But never fear! There are many tasty and nutritious alternatives to rice. And most as just as easy – or even easier – to prepare than the old stand-by. Here are three delicious ways to mix up your dinner plate.
Millet: Actually a small seeded grass, millet is a gluten-free alternative to rice. Millet grains are small and round and are typically gold or yellow in color, although black, grey, and white varieties exist. Relatively rich in fiber, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium, millet is also a good source of Vitamin Bs. Depending on how it’s cooked, millet can be creamy or fluffy.
To prepare millet, boil it with one part millet to two and a half parts water or broth. Once the liquid begins to boil, turn the heat to low and let simmer for 25 minutes. For creamier millet, stir constantly during the cooking process, occasionally adding additional water.
Quinoa: Also a seed, quinoa is notable for its rich protein content. It has a nutty flavor and crunchy texture, and it is high in nutrients such as manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. Quinoa’s amino acid content is balanced, making it an especially good choice for vegetarians. Quinoa is also safe for those avoiding gluten.
To prepare quinoa, begin by rinsing it thoroughly. This removes the soapy coating on the quinoa. For every one part of quinoa, use two parts of water. Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, and reduce heat to a low simmer for about 15 minutes. You’ll know the quinoa is ready when the little ‘tails’ come out of the seeds.
Cous Cous: Cous Cous is tasty — and cooks in just 5 minutes! Not a grain, cous cous is actually a small, rounded pasta. Cous cous has a light, fresh flavor and fluffy texture and can be easily seasoned by adding fresh herbs or spices to the cous cous while cooking.
To prepare cous cous, use 1/3 cup water for every 1/2 cup of cous cous. Bring the water to boil, add the cous cous and any spices, turn the heat off, and cover the pot with a lid. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.