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Brown rice salad shows its sweet side

Just so we’re clear, I wasn’t born loving green smoothies and wholegrains. I had a decade-long love affair with strawberry Ribena and iced buns before I saw the light. My mum raised me on plenty of healthy food and I still was drawn to sugar like a moth to a flame. Between marketing, ease of access, affordability and the biochemical proof that sugar, salt and fat are addictive, it’s no wonder that we all get sucked into the world of junk. No matter how well or inspirationally I position healthy eating for my kids, I am sure at some point they will torture me with Diet Coke and Doritos. I have one objective before that happens: stuff them with as many vegetables as I possibly can.

And so yesterday I found myself working on another go-to green smoothie recipe. My first, the Nutrifit green smoothie, has become a hit at Down to Earth. If you never thought you would eat (let alone drink) spinach and parsley, then you should try it! In the meantime, while you wrap your taste buds around that one, I am working on another.

Turning leafy green vegetables into drinkable smoothies is not as easy as you think. You can put as much honey in as you like but you can still end up with what tastes like a glass of grass clippings. Healthy blogs and Facebook pages might try and sell you their Lawnmower Specials but I am not sure you will keep on drinking them if you don’t genuinely look forward to slurping them down! The trick is to find a resource that is well pitched to where your taste buds are now. If you are just wrapping up your relationship with KFC, you need to start with recipes that are heavy on the fruit and light on the veg. If you have been doing wheatgrass shots for years, then you might be ready for something more hardcore.

Next week I’ll give you a list of resources so you can experiment at home. I’ll also give you a kid-friendly, beginner-friendly recipe so you have at least one sure thing. In the meantime, I’ve got a great BBQ side for you. After teasing us for weeks, it really looks like summer might be on its way so try this one next time you warm up your grill.

I based this on a maple balsamic quinoa salad recipe from Clean Eating (www.cleaneatingmag.com). I’m a bit quinoa’d out at the moment so I switched the grain (quinoa is actually technically a seed). I also reduced the dressing quantity and the ratio of maple syrup so maybe we should call this a squeaky clean version? Feel free to go back to quinoa, switch up the grains, nuts and even the salad veg though, as this is a super versatile dish. Enjoy!

Maple Balsamic Brown Rice Salad

Serves 8


2 c brown rice (preferably organic)

¼ c extra-virgin olive oil

¼ c balsamic vinegar

¼ c maple syrup (or less)

½ c dried cranberries (I like the Eden organic brand)

1 c raw unsalted chopped pecans (Down to Earth, ABC or the grocery stores)

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

Sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. Cook the brown rice in plenty of boiling water until tender, drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again well.

2. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and maple syrup.

3. Toss the brown rice, scallions, pecans and cranberries together in a large bowl with ½ to ¾ of the dressing (depending on how far it goes). Season, and then place in the fridge overnight to marinate. (You can skip the overnight marinade but the flavours come out more that way.)

4. Add a little more dressing just before serving. Goes well with Niman Ranch lean pork steaks (Supermart), or grilled chicken/fish.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details visit www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda

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Published April 19, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm)

Brown rice salad shows its sweet side

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