Vegan brown rice “rissotto”

Vegan brown rice rissotto

Not long ago I got two emails from readers asking if I could give them ideas on how to cook brown rice.

About a week later we hear the alarming news that government agencies were warning consumers in the US that rice might be contaminated with arsenic. Shortly thereafter another warning: brown rice was even worse.

I felt a bit discouraged, after all, rice is the staple of our cuisine. I sent out a frustrated “tweet” that read: “Fish: mercury. Rice: arsenic. Chicken: hormones. Beef: antibiotics. Fruits: pesticides. – How about grass, eh? Can I eat grass?”.

Vegan brown rice "rissotto"

It seems as if we were never meant to be on top of the food chain. Our food is fighting back and poisoning us. But nature is not to blame, each and every one of those instances have been of our own making. We poisoned our environment and were fools to think it would not come back to bite us (pun intended).

So, what now? What will we eat?

Vegan brown rice "rissotto"

I am not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV. But this is what I’ll do: I will keep eating everything, and everything in moderation. Eating the same food day after day is a foolish proposition. We won’t escape the consequences of our carelessness, but I will sure try to minimize it.

And if you believe that because you don’t live in the US you will not be affected by this, think again. Are you sure these same products were not used in your country? Do you know where your food came from?

A little bit of paranoia can be a good thing.

Aunt Clara
Vegan brown rice “rissotto”
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Half way between locrio and asopao, this vegan brown rice resembles more a rissotto with its firm, grains. Rich in fiber, and busting with vegetables, and with added protein from the beans, this is the perfect confort dish for veggie-lovers.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 3 cups of brown rice
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup of boiled, but firm black beans
  • 3 cups of tomato, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 pinch of minced dry tarragon (optional)
  1. Place the rice in a bowl and add 7 cups of water to it. Let it rest for 2 hours.
  2. In a thick-bottom pot heat the oil over very low heat.
  3. Add garlic and onion and cook and stir for a minute.
  4. Add carrots, zucchini, beans, tomato, bell pepper and cook and stir for a minute.
  5. Season with salt, a pinch of pepper and tarragon.
  6. Drain the water from the rice. Reserve the rice and add the water to the pot with the vegetables.
  7. When the pot breaks the boil, add the rice.
  8. Cook over medium heat for 7 minutes.
  9. Lower the heat to the lowest setting.
  10. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the rice is firm but tender (think "al dente").
  11. Serve
Receive Aunt Clara’s Updates
Find out about new recipes, articles, and sometimes exclusive content.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Terri November 28, 2012, 1:48 PM

    This looks beautiful and tasty. Just the recipe I needed to spice up that bag of brown rice sitting in the cupboard, thanks!

  • Daisy Diaz-Alemany October 12, 2012, 1:07 PM

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. The “risotto” was awesome. Can not wait to try the sopa de mapuey.

  • Suzanne Perazzini October 7, 2012, 4:06 AM

    I hadn’t even heard of this – aaahhh! I agree with you, when does it stop? They keep poisoning our main food sources and then say beware! Where do we turn?

    • Aunt Clara October 7, 2012, 8:46 AM

      I added links to some news source in the first paragraph.

      Yes, our food is fighting back. Next on Broadway: Rice and Old Lace. :)

  • Tonia October 6, 2012, 12:25 AM

    I made this tonight with brown jasmine rice, yellow paste tomatoes and red peppers from my garden. It was absolutely delicious. Seemed very decadent for something so healthful.

    • Aunt Clara October 7, 2012, 8:54 AM

      Nice! Thanks for sharing your experience and ideas.

  • Charlie Sommers October 5, 2012, 3:52 PM

    Recipe sounds delicious, I am a diabetic and have been eating brown jasmine rice for decades. My rice is grown in Thailand and should be safer than most American grown rice. My Japanese wife still eats white rice but I am slowly convincing her that brown is the way to go. Thanks for the recipe and the heads up.

    • Aunt Clara October 11, 2012, 2:37 PM

      Charlie, I too eat mostly brown rice, and incredibly, I love it. But are you sure that your rice isn’t contaminated? Aren’t these same pesticides and products available everywhere? What are the chances of the Thai government telling you that their products are contaminated too? It’s best to be cautious.

      • Charlie Sommers October 11, 2012, 3:46 PM

        Thanks for your concern Aunt Clara, If I understand things correctly the particular pesticide that USDA warned us about is found in rice that is produced on land that used to support cotton agriculture. Cotton is notorious for the amount of pesticides used in farming it. A bit more research tells me that some Asian countries, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, and Thailand use more pesticides in rice cultivation than in days gone by I would switch to organic but with my fixed income that would mean giving up bourbon. I’ve already made it to almost 71 so I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. Maybe the alcohol in the bourbon will help control the carcinogens in the pesticides. :-)

  • Tonia October 5, 2012, 1:12 PM

    Thanks for the great recipe along with your thoughts. I really like what you wrote. I’ve been worrying about “food” for a while. I don’t think enough people really take these things seriously.