Meatless Monday: Forbidden Rice Salad

Grain-based salads are a great option for on-the-go meals: they combine all the essentials of a meal into a neat, pretty and transportable package. Plus, the longer the salad sits in the refrigerator, the more the ingredients marinate, giving the dish more flavor. Make this salad for Meatless Monday, and then save the leftovers for small snacks and side dishes throughout the week. Forbidden rice — the backdrop for this colorful salad — offers a stickier, nuttier texture than white rice, plus extra fiber, protein and nutrients.

Ingredients

1 cup forbidden rice
1 ½ cups water 1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame, shelled
1 mango, chopped
½ cup mint, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 T olive oil
2 T lime juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Bring rice and water to a boil; cover, lower heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add more water as needed.

Combine vegetables, mango, cilantro, and mint in a bowl. Add rice; mix.

Add olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Why Should You Eat This?

Forbidden rice, an heirloom variety once reserved for emperors and nobles, owes its black or dark purple hue to anthocyanins — the same antioxidant found in blackberries and blueberries. In fact, a spoonful of forbidden rice contains more anthocyanins than a spoonful of blueberries, making it a powerful fighter against cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline. Forbidden rice is also rich in iron and vitamin E, and because the bran is left intact, it boasts a considerable amount of fiber.

Even though this is a grain-based salad, vegetables are still the main component. In fact, there’s about a 5:1 ratio of vegetables to grains! And because 75% of Americans fall short on the recommended intake of five daily servings of produce, planning your meals around vegetables — as opposed to a carb or protein — is an easy way to boost your intake. Adding vegetables and fruits to your meals (and not just a salad with dinner) not only adds vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; it may also help you drop pounds. According to a study published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women who added two servings of produce a day lost three pounds without adjusting anything else in their diet or exercise routines. Grain-based salads are an easy way to add those two servings with the added benefit of satiating fiber- and protein-rich grains.

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