It’s not every day that I stop to consider whether a side of brown rice should be made even healthier. Tell me, am I crazy? In my defense, my real intention was just to make our grains tastier. But when I decided to give them the pesto treatment, I couldn’t deny that I was upgrading the nutrition too. Instead of just a carby side, I ended up with a well-rounded, nutrient-dense food. A vehicle for healthy fats, leafy greens, and – obviously – more flavor! If it didn’t deliver in the flavor department, I hope you realize by now that I wouldn’t be telling you to make this.
The green addition here is a kale pesto, which is very simple to whip up while waiting for the rice to cook. It’s easiest in a food processor, but if (like me) you only have a blender, we can make it work too. I didn’t use my mason jar blender trick only because we’re going high-capacity with this one – we’re packing a huge volume of greens into this sauce! The recipe yields more pesto than you’ll need for the rice, which is a good thing because you’ll want to spoon it over everything in your path.
Use this green rice anywhere you normally include rice in your cooking, like under a stir fry, folded into a burrito, or alongside roasted chicken or grilled fish. As for the extra pesto, try it on sandwiches, pizza, eggs, toast… the sky’s the limit. It’s super versatile just like basil pesto, except even more so because kale is cold-hardy enough to stick with us through the winter months.
Last night I served it with simple broiled chicken breasts, and an old favorite – Smitten Kitchen’s Mediterranean pepper salad (so, so good). For me, an extra squeeze of lemon juice over the rice before serving is 100% essential – it makes the whole thing taste lighter and brighter, and creates a perfect balance with the earthy greens.