Something Different
Week of: April 11, 2011
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Enjoying Brown Rice Is Easier Than Ever

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

More and more, Americans have convenient choices when it comes to brown rice, thanks to what I call the rice revolution.

At one time your choice was American-grown long-grain brown rice, unless you were into health food and opted for dense and chewy short-grain brown rice. Both need 45 to 50 minutes to cook and can taste boring unless you know how to work with them.

Then, starting in the 1980s, our interest in ethnic eating popularized the fluffy, aromatic basmati or jasmine rice served with Indian, Thai and other Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern food. Next, as health experts emphasized eating whole grains during the 90s, these delicious choices became readily available as brown rice, too.

Now the rice revolution has reached a third stage. Finally, one can get both aromatic and regular long-grain brown rice in pre-cooked frozen form that is truly good, adding convenience by eliminating the required longer cooking time.

Whether taking time to cook it from scratch or using frozen, pre-cooked, I am finally using long-grain brown rice more often. Its texture makes it a good partner with saucy sautéed dishes and being firmer than the aromatic varieties it makes great salads, too.

If you have never made rice salad, perhaps start with one combining room-temperature rice with chopped tomato, green pepper, cucumber, Italian parsley, a generous grating of lemon zest and lots of black pepper. For dressing, toss the salad with a touch of olive oil and plenty of fresh lemon juice. Or try this vivid salad, which is essentially black bean and mango salsa combined with brown rice and a tangy dressing loaded with herbs and spice.

Mango Rice Salad

Rice Salad with Mango and Black Beans

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (see note)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup diced mango, 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped and seeded plum tomato
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion, white and green parts
    • Dressing
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, or 1-2 inch piece jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped (see note)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Combine rice, beans, mango, tomatoes and green onion in mixing bowl. This step may be done up to 2 hours before serving with salad covered and refrigerated.

For dressing, in blender or bowl of mini-food processor, whirl orange and lime juice, chile pepper, cumin and oregano until chile is ground up. Add oil and whirl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This may be done up to 2 hours before serving, and dressing refrigerated.

Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss with fork to combine (if salad has been refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before dressing). Spoon salad into wide, shallow serving bowl, and sprinkle on cilantro. Serve immediately.


  • If you like, use frozen brown rice prepared according to package directions. Cool the rice to room temperature before combining with salad ingredients.
  • A Serrano chile gives more heat, while seeding and removing ribs reduces heat. For the least heat, use bottom end of a large jalapeño pepper.

Makes 4 servings; about 1 1/4 cup per serving.

Per serving: 284 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 51 g carbohydrate,
10 g protein, 10 g dietary fiber, 201 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at

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