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How to make Healthy Green Rice

There is white rice, and brown rice, even black rice…Now I present Green Rice!

I love colours in my food…! I can’t get enough of cooking and eating colourful food. There is actually a benefit to eating colourful foods, I mean naturally colourful foods, not foods with added artificial colouring.

Coloured food contain a lot of nutritional benefits especially minerals, vitamins and anti-ageing compounds. For me personally, the mere mention that an ingredient contains high levels of anti-oxidants is enough to make me hunt it down and cook it….. I want to delay this ageing process as long as practicable… (hehehe)

For sometime now, I have been experimenting with ways of creating a rice dish similar to jollof rice but instead of having the bright orange colour typical of jollof rice, I wanted to create a green equivalent. So I used lots of green peppers instead of red hoping to help achieve my aim but…it was not to be. The experiment failed…!

Then I discovered a post from a fellow blogger Africanbites.com, which featured a green looking rice….A further search on Google led me to some Mexican type recipes for making green rice. I was really excited to put my own spin on things.

I was not too keen to use some of the ingredients used in those green rice recipes so I did some swapping/alterations/omission of sort. But the crucial ingredient was spinach which is responsible for the green colour. So I went to work, swapping the spinach with some other vegetables such as kale and pumpkin leaves (ugwu). I came up with two versions. One recipe was basic and the other required a little extra pre sautéing of the vegetables first before adding.

Never Eat White Rice Again…!
That fruits and vegetables are beneficial to health cannot be over emphasised. We need to eat a lot more of them regularly, so finding ways to make this happen is of great importance to me.

We all have our different ways of eating vegetables. The general idea is to eat them as close to raw as possible, because this way we stand to gain the most nutritional benefits.

In recent times, the idea of making smoothies with raw vegetables (kale, spinach, etc) have become so popular but I personally, as do so many others, find some of the smoothies unpalatable… and often requiring the addition of other stuff such as sweeteners to make them more palatable.

Green Rice – made by adding ugwu/spinach smoothie
to rice at the last stage of cooking.

So I figured that a good way to consume my ugwu/spinach smoothie might be to add to rice (just as the other recipes for green rice demands). So I decided to give it a try. The vegetable smoothie was added at the final stage of cooking the rice. This was so that the nutritional benefits of the vegetables would not diminish due to overcooking. Instead it would have raised the profile of my white rice…making it green, luscious looking and also bursting with all the nutrients of the vegetable.

I went on a spree adding kale, spinach and ugwu to my rice and even to my jollof rice! And the result; the taste is not affected at all, and my food has increased in its nutritional profile.

Check the recipe out.

What you need

  • Any of these fresh vegetables: kale, ugwu (pumpkin leaves), or spinach. For all my people in Nigeria, you can also use tete or soko, even though I have not tried it personally yet, but I trust it will also turn out right.
  • Coconut oil
  • Rice

What to do

  1. Pick the tender leaves of your vegetables and wash thoroughly to remove any traces of sand.
  2. Then place in a smoothie maker or blender, add some water and blend into a smoothie, just like you make a regular smoothie. The amount of vegetables you blend should be proportional to the amount of rice you would be adding it to. The more the better really…
  3. Do not add anything to the blend, no sugar no salt. Just water to aid blending.

Direct method:

  1. Cook your rice as usual and when you get to the last stage of cooking, add the smoothie and cover your pot tight. Allow the smoothie to steam through with the rice.
  2. Then stir in and add some salt to taste. The result should be a rich looking green rice. Done.
  3. Serve with stew as usual.

Sauté method:

  1. Heat some coconut oil in a sauce pan and add the smoothie. Stir well.
  2. At the last stage of cooking your rice, add the sautéed smoothie and cover your pot tight. Allow the smoothie to steam through with the rice.
  3. Then stir in and add some salt to taste.
  4. Serve with stew as usual.
Green Rice – made by sautéing ugwu/spinach smoothie
and adding to rice at the last stage of cooking.


Written by : Funke Koleosho

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