Last weekend my boyfriend made me dinner and because he is typically a steak and frites kind of guy, I was quite impressed with his choice of wild and brown rice with tons of veggies made to accompany our grilled fish. While healthy is not usually his first priority when it comes to food, he knows vegetables are a sure way to charm his nutritionist girlfriend. And thus, consider this is my personal guarantee to you that this recipe is both easy and delicious and has my nutritionist seal of approval.
There were three local ingredients in this recipe: garlic, onions and asparagus and the remaining items didn’t travel too far across mama earth to get to the kitchen. Fresh onions and garlic in Ontario this time of year are amazing so I implore you to check out your local farmers’ market and simply follow your nose to the freshest ingredients.
As anyone who has done even the smallest amount of cooking knows, garlic and onions go into just about every recipe, which is a good thing according to the many experts and nutritionists like myself who consider them superfoods with seemingly endless health benefits.
Health benefits and recipe
Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B6, C, manganese and selenium. Many studies show that garlic decreases total serum cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol, aptly named “good” cholesterol and a protective factor against heart disease. Remember to store garlic at room temperature, uncovered in a cool, dark place to help prevent spoiling and sprouting. And here’s another helpful tip: Always let your garlic sit for 10 minutes after cutting it to help promote a phytochemical called allicin which is protects against certain cancers.
A member of the lily family, onions are also very nutritious and add flavor without calories to a meal. A source of vitamin C, B6, folic acid, biotin, chromium and fiber. Both the chromium and fiber make this a blood sugar-lowering food. Historically, onions have also been used to treat asthma due to their ability to inhibit the production of compounds that cause the bronchial muscle to spasm and help relax the bronchial muscle. Eat your onions!
Brown and Wild Rice Veggie Side Dish
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole onion (any kind) finely chopped
Half sweet red pepper chopped
7-8 stalks asparagus chopped
5-6 medium size cremini mushrooms chopped
1 cup dry rice, preferably brown mixed with some wild rice
2 cups sodium-free chicken stock or water
2 tbsp organic coconut oil or 2 tbsp grape seed oil
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot, add rice, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-50 minutes. Read the package instructions for cooking time. Some rice varieties take longer to cook than others.
While your rice is cooking, lightly saute all the vegetables in organic coconut oil or grape seed oil. Saute the onions and garlic first and slowly add the remaining ingredients with the asparagus being last as it only takes a few minutes to cook. Once your rice is fully cooked, add the vegetable mixture to the rice and fully combine. You can refrigerate this dish and serve it cold as a salad or eat it hot, right away.
I came to the realization after this dinner, that the way to a girl’s heart is the same as a man’s – through her stomach.
About Author: Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. Joy is the resident holistic nutritionist at 889 Yonge, a Yoga & Holistic Lifestyle Spa in Toronto.
Please note: All of these recipes are created in my joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. I’m not a calorie counter or a professional chef — I’m a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and I’m delighted to share my creations with you.