion, green pepper, carrots and ginger root and 1/2 cup of bouillon to a boil and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat through.

6-8 servings

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Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at

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