Black Rice, Edamame, Butternut Squash & Sesame Salad.

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Ingredients

Black rice
Butternut squash
Edamame beans
Sesame seeds
Pomegranate seeds
Scallions

Dressing:
Lime juice (1 small lime)
Orange juice (1/2 orange)
Unseasoned rice vinegar (1 tbsp approx)
Sesame oil (few drops)
Maple syrup (2 tbsp approx)
Braggs or soy sauce (2 tbsp approx)
Sriracha to taste

Instructions

1. Rinse the black rice well. In a pot, add 1 cup of black rice to 1 1/2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil covered, and reduce to a simmer to cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand covered for a few more minutes before fluffing to serve.
2. While the rice is cooking, season the butternut squash with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of Chinese Five Spice. Lay the squash pieces evenly on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 350-400 for 30 minutes.
3. Finely chop the scallions and set aside. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet and set aside.
4. Boil the shelled edamame beans in salted water for 5 minutes or so.
5. Once all the components are prepped, assemble the salad and spoon over the dressing – ENJOY!

Black rice is one of numerous varieties of rice that is grown in parts of China, Indonesia, Thailand, and  India. It has a satisfying tender texture/bite, a wonderful sweet nutty flavour, and fragrant aroma. Compared to brown or basmati rice, black rice is higher in nutrients, specifically iron, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium and antioxidants – indicated by its dark purple pigment (like dark coloured berries!). In fact, the outermost layer of brown rice, the hull, contains one of the highest levels of Anthocyanin antioxidants (anti-cancer properties) found in food. Black rice contains about double the protein in brown rice, making it a more nutritious and efficient protein source for plant-based eaters. It is can be used in both sweet and savoury preparations, eaten as a warm breakfast ‘porridge’, in a simple side dish, as a main dish like this complete-meal salad, or in a dessert like my favourite Thai style ‘mango & sticky rice’!

Combined with organic, GMO-free, edamame beans, this black rice recipe provides a complete spectrum of amino acids/plant-based protein. Half a cup of edamame beans podded (1 serving), provides 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Organic edamame beans are found in the frozen section of the health food department of your supermarket and at most health food stores.  Seapoint farms is the brand I prefer for organic edamame beans. The addition of toasted sesame seeds not only enhances the nutty flavour of the black rice, but is also a source of calcium, iron, magnesium, protein, fiber, and good un-saturated fats.

You can find black rice at some health food stores and  gourmet grocers. I suggest calling your local shop in advance, to ask if they stock the product. If they do not, I encourage you to ask if they may be able to order it, as many grocers are open to serving their customers this way. Ordering specialty food items like this online can be quick and easy – find black rice on Amazon.com HERE!

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