Black rice and curried butternut squash – it’s easy to get hooked on the color and texture!

I’m a big fan of black rice and had to share this snapshot of last night’s dinner with you.  As a backdrop for my quickly created butternut squash curry, you’ve got to agree it’s an unbeatable feast – for both the eyes and the belly.

I did a little research on black rice for you, and then promise to share my quick recipe for the curry.

Forbidden rice

You may know black rice as purple rice, as it does take on a purplish hue.  Or you may know it as forbidden rice, which somehow sexes its image up a bit – as if it needs any help.

The best thing about black rice, next to its enchanting and unusual color, is the texture.  Nutty and chewy all at once.

Though officially a ‘sticky’ rice, somehow the qualities of chewy and nutty all at once are the qualities that jump out on my tongue.

High in antioxidants

Black rice is high in fiber as the hull of the rice is left intact. It  contains vitamin E and a range of B-vitamins, plus several minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Black rice also contains anthocyanins, which is described by The World’s Healthiest Foods  “the color pigments that give many foods their deep rich red, blue, and purple colors. They are also well-studied antioxidant nutrients and are considered health supportive for this reason.[pullquote position=”right”] The risk of several chronic health conditions, including atherosclerosis, is also lowered by regular consumption of foods containing anthocyanins.[/pullquote]”

Black rice is high in nutritional value contains iron, zinc, copper, carotene, and several important vitamins. Described by The World’s Healthiest Foods as compounds that not only give this rice its deep, black-purple color but also its antioxidant characteristics that combat atherosclerosis, also known as the hardening of arteries

According to (and more on anthocyanins):

The main thing that separates Black Rice from all the other varieties of rice is its amazingly strong Antioxidant properties; which come from its pigment. This is the same type of pigment found in other types of antioxidant rich foods such as the many varieties of berries. Antioxidants are quickly becoming a staple for scientific food research; anthocyanins are in the flavonoid pigments of Black Rice and are the source of antioxidants. They have been linked to prevention and even treatment of a wide range of medical conditions. In addition to its almost legendary antioxidant properties, Black Rice is also a well known anti-inflammatory food; which helps cut down on general infections and illnesses. In recent studies antioxidants have been found to seriously slow down the aging process, so Black Rice is really worth eating if just for those benefits alone; but it also offers an entire host of other great benefits in addition to that as well. ` ~

One cup of cooked black rice has about 160 calories, 5 grams of  protein, 3.5 grams of fiber,  fiber, and 1.7 grams of fat, perfect if you are looking for low calorie, low-sodium, nutrient-packed foods.

Black rice with butternut squash curry with tempeh recipe

 The rice:

2 cups black rice, rinsed
4 cups water
pinch of salt crystals

The rice cooker takes care of the rest;  cooking time about 40 minutes.  Prep time about 60 seconds.

The butternut squash curry:

2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
10 – 12 small Brussels sprouts (optional – you could use anything green to add more color and ‘green’ nutrition)
Vegetable broth for cooking (I used Pacific brand – you do NOT need oil for savory flavor!)
Curry vindaloo powder to taste (I used about 2 teaspoons;  you could also use a curry paste)
Fresh grind or two of salt crystals

  1. Cover the bottom of your cooking pan (I use stainless steel) with vegetable broth and start to heat.
  2. Add chopped onions, cubed butternut squash, and halved brussels sprouts
  3. Cover to cook and add more vegetable broth as needed so as not to burn.  You will need to do this 2 or 3 times as the broth cooks down

Tempeh on top

Tempeh:  I used marinated smoky maple bacon from Turtle Island Foods.  1/2 of a 7 oz package was plenty for two.  My favorite way to prepare tempeh is to just lightly roast it in a pan and then crumble or break into smaller bites to top my veggies and grains.  I then put just a few drops of sweet chili sauce on top to add a bit of red.

If you’re looking for something new to add to your plant-based diet menu arsenal, black rice may be just the ticket with butternut curry a close contender. As a matter of fact, the small amount of leftovers looked so good that I decided to enjoy them for second breakfast.  My good.

Have you a favorite way to serve black rice, and do you like black rice as much as I do?  Tell about it comments below!

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