Brown rice with fennel and beans. Gluten-free, vegan.

Turn brown rice from boring to brilliant, with this easy, nutrient packed recipe!

© Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

© Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

As a Registered Dietitian, I can almost predict the reaction I get from my patients when I suggest incorporating brown rice into their meals to get the whole grain benefits. I either get a skeptical, “you gotta be kidding me ” look, or a strong protest, “but it’s so tasteless!” The fact of the matter is that, with a few simple ingredients, you can transform plain and mundane brown rice to creamy and delicious! What’s more-the recipe packs an array of nutrients such as beta carotene or Vitamin A from carrots, antioxidants from garlic and fennel, protein and fiber from the beans, as well as B vitamins and fiber from the brown rice. By combining whole grains from the brown rice with protein from the beans and healthy fats from olive oil, along with veggies to boot, the recipe incorporates the key elements of a complete meal, all in one bowl!

Beans are an inexpensive source of nutrients. © Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

Beans are an inexpensive source of nutrients, and pack a hefty amount of fiber per 1/2 cup serving. © Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, about 3/4 cup, peeled and sliced into 1/4 ” semi-circles
  • 2 stalks of fennel, about 1 cup, stems chopped, into 1/4 “-1/2 ” pieces
  • 1/4 cup fennel leaves, coarsely chopped + 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 cup raw, California brown basmati rice, pre-soaked in boiling hot water for several hours, water discarded before using*
  • 1 cup red or pink canned beans, washed and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3.5 cups + 2 tbsp unsalted vegetable broth
  • 1.25 tsp salt, or per taste

Method: 

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a thick bottomed large saucepan.
  2. Add the freshly chopped garlic, and saute for a minute, until garlic turns a pale golden brown. Regulate heat to ensure that the garlic does not burn.
  3. Now add onions, sauteing until  they turn soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Bring the unsalted broth to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan.
  5. Add the turmeric, ground cumin, ground fennel, chopped carrots, whole chopped fennel, and fennel leaves, stirring them into the onion mixture.

    © Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

    © Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

  6. Stir in the brown rice and salt into the onion-veggie mixture, until well incorporated.

    © Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

    Brown rice is sautéed with carrots, fennel, garlic and onions. © Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

  7. Add the boiling broth, turn the heat to high and stir the mixture for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Now turn the heat to low, cover pan with a tight-fitting lid, and allow to cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Gently fold in the rinsed, canned beans
  10. Garnish with the remaining fennel leaves and serve hot.
© Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

© Copyright, December, 2015, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

Chef’s tip: The rice in this recipe is somewhat al dente if you use the suggested amount of broth. Increase to 4 cups of broth if you prefer to eat rice with a softer/mushier texture. If you are unfamiliar with cooking brown rice, an easier option would be to cook the raw brown rice separately in broth per package directions. Follow recipe exactly as noted, except fold in the pre-cooked brown rice in step 6 and omit steps 7 and 8.

A Registered Dietitian’s tip: 

Beans are a power house of nutrients, providing healthy carbohydrates, proteins, B vitamins, as well as potassium and magnesium. A 1/2 cup of cooked beans or  lentils can pack anywhere from 6, to up to 10 grams of fiber. Talk about getting the biggest bang for your buck!

Shortfall nutrient: Despite all the accumulating evidence touting the benefits of fiber, it sadly remains a “shortfall” nutrient with most Americans consuming barely 15 grams per day. Less than 5% of most age and gender subgroups have usual intakes of fiber that meet the adequate intake (AI) level of 25 to 38 grams/day identified by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

You may want to double the beans in this recipe to increase the amount of fiber per serving.

*Disclaimer: Please note that rice, and in particular brown rice has been associated with increased arsenic intake. Please scroll down for more information about arsenic in the food supply, what you can do to reduce your risk, and resources you could go to, for further information.

What you should know about arsenic: There has been some concern about arsenic in the food supply, in particular fruit juices, and rice based products. Although arsenic is found naturally in soil and groundwater, it is the inorganic form that is toxic, associated with cancer, skin lesions, neurotoxicity and diabetes.

Why does rice have higher levels of arsenic? Unlike most other crops, the rice paddies are repeatedly flooded with water, to 1/3 of the rice stalk height. As a result, it’s roots readily absorb arsenic from the groundwater and soil. Brown rice has a higher nutrient content than white, however polished white rice has a lower arsenic content as the polishing process strips the outer layers where the arsenic is concentrated.

So what can you do to reduce your own exposure?

  • Eat a varied diet (one should do that anyway to optimize nutrient intake), and try out alternative whole grains to rice such as quinoa, barley, oats, couscous, buckwheat or  bulgur. This will limit your exposure to arsenic from the food supply.
  • Boil brown rice in a lot of water (as you do with pasta), then discard the water. Evidence suggests that can lower arsenic levels.
  • Avoid rice originating from South central states such as Arkansas. These states have the dubious distinction of growing rice with higher levels of arsenic compared to the rest of the country, owing to the liberal use of arsenic containing pesticides used on the cotton crop in that region. Rice grown in California (used in this recipe), is believed to have lower levels of arsenic.

For more information, please visit the FDA  site as well as the consumer reports website.

Nutrient analysis: Myfitnesspal.com. Myfitnesspal.com is an independent website that is not in any way affiliated with this blog.

Nutrient analysis: Myfitnesspal.com. Myfitnesspal.com is an independent website that is not in any way affiliated with this blog.

Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your personal physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

Advertisements

About Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! If you are confused with all the conflicting messages you get bombarded with every day on carbs, fats, proteins, gluten and anything you can think of related to nutrition, look no further! The purpose of my blog is to cut through all this clutter, utilizing scientific, evidence based guidelines to help you, the consumer, navigate the complex, dietary landscape, and thus empower you to make informed decisions.
This entry was posted in Get cooking, Main dishes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Brown rice with fennel and beans. Gluten-free, vegan.

  1. Looks delicious. Did not realize the rice grown here in Arkansas had more arsenic than elsewhere. I use a lot of oats and buckwheat in our diet and I love cumin, turmeric, and fennel, they are very good for your diet. I know beans and lentils are very good for us. Nice post. Thanks for the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Lizzie. Love the feedback. Have a wonderful 2016😊, Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks scrumptious and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth! Happy And Healthy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Indira says:

    Happy and Healthy New Year dear. I tried brown rice once but was unable to finish it. Your recipe looks yummy, I’ll try again. Can you suggest something for me I’m 68 and suffer from allergy( sneezing, running nose and eyes, irritation in throat) throughout the year.

    Like

  6. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for another great recipe, and for the advice on lowering arsenic content in rice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks delicious. Have you weighed in on the rice and arsenic topic yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey, there’s your arsenic! I was so taken by the photos, missed it on the first pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Indira, it would be challenging if not impossible to suggest a remedy online. We need more evidence to this effect, but based upon preliminary data, there may be some benefit to trying established probiotics and including prebiotic rich foods on a regular basis in your diet. This is still an emerging field, and by no means the be all and end all, but worth trying. Please consult your personal physician before starting a trial of probiotics. I have enclosed the links to my articles on probiotics and prebiotics in this comment. Hope this helps. All the very best. Take care. 😊

    Like

  10. Dear Debbie,
    You are more than welcome. Yes, cannot include a recipe on brown rice without discussing arsenic. Thank you for your kind feedback as always. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No worries, Julia. Hope this helps. I have enclosed the links to other sites for more information. Cheers! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sheryl says:

    I really enjoy how you combine great recipes with extra nutritional information. You are so knowledgeable about food and nutrition.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sheryl, that’s such a wonderful compliment. Thank you so much! I try to add nutrition tid- bits as and when I can, to help folks make the critical connection between what they eat, and how it impacts their health. Ultimately, nutrition has to be translated into every day foods we can actually enjoy, and my recipes serve as tools that readers can use to do so. Appreciate the great feedback😊!

    Like

  14. Indira says:

    Thanks Sangeeta. I’m desperate. I have tried so many therapies, alternate therapies also. I take curd and Befelec on daily basis. No use. Dr. prescribe anti allergy and anti biotics which does not work and feel sleepy all the time. Thanks again for your reply.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Indira, it might be worthwhile to set up an appointment with a reputed allergy specialist first and foremost, and then if need be, a Registered Dietitian close to where you live, (I’m assuming you live in India), who could analyze your diet and make some recommendations. Try to minimize your intake of processed foods and eat more whole, less refined foods to see if it might help, but that’s very generic advice, you may benefit from specific recommendations customized for you from an expert who lives in your neck of the woods. These are just my 2 cents, please consult your personal physician for targeted advice. Thanks, and my very best! Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Indira says:

    I’m 68 and seen lots of Doctors wherever I had been posted in India. I take very simple food for years. It’s okay dear. Thanks for your concern. Now I’m just waiting for a miracle.:)

    Like

  17. All the best, Indira. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Indira says:

    Thanks dear.

    Like

  19. I’m going to give this a go. Hitherto I have avoided brown rice and I generally dislike fennel, but the combination sounds attractive. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You are more than welcome. You can always substitute other herbs such as basil or cilantro instead of fennel. Hope that works for you. Happy and Healthy New Year! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  21. BroadBlogs says:

    Looks yummy and healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks, hope you try it😊!

    Like

  23. Blushstopshere says:

    I’m always looking for a good brown rice recipe. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My pleasure! Hope you like it😊!

    Like

  25. This looks indeed very tempting and really healthy…always your recipe are so beautifully described and added with the lovely picture, it is sumptuous for both the eyes and the mouth…
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you for the kind compliment, Nihar. Good nutrition can only take one so far- at the end of the day, it needs to be translated into real food that we can all enjoy! Thank you so much for stopping by😊!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I always contested that healthy food and taste never goes together and here I have been proven wrong, I am happy to be proven wrong and love the display, the recipe and the the taste all adds up so well, like a perfect recipe book.
    Always my pleasure to read such delicious post.
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thank you, Nihar! So glad you mentioned that. As a Registered Dietitian, I am always telling folks that with the right combination of ingredients and medley of nutrients, you can make food nutritious, but aesthetically appealing and pleasing to the taste buds as well! And it does not have to be super complicated either! When fellow bloggers like you and readers share that perspective, it makes my day! Thanks as always! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  29. It is always a pleasure reading your rich post and so much depth and research in unearthing the right recipe… it is informative, insightful and healthy food for thoughts…

    Yes, we all miss this right combination of health and taste in our food…and we blame the cooking.
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

  30. You said it!! So true! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I soak the beans 12 hrs and remove the foam in the first cooking to remove the phytic acid and gas. Veggies look fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thankyou for bringing that up. Beans contain fermentable carbs called oligosaccharides that cannot be digested by human enzymes, but are fermented by bacteria in our colon causing gas. Pre-soaking and discarding the water helps with flatulence as explained at the bottom of this post. Also phytic acid in plant foods inhibits the absorption of non heme iron derived from in plant based foods such as spinach and legumes. Pairing with MFP factor or Vitamin C helps absorb teh non-heme iron. Excellent feedback. Thank you so much:))

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s