You can use pretty much any herbs you like, instead of the ones suggested here, which makes this a great way to use up a half a bunch of something left over from another recipe. Some herbs, like rosemary, are more potent, so make sure to taste as you go, and remember that you can always add more. Dried herbs will not work well in this dish, which really highlight those fresh green herbs.
You can also use other grains, from other rices to quinoa, in place of the rice. And you can sub out the red onion and use any other onion, or scallions, shallots, or even garlic – again with garlic you’ll want to use a much smaller amount. In short, this is a jumping-off point recipe, to inspire you to make your own herb-grain side innovations. I actually came up with this whole thing to use up a dressing I had made for some black eyed peas!
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 2 cups cooked brown rice, warm or at room temperature
- In a food processor, combine the olive oil, onion, parsley, basil, salt and pepper, and pulse until combined (you can also do this by hand, just mince up everything as finely as you like, and stir it all together in a bowl).
- Place the rice in a medium-sized bowl and add the herb dressing. Stir to combine well, and serve warm or at room temperature.
What’s the scoop with brown rice?
This whole grain rice has a wonderfully nutty flavor and a hearty, chewy texture.
Whole grain brown rice retains the outer bran layer (though it’s hull is removed) with its fiber and micro-nutrients intact, making it low in fat, high in fiber, and a more nutritious whole grain alternative to white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain and rich in magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, as well as an excellent source of manganese.
You can use brown rice much the same way you use white rice, just know that it has a longer cooking time, so adjust accordingly. Try brown rice in pilafs, soups, stir-fried rice dishes and of course as a base for curries, chilies, bean dishes, stews, and so forth. Cooked brown rice can also be used in grain salads, and in vegetarian cooking, it’s a great ingredient to think of when you want to bulk up a burger, meatballs, or a meatloaf.
Long grain and short grain brown rice varieties are available, and again can be used in the same way as their white long and short grain counterparts.
What the Kids Can Do:
Even little kids can pull the herb leaves off of the stems, which is a great kitchen job for the youngest sous-chefs.