By Freya Bellin
The 60s may be behind us, but this recipe is sure to please your nostalgic inner hippie. It is undeniably healthy, and the ingredients work together in a really unique and flavorful way. Nutty brown rice is sweetened by raisins, complemented by sunflower seeds, and balanced out by fresh broccoli. I love the heat that the red chile flakes add, and toasting the sunflower seeds adds a lot of flavor. The raisins get nice and plump when mixed in with the warm ingredients, and while they may seem out of place with broccoli, they’re really an excellent sweet accent. Next time I would actually increase the measurement to about 1/2 cup.
Its being a one-pot dish is big plus. You toast the sunflower seeds, cook the rice, and steam the broccoli all in the same saucepan. Just be careful not to add too much water with the rice, otherwise the rice and broccoli can get mushy. Better to err on the side of too little and add more as you go. The result is a hearty side dish that’s special enough that you’ll be excited to serve it, but also simple enough that you can add it to your weeknight repertoire. The olive oil and lemon juice that are added at the end create a nice, simple dressing, and I added a bit more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pretty much any protein—simply seasoned chickpeas would work, or up the hippie ante with tofu, mentioned below. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
Sadly (or not), it sometimes feels that the only remnant of hippie culture in modern life is the popularity of health food. Unfortunately, much of what goes under the name “health food” tastes good only with the help of certain psychoactive drugs (come to think of it, there’s another holdover), but hippies did have a few decent ideas in the kitchen. How wrong can you go with brown rice, broccoli, sunflower seeds, and raisins? For best results, serve while wearing a tie-dyed apron and playing folk music in a VW van.
1⁄3 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup any long-grain brown rice
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), cored and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄3 cup raisins
1⁄2 teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste
1. Put the sunflower seeds in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, shaking the pan often, until they begin to brown but don’t burn, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the seeds from the pan and let cool in a big serving bowl.
2. Put the rice in the pan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook until most of the water is absorbed and the rice is just getting tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Pack the broccoli into the pan on top of the rice—don’t stir; just leave it on top—and add a little more liquid if the water is evaporating too quickly. Replace the lid and continue cooking, adding a small amount of water if the pan boils dry, until the rice and broccoli are both tender, 5 to 10 more minutes. Transfer the rice and broccoli to the bowl with the sunflower seeds and toss with the oil, raisins, and red chile flakes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or at room temperature with the lemon wedges.
Hippie Rice with Tofu. Use a large saucepan and add 1 pound cubed tofu to the pan along with the broccoli in Step 3. Use extra-firm or firm tofu if you want the cubes to keep their shape; use silken tofu if you want it to melt into the rice.