03 September 2013

Sprouted Black Rice & Tomato Stacks


Are you getting your fill of tomatoes this summer? I've mostly been enjoying them simply with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of balsamic. But I was recently inspired by Sarah's sprouted wild rice salad on My New Roots and decided it was time to jazz up the juicy bright yellow tomatoes before they were crowded out by warmer-toned apples, mushrooms, and winter squash, which is already starting to happen over here. How is that possible?!

Thick tomato slices are stacked high with alternate layers of basil-lime sprouted black rice. The flavors and colors really pop and the stacks are a delightful addition to any meal. I've already talked about why I love black rice here. And for this recipe, the rice can of course be cooked as usual (just be sure to toss the rice with the vinaigrette while it is still warm so it absorbs the yummy flavors). But sprouting grains is a nice change for warm weather if you are looking to keep your meals on the cooler side. Sprouting also offers many health benefits including but not limited to neutralizing the phytic acid coating and activating enzymes. Check out this informative article on the many benefits of sprouting and for a "how-to" on different sprouting methods.



Sprouting
Don't let the idea intimidate. It is easy in fact, but it does take a few days to see the process through, most of which requires none of your attention. There are many methods for sprouting. I use this nut milk and sprouting bag from Amazon. A large Mason jar with holes punched in the lid for smaller seeds/grains or a colander for larger legumes/grains also work. I include two methods for sprouting below, one of which requires no special equipment. And if you are worried about texture, black rice softens nicely after being sprouted, which is why I wanted to feature it here. 



I will leave you to ponder over the magic of sprouting for the next few weeks, as I will be taking a break from posting to enjoy a long-awaited late summer holiday. 

But in the meantime I would love to hear your thoughts on sprouting. Do you sprout at home? If so, what do you enjoy sprouting the most? And how do you incorporate the sprouts into a recipe? 

Sprouted Black Rice & Tomato Stacks
Inspired by My New Roots
Serves 4-6

Notes: Before starting the sprouting process, make sure the rice is fresh and has not exceeded its expiration date. This will ensure the rice will sprout or 'bloom' properly. If it does not split open and become tender after 2-3 days, you should throw it in a pot and cook it instead.

1 1/2 cups black rice
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped or torn
1/2 cup cashews, toasted and chopped

Vinaigrette
Juice from 2 limes
1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 large colorful tomatoes, cut in thick slices

Mix ingredients for the vinaigrette in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add sprouted (directions below) or cooked black rice, onion, basil, and cashews. Toss to combine.

Place 1 layer of tomato slices on a plate and spoon (or use an ice cream scoop) mounds of black rice mixture on each tomato slice. Top with another tomato slice and finish with more black rice.

Sprouting
Rinse rice and add to a large glass container. Fill with water, cover, and let soak on the counter overnight (~ 8 hours). In the morning drain and rinse. Then continue on with sprouting method 1 or 2 below.

Method # 1 (Nut milk/Sprouting Bag)
Place rice in the sprouting bag and hang somewhere that allows water to drain from the bag. (I hang mine in the shower, but it could also hang from a kitchen or bathroom cabinet if it is directly over the sink ). Rinse the bag 2-3 times per day and leave hanging for 2-3 days, until you see the rice grains split open and are tender. This took me 2 days.

Method # 2 (Refrigeration - Courtesy of  My New Roots)

Cover rice with fresh water and put in the fridge. Drain and rinse the rice at least twice per day for 2-3 days until the rice has “bloomed” – some or all of the grains will have split open, and it should be tender to eat.

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