I like just about anything marinated, and artichoke hearts top the list. Just a few of them can turn a blah dish into a fabulous mouthful. This rice recipe pops with flavor and fits the bill for the type of dish I feel up to making this week: healthy, super quick, yummy, and, perhaps most importantly, a balanced meal in a bowl. I don’t know about anyone else, but I often have a hard time making several dishes: I can make a nice salad with dressing today, and soup tomorrow, and bread the next day, but all on the same day? Unlikely. Especially right now, with two little ones recovering from one of the nastiest cold/flu bugs I’ve experienced.
Because of my inability to make a complete meal all at one time, I love dishes that will basically cover all the bases in one. (Otherwise we end up with pretty lopsided dinners.) This little recipe has carbohydrates (brown rice), vegetables (broccoli and artichoke hearts), healthy fats (olive oil), and protein (garbanzo beans/chickpeas). It would make a great lunch, and I like to take it to potlucks, but I also serve it for dinner. All it needs is a very simple side. In the summer, I think I would serve a bowl of fresh tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil. At this time of year, a plate of sliced persimmons would be lovely (if you can get your hands on some) or a simple fruit salad (I’ll be posting a crunchy apple one soon).
I know artichoke hearts can be pricey, but, at least in Oregon, they seem to be a popular item at grocery outlet stores. If you can find a store that sells almost-out-of-date items, you might be lucky and find some. If not, it might be worth the splurge; it will only take a little to transform this into something delightful. It might be worth trying some fancy olives of some sort. If you experiment with something else, let me know.
Speed it Up: You can make this ahead of time and serve it chilled, like a potatoe or chicken salad would be. However, I like it best at room temperature or warm, so if you need to make it in advance, I would make everything ahead of time, then heat up the rice and broccoli before mixing in the rest of the ingredients.
Special Diets and Allergies: Vegetarian, nut free, wheat free, dairy and vegan if you use Smart Balance mayonnaise or another vegan mayonnaise, soy free if you use regular mayonnaise or if you use the no-mayonnaise version (see the headnotes).
Creamy Rice with Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Serves 4 – 6 as a main dish
Zesty marinated artichoke hearts add a delicious touch to this creamy salad. The rice is filling, the broccoli crisp and fresh, and the garbanzo beans (chickpeas) pack enough protein to make this a complete meal in a bowl. I like to use Smart Balance mayonnaise when I make this, but you can use any kind, or omit it all together. If you leave it out, add some more of the artichoke marinade, and maybe a splash or two of white wine vinegar to enhance the flavors. You can serve this chilled, but I like it best warm or at room temperature. It works equally well as a lunch dish or paired with some fresh fruit or green salad for dinner.
2 C small-grain brown rice
1 t salt
2 medium-sized cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
2 t olive oil
4 C water
2 C broccoli, chopped in bite-size pieces
Two or three 6 oz jars marinated artichoke hearts
4 – 6 green onions, sliced
2 – 3 C cooked garbanzo beans (one or two 14.5 oz cans)
1/4 C Smart Balance mayonnaise
3 – 4 T of the artichoke heart marinade reserved from the jars
- Place the rice, salt, garlic, and oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 35 minutes or until the rice is cooked and all of the water absorbed.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until just bright green. Immediately drain and remove the lid from the pan so it stops cooking.
- Combine the mayonnaise and artichoke heart liquid.
- Chop the artichoke hearts, then combine with the rice, broccoli, green onions, and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. Toss with the mayonnaise mixture.