Black Rice With Beets and Sesame Seeds

Beets shine like ruby-red jewels among the deep, black grains of rice. Little sprinkles of vitamin-rich sesame seeds add a toasty complement to the rich Middle Eastern spices.


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

2 teaspoons za’atar or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, and 2 teaspoons sumac

1 carrot, diced

1 large beet, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)

5 cups water

2 tablespoons tahini

⅓ cup black rice or mixed wild rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear, and soaked while preparing the other ingredients

Peel of 1 lemon, grated (about 2 teaspoons)


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the leeks and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture is soft and translucent. Stir in the salt, pepper and za’atar and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the carrot and beet and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. In a small bowl, add ¼ cup of the water and the tahini and stir to dissolve. Add to the pot and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in the rice and the remaining quart water. Increase the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender but still has some bite to it (al dente).
  5. Serve warm with a sprinkle of the lemon peel.

Want more nourishing plant-based soup recipes? You can find them in my Soup Cleanse Cookbook ;).

Black Rice With Beets and Sesame Seeds was originally published in Splendid Spoon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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