Looking for an easy vegetarian recipe or an alternative to boring ole’ white or brown rice? I’ve recently discovered Forbidden Rice, an exotic and somewhat pretentious name for black rice, and I highly recommend trying it. I first had it at a Los Angeles restaurant called Flower Child. It was so good that when I got home I immediately tried to recreate the recipe. There are a few reasons why I’m loving this rice. Not only does it come out with a risotto-like texture, but the grains contain an extraordinary amount of anthocyanin, the powerful antioxidant responsible for giving certain foods like blueberries or eggplants their beautiful purple color (source: Modern Farmer).
When recreating the recipe from Flower Child, I had to do a bit of guess work. I ended up just using whatever veggies I had leftover in the fridge, but the ones used at the restaurant were broccoli, carrot, snap peas, japonica, onion, and bok choy. I’ve never heard of or seen japonica in a store or at a farmers market, so I left that one out. Here is how I prepared this delicious meal using what I already had on hand:
-1 cup Forbidden Rice, soaked or rinsed thouroughly and drained
-2 cups water
-1/2 chicken bouillion cube
-1 head of broccoli, chopped
-1 zucchini, chopped inot 1/4 inch rounds
-1 carrot, julienned
-1 onion, small diced
-5 cloves of garlic, small diced
-dried chili flakes
-1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1- Add rinsed rice to a small pot with 2 cups water, the boullion cube and ghee (optional). *Note- I barely salt the water since the boullion contains salt. Cook over high heat on the stove until boiling, then cover and reduce heat to low for about 20 mintues or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave lid on.
2- While the rice cooks, heat a medium-sized pan over medium high heat. Add sesame to the pan. Add the carrots and broccoli first. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for about five minutes or until slightly soft. Next, add the zucchini, onion, and garlic. Lightly season again with salt and pepper and add the chili flakes. Add more sesame oil if necessary. Cook about 5-6 minutes, or until everything is softened. Turn heat to low.
3- Add the cooked rice to the pan of vegetables and toss to thoroughly combine everything. Serve and enjoy this healthy meal!
It’s so important to have a nutritious breakfast. You want your kids to start the morning with something that’ll fuel them for a large portion of their day. I believe superfoods, protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber are all vital for energy, sharp focus, growth, a strong immune system, vibrant skin, and healthy digestion.
Steer clear of sugary breakfast foods and beware of misleading labels. Sugar is addictive and horrible for your health, so power your kids with something nutritious in the morning instead! Juice also has a lot of sugar in it and lacks the fiber that fruit provides. Your kids may show symptoms of an intolerance too (milk is a common one), so for a morning beverage, try a healthy smoothie or fruit-infused waters. Lemon, cucumber, berries…any combination that tastes good in your water. I keep a large container of infused water in my fridge so it’s convenient at any time. If you have fizzy water you can add fruit to that too.
Here are five breakfast recipes that will taste like a treat!
- chia seed pudding – Chia seeds are packed with protein, omega-3s, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants. When the chia seeds expand in liquid they become gelatinous, and that actually helps cleanse your digestive system. I love chia seed pudding too because there are so many ways to have it! Chocolate, strawberry, almond, coconut, etc… If your kids are up for trying this I think they might like it!
- banana peanut butter open face sandwich – Bananas are great. They offer fiber, a ton of potassium, and lots of vitamins. They sustain blood sugar and boost energy. Add some peanut butter and nuts on top for protein, healthy fat, and fiber among other vitamins which will all naturally provide energy for longer periods of time without a huge crash like you get after eating sugar.
- Bacon, Eggs, and Apple Slices – Believe it or not, if you buy quality bacon and pastured eggs and you add some apple, you got a well balanced meal. There are so many ways to quickly make eggs. If you can get your kid to do a scramble one day and add some vegetables that would be awesome! Look for nitrate free, or uncured, bacon. It doesn’t have added chemicals. This meal will give your kid protein and fiber, and if you cook the eggs in a healthier oil like extra virgin olive oil or a little quality organic butter, then your kid will also get brain-fueling, healthy fat. I recommend using one egg yolk for every two egg whites. The whites have all the protein, and the yolk contains the healthy fat.
- french toast with berries – French toast was always one of my childhood favorites. However, I remember always feeling sick after eating it (especially after drenching the toast in Aunt Jemima syrup). This recipe uses healthier substitutes like cottage cheese and almond milk, which eliminates some of the dairy that many kids are intolerant to.
- Jessica’s superfood smoothie (serves 2) – I love starting my morning off with this energizing smoothie. It’s full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, protein, and omegas. I add a handful of spinach to my drink, but that’s totally optional. I blend:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup organic strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon flaxseed, 1 tablespoon hemp seed (I eyeball it for all the seeds)
1 scoop maca powder (amazing health benefits)
2 teaspoons bee pollen (high in protein!)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
Blend everything and enjoy this energy drink. Serve alongside some avocado toast.
FYI- some of the seeds and maca powder can be found for a better price in the bulk bins at Whole Foods.