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Brown Rice
Rice Select’s Olive Oil & Garlic Brown Rice, paired with fresh veggies of the season, contributes whole-grain nutrition and fiber.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.

 

 

April 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Vegetables

RiceSelect Organic Brown Rice Mixes

Side Dishes Of Tasty, Organic Brown Rice

 

 

CAPSULE REPORT: The USDA recommends three servings of whole grains daily. An easy way to get them is by serving brown rice at dinner. RiceSelect has six flavored rice mixes, based on a strain of basmati called Texmati (it’s grown in Texas). There are three 100% whole grain brown rice mixes, which do qualify for your daily allocation, and three light brown rice mixes that are more refined and don’t—but are still more nutritious than white rice. The mixes simply require water, butter and simmering for 20 minutes or more. The line is USDA-certified organic and certified kosher. The company makes a standard (non-organic) line of rice mixes along with plain brown or white organic rice, specialty rices, couscous and orzo.

Basmati, the rice variety used in India and by many fine chefs in the U.S., is a longer, more Texmati Brown Riceelegant grain that stays firm and separates after cooking—no clumpy rice. The makers of RiceSelect were the first to grow basmati rice successfully in the U.S., along the Texas Gulf Coast. They developed a portfolio of gourmet rice varieties, and then began to grow organic rice, available in brown as well as and white. You can purchase them in the company’s signature packaging (see photo at right) at fine food stores.

Next, to help busy people—or those who just don’t like to spend much time in the kitchen—the company developed what on their website is called “side dishes,” and we’ll call rice mixes. After all, if you’re a vegetarian, brown rice can be more of a main event than a side.

Rice Mix Flavors

While the flavor variations aren’t enormous, there’s enough differentiation among the rices to provide variety, if you wanted to have them several times a week.
RiceSelect Organic Rice Mix

Light Brown Rice Mixes

A word about light brown rice mixes: They taste good, but don’t give you the whole-grain nutrition that standard brown rice supplies. That’s because, while the endosperm is not fully milled, it’s partially milled. So these rices don’t get the Whole Grain Council’s 100% Whole Grain stamp, which you’ll see on the front of the box in the Brown Rice Mixes section. (Learn more about the Whole Grain Council and stamp.)

What you do get is a shorter cooking time (half, in fact—20 minutes), and perhaps more familiarity from family members, especially young ’uns, who may not care for regular brown rice but will enjoy the soft sweetness of the light brown variety. All of the mixes look attractive, with abundant flecks of herbs throughout.

Toasted Almond Pilaf Light Brown Rice Mix. Scattered throughout this mix chunks of heart-healthy almonds. According to the FDA, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” So what you give up in whole grain, you gain in heart-healthy nuts. Of the light brown blends, Toasted Almond Pilaf has the most texture, thanks to the almonds. You can also taste the garlic, onions and other spices used to punch up the flavor.

Three Cheese Light Brown Rice Mix. This will please anyone who loves macaroni and cheese—it’s a flavored-rice version. While not the most sophisticated of flavors, it’s comfort food. However, we have a recommendation: Purchase the Olive Oil & garlic brown rice mix below, or any of the rice mixes, and fold in a tablespoon of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. We do it all the time when we cook plain rice, and the authentic cheese flavor is more exciting than any powdered cheese in a mix could hope to be.

Toasted Almond Pilaf
All product photography by Dhanraj Emanuel.

Roasted Chicken & Herb Light Brown Rice Mix. This was our least favorite mix, not that it wasn’t tasty. It just promises a roast chicken flavor—or maybe even nuggets of chicken? However, there’s no more chicken flavor than there would be if you had cooked the rice with a chicken bouillon cube. Nor does the ingredients list provide any enlightenment—the word “chicken” never appears, although there are diced carrots, red bell peppers, minced onion, spinach flakes and sundried tomato granules.

Whole Grain Brown Rice Mixes

The brown rice mixes have more whole grain fiber and nutrition. They also take longer to cook, and produce a chewier product—pleasantly al dente, but different from the soft rice most people are accustomed to. We tried the recipe using the standard measurements as well as adding an incremental quarter-cup of water suggested for those who like a fluffier rice. While the extra water made a slight difference, it’s still al dente rice. We actually liked “the whole grain” texture.

You’ll notice the yellow Whole Grain stamp on the bottom left side of the box, assuring you that the product is 100% whole grain.

Garden Vegetable Brown Rice Mix. Flavorful and colorful—it looks like Spanish rice with corn kernels, peas and bits of bell pepper—this rice has a mild peppery finish. A good everyday choice, and also works well with Mexican foods.

Roasted Garlic & Organic Olive Oil Brown Rice Mix. The most basic of the mixes, it is plain but very satisfying.

Wild Mushroom & Herb Brown Rice Mix. The mushroom flavor is subtle here. It’s fine as is, but adding our own dried mushrooms to the pot (and at a separate tasting, adding sautéed fresh mushrooms to the cooked product) made this dish even more exciting.

After making your first box, you’ll see how easy it is to enjoy whole grains at dinner. Half a cup equals one portion. If you like rice and eat a full cup’s worth, you’ve taken care of two of your three daily portions of whole grains.

Garlic Brown Rice Mix
Garden Vegetable Whole Grain Brown Rice Mix
has al dente texture with colorful nuggets of
vegetables.

Start the day with a whole grain breakfast cereal and you’re all set!

RICE SELECT ORGANIC BROWN RICE SIDE DISHES
ORGANIC LIGHT BROWN RICE: Three Cheese, Roasted Chicken & Herb, Toasted Almond Pilaf
ORGANIC 100% WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE: Garden Vegetable, Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil, Wild Mushroom & Herb

Certified kosher by Star-K
USDA-certified organic

  • 4-Pack (For Online Purchase)
    Boxes Are 5.3- To 5.6
    Ounces, Based On Flavor
    $13.00

Buy online* at RiceSelect.com

 

Products are also available at fine retailers nationwide.

Garden Vegetable Brown Rice

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

 

© Copyright 2005-2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their respective owners.

 



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