All About Brown Rice

bowl of uncooked brown rice

Rice is a staple food for many people around the world, so it’s no surprise that it appears in many delicious dishes, from sweet to savoury. If you’d like to start eating more brown rice but are not sure how, here are some ideas.

Brown rice is a nutritious choice

Brown rice is a whole grain. Whole grains have more protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and phytochemicals (healthy compounds found in plants) than refined grains like white rice. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that at least half of our grain servings each day (about 3-4 servings) be whole grains such as brown rice.  

Why else should you eat brown rice?

  • People who eat a few servings of whole grains each day have less heart disease, diabetes, cancer and have healthier weights.
  • Brown rice has no cholesterol, fat or sodium.
  • Brown rice is gluten-free and is a good choice for people with celiac disease.

Buy it best

Here are some tips when shopping for brown rice:

  • Buy brown rice on sale or compare bulk and grocery store prices for the best buy.
  • Compare the unit pricing of packages of different size. Unit pricing shows the price of food per 100 grams. Look for it on the shelf below the product where the price is listed.
  • Usually plain rice sold in larger bags is a better buy than smaller sized packages.
  • Plain rice is often less expensive than instant or flavoured rice. Foods that have flavours added to them are usually more expensive.
  • Check for expiry dates on packages, or buy from bulk stores where fresh stock arrives often. Over time, the oils in brown rice can spoil.

Tips for storing brown rice

  • Store uncooked brown rice in an airtight container in a cool place for 6-12 months.
  • Store in the fridge within two hours of cooking. Covered, it will keep for 5-7 days.
  • You can freeze cooked rice for up to 6 months in an airtight container or freezer bags.

Cooking brown rice

Cooking brown rice is similar to white rice – it just takes a little bit longer!

  • Instant brown rice takes 10 minutes to cook, and quick brown rice takes 15 minutes.
  • Regular brown rice comes in short or long grains. It takes 40-45 minutes to cook.

Brown rice has a chewy texture and nutty taste. If you’re new to brown rice, try mixing half white rice and half brown rice together.

5 things to do with brown rice

1. Make it ahead

Save time by cooking rice in large batches. Rice cooks easily on the stove. You can also use a rice cooker.  Here’s how:

  1. Add 2 cups (500 mL) uncooked, long or short grain brown rice to 4 cups (1 L) water in a medium pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  • Flavour rice by cooking it in low sodium broth or replacing some of the water with fruit juice or low-sodium vegetable juice.
  • Try adding frozen mixed peas and carrots, black-eyed peas or kidney beans to steamed rice.

Reheating rice: Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) of water for each cup (250 mL) of cooked rice. Cover and heat in a pan on the stove for 5 minutes or in the microwave on high for 1 minute.

2. Fry it up

Fried rice is a great way to use up leftovers!

  1. Sauté chopped onion and garlic in a little canola oil or sesame oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add cooked rice; leftover bite-sized pieces of lean protein (shrimp, beef, tofu, pork); fresh, frozen or leftover veggies; low-sodium soy sauce; and grated ginger.
  3. Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp and rice is hot.

3. Enjoy rice in salads

Want an easy, healthy lunch to go? Try mixing rice with lentils, chopped parsley, diced veggies, a little olive oil, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Try a healthier stuffing

Replace white rice with brown rice in cabbage rolls, burritos and dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with lamb, rice, onions, currants, pine nuts and seasoning).

5. Add to soups

Use leftover rice in homemade soups or lower-sodium canned vegetable soups.

Brown rice recipes:

Khao Tom (Thai rice soup)

Souper Lunch with Rice and Beans

Lunch Box Chili with Rice and Beans, Dietitians of Canada

Spicy Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Salad, Foodland Ontario

You may also be interested in:

Choosing Whole Grains FAQs

Cooking with Whole Grains

What you need to know about a vegetarian eating plan

Last Update – April 26, 2018

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