Fancy up your brown rice by cooking it with tiny black lentils. You’ll get lots of advantages from little effort: more protein, less greenhouse-gas emissions, more flavor, and less arsenic. Thanks to my friend Elise for the inspiration. She cooks lentils and rice together, then tops the mix with stir-fries, salads, or roasted vegetables for a quick complete meal.
Tuxedo Rice costs just 22 cents a serving using organic ingredients.
One cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein, while 1 cup of cooked black lentils has 18 grams.
Less greenhouse-gas emissions
Growing lentils produces about a fifth of the carbon-equivalent that growing brown rice does, according to the Environmental Working Group. Lentils are at the top of their list of smart food choices, with rice coming in at number 10, after beans, broccoli, nuts, and peanut butter. When you eat a mix of lentils and rice, you are shrinking your climate footprint.
Black lentils have a rich, earthy flavor. They are sometimes called beluga lentils for their resemblance to caviar. That’s why I call this dish Tuxedo Rice.
The secret is to cook rice like noodles, in lots of water, and then drain it and let it steam in a covered pot to fluffy perfection. I started using this way of cooking rice when I found out about the sometimes dangerous levels of arsenic in rice. All that water washes away a considerable amount of the heavy metal. Using a 50/50 blend of rice and lentils cuts your exposure roughly in half. Adults can safely eat 2 cups of Tuxedo Rice a week, about four servings.
Choose rice from California, India, or Pakistan. If you are feeding young children or eat a lot of rice or rice products, you may want to switch to white rice, which has less arsenic but also less fiber and nutrition.