Basmati Vegetable Rice with Raw Pumpkin Seeds

So I just have to ask… what kind of weather is everyone experiencing? Earlier this week I went to work on a -7 degree Fahrenheit day – that would be -22 Celsius. In that weather you bundle up before you get out of the Jeep to walk the very short distance to the door. Holding your breath is a good idea to avoid that frigid air entering the lungs. Of course during that short walk, you need to be anti-social until you get into the building. It is all about survival during that 15-seconds walk to the door! Today the temps got to 40 and it felt like a heatwave while running my errands this afternoon – in fact I was getting hot. But no complaints here!

In a quest to continue bringing healthier ingredients into our meals, I came across this recipe and made it as part of our New Year’s Eve dinner. I served it with Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops with a Balsamic Glaze Dressing with Dates and a delicious Blood Orange Avocado Salad with Macadamia Nut Oil. The rice was easy to make and has a lot of great color from the vegetables. A one-cup serving is about 160 calories. It is great as a side dish for dinner and for lunch just add protein and you have a nice lunch!

Basmati Vegetable Rice with Pumpkin Seeds

The newer ingredient for us is the brown basmati rice – in the past I used white but as we all know brown is typically healthier. Previously I made Basmati Rice With Spices – it was excellent and now I want to try it with brown basmati rice.

basmati brown rice photo

Another newer ingredient is raw pumpkin seeds – I prefer raw cashews and almonds to avoid the added salt. So I figured raw pumpkin seeds should be pretty good too! From the book Power Foods they recommend to refrigerate the raw pumpkins seeds to avoid going bad since they are high in oil. They can be eaten raw and sometimes I add them to the Blood Orange Avocado Salad with Macadamia Nut Oil instead of the dried fruit. Pumpkin seeds of course can be roasted. Most of us remember doing that as a child – scooping the seeds out of the pumpkin and then baking them – well maybe mom was baking them! That is a messy job and raw pumpkin seeds that are shelled can be found in the bulk section of many grocery stores. Just be sure to purchase from stores where the pumpkin seeds are fresh. Also throw a few in a skillet and roast for a few minutes to top granola, salads, oatmeal, and other dishes. Just be careful to not burn them – you know how it goes – you take your eyes off for only a moment and then they are burnt!

raw pumpkin seeds photo

This is a wonderful recipe from Healthiest Meals on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What Meals to Eat and Why. I do not always have cilantro and green onions in the pantry but it is good without those ingredients. A nice substitute might be some chopped raw nuts, parsley, or a bit of dried fruit – but not too much because of the sugar. Enjoy this recipe and have a fab weekend!

Basmati Vegetable Rice with Pumpkin Seeds cover

Rice Ingredients
1 cup Brown Basmati Rice, well rinsed
1/4 cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups Water, Vegetable Broth, Chicken Broth, low-sodium
Salt

Vegetable Ingredients
½ to 1 Small Red Pepper, cut into squares
½ to 1 Small Orange Pepper, cut into squares
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Garnish Ingredients
Cilantro, chopped
Green Onion Stalks, diced
Fresh Lemon Slices, optional

Preparation
Rinse and drain rice until the water is not cloudy. I like to soak it for a few minutes, drain with a strainer, place back in the bowl, and add more water, drain – repeat until the water runs clear.

In a saucepan add the rice, pumpkin seeds, water or chicken broth, and a shake of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, stir and reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 50-minutes. Remove from heat, add the peppers and let sit covered for about 10-minutes to finish cooking. Another option is to add the pumpkin seeds at the end. Plate the rice and top with garnish ingredients. I like to add more pumpkins seeds as they are delicious!

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