Black rice paella

Mr. Anti-Oxident


So I missed out on Valentines day again. Although, last year I was just in time to come up with this little heart-beet recipe.. this year I decided to just skip it totally. And not without a reason to be honest.

I just don’t like the way love becomes a commercial item. When you love someone, it should be called Valentines day, éveryday, right? Although, that’s what I’ve been trying, keeping this old Dutch saying in mind: it says love goes through the stomach. It sounds quite weird in English, but maybe there is a better translation for it out there. The point is, it actually says that someone who is an exquisite cook, or is able to prepare really tasty meals, should be loved for ever! (well, when that’s all we need to do..?)

I wish I could say it worked that way for my kids as well. But for some reason I still haven’t been able to turn them into vegetable loving rabbits. In the meantime, my sweet ega got totally hooked to the veggie meals, so that part is covered. But my oldest two, they are terrible where food is concerned. I sure wasn’t able to give them my veggie genes by birth, and 13 and 11 years later, it still looks hopeless. They crave for really creepy things like pizza with lots of cheese and salami sausages, for very chemical, blue coloured beverages, for loads of candy, covered in sugar, or for macaroni and cheese. Yak. Serious, they’re mine. I double checked. And when I force them every morning to drink their freshly squeezed orange juice (with lot’s of extra invisible love added) and a bowl of brainpower fruits, I sure know they hate me for the rest of the day. Which I luckily got used to as well, so I got that covered too.

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So this dish, as you can imagine, wasn’t made for them. And it sure wasn’t made for Valentines day. But this absolutely is a great recipe to try because this black rice seems to have some real nice health benefits in store. First of all, it looks amazing! The color is like a very deep ruby red or maybe even purple. But besides the looks, black rice is full of antioxidants, which help your body neutralising harmful free radicals, which may play a part in developing cancer. One tablespoon of black rice contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries, but less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E. This organic black rice has not been coloured afterwards (as the Italians and Spanish do for tradition with black squid ink, eew) because this rice is the same kind of sticky rice we use for sushi, but than including it’s original peel. Leaving the peel on makes it also a lot less sticky! Black rice has this wonderful nutty taste and is originally used in India, mainly in sweet dishes. Though, it tastes amazing in a savoury vegetable paella like this, the only thing you should keep in mind is that everything you cook along, gets this same dark colour too.

*I’m fan of Ottolenghi’s beautiful and tasty vegetarian book ‘Plenty’. I love his diverse and vibrant recipe’s. This recipe is based on his vegetarian paella. I have adapted it to my taste, and used some different ingredients as well as measurements.*

Ingredients for a black rice paella (serves 4)


1,5 cups (300 gr.) of Perla Negra (black rice)

2 cubes of vegetable broth

1 liter of water

1 red onion (medium sized)

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil or 3 large tbsp of coconut oil.

1 fennel

1 red paprika

1 yellow paprika

1 tsp of chili powder

1 tsp tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of turmeric

1 cup of medium dry sherry

150 gr. / 1 cup of kalamata olives

300 gr. /2 cups of artichoke hearts (on oil)

1 large cup of cherry tomatoes / mini pomodori’s

2 cups of frozen peas

1 or 2 lemons

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh parsley



Directions for a Black Rice paella:

Use 300 gr. / 1,5 of (Perla Negra) black rice. Wash it well, and drain
In a large pot, bring 1 liter of water to a boil, and add 2 cubes of vegetable broth
When the water starst to boil, add the black rice and a pinch of salt, lower the heat and add a lid. Cook for 25 minutes.
In the meantime, chop the red onion,
and mince the 4 garlic cloves
In a heavy skillet, heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, or 3 large tbsp of coconut oil.
Add the onions and garlic, and melt for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring now and than
Finely cut the fennel, remove the harder parts, wash and drain.



Wash the paprika’s and remove seeds and white parts.
Cut them lengthwise
Add paprika and fennel to the onions, stir fry for another 4 or 5 minutes on medium heat, than ad the turmeric, chili and cumin powder. Stir in well.
Add 1 cup of medium dry sherry, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Than turn down heat, and close lid.
After 25 minutes of cooking the rice, add the rice including broth to the vegetable mix.
Mix all together, cover with lid, and cook for another 20 minutes on lowered heat. Stir now and than.
In the meantime, cut 150 gr, / 1 cup of kalamata olives in half, and drain 300 gr. /2 cups of artichoke hearts. Cut them into smaller pieces.
Cut 1 large cup of cherry tomatoes / mini pomodori’s in half (or in 4)
Pour boiling water on to 2 cups of frozen peas.
Let it rest for about a minute, than drain.
When cooking time is done, add all freshly cut vegetables on top of the hot black rice. Don’t stir in yet!
Cover with lid and let it rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, gently stir in the vegetables, and bring to taste with seasalt and freshly ground pepper. Serve directly. Add a part of lemon to each plate and garnish with chopped parsley.
Bon appétit!


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