Brown rice is to healthy eaters what money is to penny-pinching people…in a nutshell, eatable gold! We’re told that brown rice has much more fibres, minerals (potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese…) and proteins than regular white rice, by virtue of being unrefined and whole. More minerals, and especially manganese means more harmony in your body and all round better nervous and reproductive systems, more proteins means more energy available and more muscles (well, after a though process we usually call sport…) and more fibres means happier, lighter and healthier guts!
I am using peppers in the recipe for many reasons, ones that you would not want to know about and another that your bones and joints would thank me for. Peppers are powerhouses of vitamin C; it’s quite obvious that you’re losing some of it in the cooking process, but if you cook them slowly and lovingly, they might give you a little more vitamin C, which is crucial in the battle against inflammations, especially arthritis. Forget about dating and focus on your peppers, they will serve you more!
Enough benefits talking, let’s move on to the flavours. I am sure you’ve all heard about miso (no worries if you have not!), or at least tried a miso soup one day. Well, it is almost the same idea; miso paste is made out of fermented soy and a mix of other ingredients that would be too boring to list, and has a distinctive sweet and yet salty flavour, that I would not be able to describe…the sole solution: try it and you’ll love it! Along with the mustard and maple syrup, it gives this salad a very profound, earthy and a little spicy taste, that goes perfectly with the nutty taste of brown rice and the sweet hints of the peppers. The sage brings a tiny herby flavour to it that it just to die for. I love this dish fresh, but you could totally have it hot for those cold autumn days. It makes a perfect student lunch as well, full of energy and benefits to fuel that sweaty brain – and since it’s eatable cold, no need to microwave it and at the same time, tearing your nervous system down with those bloody waves…just saying!
Brown Rice Salad with a Miso & Mustard Dressing
Portions: 3 to 4 (if just a side dish).
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
For the rice salad:
- 250g of short grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
- 700ml of lukewarm water
- 1 – 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 bell peppers (any colour), cored and sliced vertically
- 8 sage leaves, sliced very finely
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp of Dijon grain mustard
- 2 tsp of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaped tbsp of white miso paste (gluten free certified)*
- 5 tbsp of cold-pressed olive oil
- Sea salt & black pepper
For the toppings:
- 1 tbsp of black sesame seeds + 1 tbsp of white sesame seeds
- Fresh radishes, sliced
*You can find miso paste in any health food store, or some pharmacies as well, at least in Switzerland. However, it will be easier for you to find pure soy miso round here (meaning Switzerland), a miso paste that is made solely of fermented soy and sea salt. I am using this one for the recipe and absolutely love it!
(1) Start by cooking the brown rice. Place the rinsed brown rice in a large saucepan, cover with the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, uncover and cook it until all the water has been absorbed.
(2) Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan, then brown the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the sliced bell peppers and the sliced sage, stir gently and cover with 500ml of water. Cook until all the water has boiled off and that the peppers are tender.
(3) Stir all the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl together and set aside.
(4) Once your rice is cooked, add the olive oil so that it does not stick, spread it out on large plate, in a thin layer and let it cool down completely. Then, add it to a large mixing bowl and with a fork, bring some air in between the grains.
(5) Add the cooked and tender peppers to the rice, along with the dressing. Mix it all together and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
(6) Just before serving, place the rice salads in bowls or small plates and decorate with the mix of sesame seeds, some additional sliced sage and a few sliced radishes. Enjoy!