I have a confession to make.
I used to be judge-y about brown rice. In fact, the mere mention of brown rice was enough to make me cringe. Everywhere I looked people were swapping white rice for brown. “What’s wrong with white rice? The Japanese have been eating it for centuries,” I would wonder. I thought it was just another trend and that people would eventually come to their senses. Plus, I’d heard it tasted horrible.
How wrong I was. About all of it. Brown rice has a delicious nutty flavour that tastes great warm or cold. It is also easy to prepare and incredibly nourishing. What’s not to love?
When I’d decided to switch to a veggie diet one of the things I learned was the protein in the beans and legumes need to be eaten with carbs to create something that’s called a ‘complete protein’.
This was a game changer for me.
I had spent my whole life terrified of eating carbs for fear of putting on weight. This misinformation had been drummed into me since I was a teenager. Now I was learning that carbs are an essential part of a vegetarian diet. To be a ‘healthy’ vegetarian I had to eat carbs.
The knowledge of this was both terrifying and thrilling to me. On the one hand, I was now being forced to partake in a skinny girl’s kryptonite – carbohydrates. (Writing that feels completely silly but it’s how I felt.)
On the other hand, it felt as though an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Of course, no one can completely avoid carbs. Your body ends up craving them so badly that you consume them in large, often unhealthy quantities and/or bingeing on sugar (case in point).
Once I stopped being afraid to eat carbohydrates I began experimenting with grains I hadn’t previously tried. Like brown rice. Brown rice is a comforting grain that pairs well with any bean, legume, or vegetable. It’s high in fibre and is low GI, so it keeps you feeling satisfied for longer than white rice can. But my favorite thing about brown rice is that it doesn’t make me feel bloated which was often a problem I encountered eating white rice.
Which brings me to today’s recipe. My Brown Rice and Chickpea Lunchbox is a super simple way to create tasty nourishment on the go. Pre-cooked chickpeas and brown rice are mixed together with a little olive oil then, for a bit of a kick I sprinkle sumac on top.
What is sumac you might ask? Sumac is a crimson coloured spice that is often found in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a lovely tangy flavour and can be found in most delis or gourmet supermarkets. You then pair this with some fresh baby spinach and my Simple Pickled Salad and you have a super yummy dish ready to go.
This Brown Rice and Chickpea Lunchbox is great to take to work (which I do) or even as a veggie option for picnics. The simplicity lies in the fact that all the components can be made on a lazy Sunday afternoon or the night before you need your packed lunch. Store everything separately and the bring it all together in the morning before you head out the door.
I love it when I learn something new and I no longer judge those who prefer brown rice. Mostly because now I’m one of them. x
Brown Rice and Chickpea Lunchbox
1/2 cup cooked brown rice (according to packet instructions)
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1 serving Simple Pickled Salad
A small handful of baby spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sumac
Salt and Pepper to taste
Simple Pickled Salad
- Slice up 2 celery sticks, 1 small zucchini, and 1/4 of a small red onion. Place them all into a glass bowl.
- Peel and julienne 1 small carrot and toss it into the bowl with the other veggies.
- Drizzle and sprinkle over the veggies the following: 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp salt.
- Mix thoroughly, then cover with cling film and let the salad rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. (This salad tastes even better the next day.)
Brown Rice and Chickpeas
- Combine the pre-cooked brown rice portion with the chickpeas.
- Cover with 1 tsp of olive oil and gently stir to combine. Check for seasoning. Add some salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
- Place the rice and chickpea mixture into your lunchbox and sprinkle some sumac over the top.
Assemble your lunchbox
- To the lunchbox with the rice and chickpeas, add your Simple Pickled Salad and baby spinach leaves.
- Cover your lunchbox with the lid and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to go.