Here's food for thought: According to the USDA MyPlate healthy eating recommendations, it's a good idea to "Make at Least Half Your Grains Whole," and a great way to do so is with 100 percent whole-grain, U.S.-grown brown and wild rice.
Consider these facts:
- A half cup of brown or wild rice equals one of three recommended daily whole-grain servings.
- Wild rice provides many nutrients, protein and fiber, it's fat free, low in sodium and has a delicious nutty flavor and chewy texture.
-Both brown and wild rice add texture, crunch and color to any dish.
Recent research suggests that eating rice helps improve diet and manage weight and other risk factors for disease. Rice eaters consume a lower percentage of calories from fat and saturated fat compared to those who do not eat rice.
One way to enjoy brown and wild rice is in a hearty, gluten-free stuffing.
Apple-Sage Rice Stuffing
Makes 6 cups total
Serves 12; 1⁄2 cup per serving
4 ounces chopped pecans
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided use
11⁄2 cups diced celery
11⁄2 cups diced onions
1 medium red apple, such as Jonathan or Gala, halved, cored and diced (about 11⁄2 cups total)
2 cups hot cooked brown rice
1 cup hot cooked wild rice
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded (if desired) and finely chopped OR 1⁄4 tsp. dried pepper flakes
11⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 11⁄2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pecans and cook 2-3 minutes or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently. Set aside on separate plate. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium heat. Cook the celery and onions 8 minutes or until beginning to lightly brown on edges, stirring occasionally. Add the apples and cook 4 minutes or until tender crisp. Stir in the pecans and the remaining ingredients and cook 3-4 minutes or until the rice mixture is heated, stirring occasionally.
For more rice recipes and information, visit the USA Rice Federation at www.usarice.com and the California Wild Rice Advisory Board at www.cawildrice.com.
Nutritionists say it's smart to enjoy wild and brown rice in dishes such as this apple-sage stuffing.