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Innovative Rice Alternatives Are Changing the Comfort Food Game

July 9, 2019

What we think of as rice is changing. New options that meet the needs of all kinds of eaters have given everyone the opportunity to let their bodies thrive no matter what their dietary preferences. These days rice can mean anything from the traditional starchy grain to an alternative made with vegetables. Here are a few new ways modern eaters are keeping rice — in its many forms — a part of what’s on their plate.

Cauliflower Rice & the Riced Vegetable Revolution

The exact origins are unclear but after someone had the ingenious idea to blitz a head of cauliflower in a food processor until it resembled rice-like grains the world was forever changed. Once this low-carbohydrate hack gained interest, it became one of the trendiest things to serve at the dinner table. Now it’s easy to find it ready to prepare in both the freezer and produce aisles at grocery stores nationwide. It’s not just cauliflower we’re ricing anymore, either. Broccoli, carrots, and beets are just a few of the vegetables being transformed in this way.

Riced vegetables have been a bit of a revelation for those limiting their carbohydrate intake or looking for non, grain-based options to replace the rice in their bowl. It’s people a staple food amongst those following a Paleo or ketogenic diet and a fresh new way to eat veggies regardless of your eating style. It’s important to say that riced vegetables aren’t going to trick you into thinking you’re eating a bowl of traditional rice — everything from the texture to the taste is vastly different, but it remains as alternative can still stand in admirably when fried rice or a simple side at dinner is what you’re looking for.

The Grain-Based, Veggie-Packed Rice Disruptor

Perhaps one of the newest innovations in rice comes from RightRice. The dry, shelf-stable grain is made up of a unique combination of lentils, chickpeas, peas, and rice to give you a nutritious blend of plant-based protein and fiber. In fact, it has over double the amount of protein and five times the amount of fiber found in regular rice. RightRice also has 40% less net carbs than regular rice, so for those who are watching their carbohydrate content, it adds an extra dose of vegetables to your plate. It does all this while maintaining the look, convenience, and perhaps most importantly, the texture and flavor of the comforting staple we all know and love. That’s a game changer and an innovation in rice worth waiting for.

The Coconut Oil + Chilled Rice Hack

Perhaps a lesser known innovation concerning rice has to do with coconut oil — and this one has some scientific research behind it. Researchers from the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka discovered that coconut oil can actually lower the calorie and carbohydrate content of rice. Drop a teaspoon of coconut oil into boiling water, add a half cup of white rice to it, and let it cook for 40 minutes. Once cooked, chill the rice for overnight in the fridge. This results in rice with 50 to 60% fewer calories. It also results in over 10 times the amount of resistant starch, which means it becomes a better energy source (AKA less of that sluggish feeling that can come from untreated rice) and even helps feed good internal bacteria, making for a healthier gut.

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