black rice with squash + ginger-sesame dressing

Yesterday we wrapped up Natural Foods Boot Camp with a Grains class. The focus was on whole, gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, and brown rice. The recipes ranged from granola to cornbread to risotto – and everything went over pretty well! This black rice dish was a favorite for its vibrant colors and delicate flavors.

Black rice – also called japonica, forbidden, or purple rice – is a nice way to get out of a quinoa or brown rice rut. It is a sweet, sticky rice that is loaded with antioxidants. It cooked just like short grain brown rice with a 1:2 grain to water ratio for about 45-50 minutes. Once its done cooking, I like to let it sit covered on the stove for 5 minutes, and then uncovered for another 5 minutes before fluffing with a wooden spoon; this helps to minimize some of the ‘sticky’ properties of the rice.

While the rice is cooking, shake up the asian inspired vinaigrette in a mason jar. I like to reuse old almond butter and coconut oil jars for this purpose! Use the remaining dressing for a spinach salad or on top of steamed vegetables.

Thanks to all the Natural Food Boot Campers that joined in on the fun at Whole Foods. Looking forward to our upcoming classes in October: Root Vegetables and Soups + Stews. Hope to see you there!

Black Rice with Squash + Ginger-Sesame Dressing


1 cup black rice, rinsed
4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon oil (grapeseed or olive)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 scallions, chopped


1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup brown rice vinegar
¼ cup grapeseed oil


Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add black rice; stir, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 45-50 minutes.

Add squash to prepared baking sheet. Toss with oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until squash is fully cooked.

Meanwhile, add ingredients for ginger dressing to a jar with lid; shake.

Once rice if fully cooked and liquid has absorbed, pour ½ of dressing and chopped shallots into pot. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add cooked squash, cilantro and scallions. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.


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