Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sprouted Brown Rice, Waterlessly-Cooked Broccoli and Seitan with Marinara, Salad

We enjoyed celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday yesterday by visiting a nice children's museum a little over an hour away and stopping in Greensboro, NC enroute home to eat at a restaurant that we like, Sticks and Stones. They use a clay wood-burning oven to make tasty pizza, including many vegan options (without cheese or with vegan Daiya brand "cheese" that my daughter loves).

We also stopped by a Whole Foods Market where I was happy to find in the bulk section some germinated (sprouted) brown rice (GBR).
This was a short-grained brown rice, and the Lundberg rice company recommends a ratio of 1 part rice to 1 3/4 part water simmered for 30m and then, removing from heat but not taking the cover off, steaming for another 10m. I've seen slightly different suggestions, so decided to go with a 1:2 ratio for 25-30m followed by 10m of steaming.

Sprouting of rice is said to be beneficial because it takes about half the time to cook, is easier to digest and less heavy than regular brown rice, and because it boosts gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that is said to have a variety of benefits, including boosting one's immunity and lowering blood pressure. It is softer than regular brown rice (i.e., when cooked) and is said to have a milder flavor.

I was anxious to try GBR and decided to cook it with broth, as I usually do, but with no other additions. Incidentally, I found a nice article on making GBR which involves soaking the raw rice for up to 3 days in water kept at around 86-104°F. It seems to me, akin to the yogurt function, that this could be a nice feature for a future version of the Instant Pot that I love to use and it looks like the new model just out that supports a smart phone (which I don't have!) should be able to do it! In fact, the new model allows one to get real-time data about the cooking and create custom recipes which can then be shared. Wow! But I digress. Here is what I did for dinner tonight:


  • A bit over half a cup of germinated brown rice
  • Twice as much water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 3 scallions cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 bunch broccoli, stems saved (for future use) and cut into mouth-sized florets (approximately a cup or bit more)
  • 6 ounces seitan chunks
  • Approx. 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped


  • I put the rice, water, and bouillon cube into a small stock pan and brought to a boil.
  • I covered the rice and simmered on low for a half hour, then removed from heat and let it sit for 10m.
  • When I was ready to serve, I (should have but forgot to!) stirred the rice first.
  • While the rice was cooking, I made the main dish by putting into a large Saladmaster stock pot, (in this order) the scallions, broccoli, and seitan. I covered and cooked on medium high till the vapor lock began rattling, then cooked for about 20m on low heat.
  • I mixed the marinara in, let it get heated over low heat, and served my daughter (who doesn't love garlic), then added the garlic and let it continue to simmer on low a few minutes before serving to my wife and myself.


Dinner was good and satisfying. But let me get directly to the rice. My wife couldn't tell a difference between the GBR and regular brown rice. That surprised me; maybe I'm a super taster or just a foodie, but I found it significantly different. The rice was softer and less chewy, as I had read it would be. I like chewy rice, so this wasn't an advantage. I found the flavor rather muted. I like the taste of brown rice, so this, also, wasn't an advantage.

I should do more research into whether GBR really has significant health benefits. It was significantly more expensive then regular brown rice and, even if I start making it myself, does take extra effort. I didn't mind how it came out in terms of taste or texture, and it does have the benefit of adding an interesting taste variation on brown rice. The quick cooking of GBR isn't a big benefit for me as I typically use whole-grain rices like Jade pearl or Madagascar pink which cook in even less time; alternatively, I could cook rice under pressure in a shortened time.

I classify this meal as no-added-fat, though I added just a few sunflower and hemp seeds to the salad. By the way, I also made a drink with a little bit of fat. I've been buying and enjoying fresh pineapple recently, and while I was cooking tonight, I decided to make a pina colada drink; I blended 1/2 can (there is 24g of fat in the full 13.5 ounce can, and I made drinks for my wife, daughter and myself, so we each got about 4g of fat) of reduced fat coconut milk with a bit of pineapple (including the core) and frozen strawberries - plus a touch of maple syrup. I also mixed in just a bit of carbonated water. The strawberry pina colada was great and well worth making again, though with strawberry, it didn't need the extra sweetness of the maple.

Ideas for the future

The garlic was a welcome addition tonight; my Dad doesn't eat garlic but didn't eat dinner with us tonight. The main course would have been even better if the garlic were cooked into it from the beginning. A bit of nutritional yeast and basil would also be nice in the main course.

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