Win the lottery!
Who says you can’t have it all? This combination of squash, mushrooms, carrots, and wild rice has so many vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants, it’s impossible not to eat this and think you’ve won the food lottery!
True wild rice is the grain and basis of this dish. It is the only cereal grain native to North America and was first traded by the Indians and French in the New World. Over 1,000 years ago, the North American Indians hand-harvested this aquatic grass that grows along the shores of the Great Lakes. The harvesting process was laborious; two people would ride in a canoe along the lake shore, one paddling the boat and the other shaking the reeds of grass to collect the grain. Once collected, the grain was parched over a fire pit, thrashed, then winnowed, or tossed in the air to dry. Today, those same processes are in place, however they are done by machine, not man.
Wild rice can usually be found in the bulk section of most grocers. Note that this recipe does not call for a wild rice ‘blend’, but the pure form of the grain. One cup of rice yields about four one-cup servings. Some grocers carry a true grain wild rice on the shelves, but it is usually quite expensive. The bulk aisle is the way to go on this one.
Vitamins, minerals, nutrients
Wild rice offers more protein than brown rice, and contains essential minerals phosphate, potassium, and manganese. Interestingly, wild rice is very high in the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are critical to healthy eyes. It is naturally low-fat, gluten-free, and has a savory, nutty flavor. It pairs well as a side dish to many proteins, and serves as a complete protein when combined with supplemental foods like mushrooms.
Mushrooms are a great source of selenium, potassium, and copper. Selenium is a component of antioxidant enzymes that regulate the thyroid hormone. Potassium assists in regulating blood pressure by helping the kidneys excrete excess sodium. Copper is a component of several enzymes involved in iron metabolism and serves as an antioxidant.
They’re also a good source of the B vitamins: B5 (pantothenic acid, which is essential for energy metabolism), B3 (niacin, which helps control HDL levels and is essential for ATP and DNA repair), and B2 (riboflavin, which is essential for RNA/DNA synthesis and control of neurofunctions). While not only providing a good dose of vitamins, mushrooms also provide trace minerals, which are essential to keep the body balanced and in-check.
Nuts and vegetables
Zucchini and yellow squash are both categorized as summer squash and are high in vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium, phosphate, and Omega’s 3 and 6. Summer squash, which contains a high percentage of water, is hydrating to the digestive system and provides essential electrolytes. The pectin, or fiber, in squash is a beneficial polysaccharide that is believed to improve cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol. Carrots add to the scope of nutrients by providing vitamin A, as well as beta carotene. The addition of walnuts to this recipe also increases its nutritional value significantly. One quarter cup of walnuts provide more than 100% of the recommended daily value of plant-based Omega 3. They are also high in magnesium, vitamin B6, and fiber. Water chestnuts are a low-cholesterol, low-sodium non-starch vegetable which provide additional crunch and nutrients, particularly vitamin B6.
Wild Rice Veggie Bowl (serves 4)
2 cups wild rice
8 cups water or broth
2 medium zucchinis, finely chopped
2 yellow squash, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon sage
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Clean and remove stems from mushrooms.
- In a Dutch oven, melt butter and add mushrooms, wine, dill, and two cups broth.
- Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Combine parsley, garlic, onion powder, and turmeric.
- Bring 2 cups wild rice (with the seasonings above) to boil in 6 cups water or broth; once boiling, cover and simmer for 35 minutes.
- Heat oil to medium high on stovetop.
- Add chopped vegetables, water chestnuts and sage; combine and cook on relatively high heat for 3 minutes (you want the vegetables semi-firm).
- Stir and fluff rice; place in bowls.
- Add vegetables.
- Add mushrooms and some of the cooking liquid from the mushrooms.
- For extra nutrients, try adding cooked spinach or kale, chopped celery, roasted cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds.
- Time-saver alert! Cook the mushrooms in a slow cooker while you’re away; then, cook the rice and vegetables when you get home.
- Cooked chicken, beef, or tofu may be added to the dish.
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