Side Dish

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Wild Rice and Mushrooms
 
Description

Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa and oats, are a far better source of energy than the hunks of meat most Americans expect in the center of their plates. Grains supply complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber – all wrapped up in tasty packages. Wild rice is a delicious grain that isn’t really rice at all. It’s actually a long-grain marsh grass that grows wild in the Great Lakes area and is cultivated commercially in California and the Midwest. We mix wild rice with mushrooms and chopped nuts for a combination of colors, textures and luxuriant flavors. When you use wild rice, be sure to wash it thoroughly first. Set it in a bowl, cover it with water and let the debris float to the surface so you can pour it off. Don’t cook it too long or you’ll get starchy, wimpy grains that have lost much of their flavor.

Food as Medicine
The nutritional profile of wild rice is as impressive as its deep-purple hue – it contains approximately twice the amount of protein and fiber as brown rice. Thanks in large part to its cholesterol-lowering fiber, wild rice is a great choice for heart health. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed over 900 healthy men and women and found that individuals who ate the most whole grains had lower levels of homocysteine and triglycerides and better cholesterol ratios (lower LDL – "bad" cholesterol – and higher HDL – "good cholesterol"), all indicators of cardiovascular health. The shiitake mushrooms in this recipe are nutritionally valuable as well: they contain an active compound called lentinan that appears to be a potent immune-booster.

 
Ingredients

1 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
2 1/2 cups water, approximately
1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup sliced carrots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt or natural soy sauce to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

 
Instructions

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in water to cover until they are soft. Squeeze them out, reserving liquid, and slice.

2. Wash the wild rice in cold water and place in pot with the mushroom-soaking liquid (minus any sediment) and enough additional cold water to total 2 cups.

3. Add the orange juice, sherry and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed.

5. Add the chopped parsley and salt or soy sauce to taste. Stir in the finely chopped nuts (black walnuts, pecans or filberts).

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Serves 6

Nutrients Per Serving
Calories: 147.7
Protein: 3.9 grams
Fat: 6.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
Monounsat Fat: 3.8 grams
Polyunsat Fat: 1.7 grams
Carbohydrate: 18.1 grams
Fiber: 2.4 grams
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Vitamin A: 1,798.0 IU
Vitamin E: 0.5 mg/IU
Vitamin C: 13.8 mg
Calcium: 13.0 mg
Magnesium: 36.1 mg

 

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