Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Amy Machnak

Here's a side, a soup, and a dessert that show off the whole grain's versatility and chewy goodness

Molly Watson,  – January 2, 2008

Toothsome and satisfying, brown rice is rice that hasn’t been messed with. Any type of white rice ― long-grain, short-grain, basmati ― begins as brown rice, which means its outer layer of bran has not yet been removed.

You want the bran: Brown rice has more fiber, fatty acids, B vitamins, and magnesium (among other vitamins and minerals) than does white rice, and its dense, chewy texture is great in salads, soups, stuffings, and casseroles.

It takes longer to cook (about 50 minutes), so we like to steam up a large batch and freeze portions, since it defrosts nicely in a microwave or at room temp ― or in the refrigerator overnight.

Nutted Brown Rice Pilaf
Nuts bring flavor, richness, and protein to this hearty side dish. We like this pilaf with roast pork or as a vegetarian main dish, served with sautéed greens and roasted sweet potatoes

Green Tea Soup
A simple broth of green tea poured over brown rice and fish makes an easy and healthful week-night meal. Try shredded leftover chicken or diced tofu instead of black cod. We’re partial to the extra-chewy texture of short-grain rice for this soup, but it’s also a great way to use leftover rice of any sort. Garnishes and flavorings are equally flexible ― cilantro, hot sauce, or nut oils would be fun to experiment with.

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding
This is our brown rice take on classic coconut sticky rice. The long cooking time yields an unctuous sauce that clings to the spoon. We love it with the tang of dried apricots on top, but feel free to customize it with fresh tropical fruit (mango is particularly tasty) or berries.

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