Yes, black rice is 100% gluten-free! It's also a perfect way to add a boost of flavor, color and nutrition to your gluten-free diet. Hearty and nutritious, naturally gluten-free black rice just isn't for Kings and Queens anymore (read on!)
Is Black Rice Gluten Free?
Yes, black rice is completely gluten-free!
Like all types of rice, black rice does not contain any gluten.
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.
For those of us with gluten intolerance, gluten can cause bloating, burping, gas, stomach pain and nausea.
Just to name a few symptoms.
And that's just no fun!
And when you're following a gluten-free diet, it's soooo good to know which grains you can safely eat.
You can go ahead and put naturally gluten-free black rice on your menu plan😄
🌾What is Black Rice?
Black rice is a type of rice that is known by its dark purplish-black color.
How'd it get that colour?
Black rice is dark purple from having high levels of anthocyanin pigments in the outer bran layer of the rice grain.
These pigments also are the main reason the rice has so many freakin' amazing health benefits.
Because broadly speaking, dark colours in nature = powerful antioxidants.
Black rice also has a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture.
It's often called to the "forbidden rice".
Sounds so special. And it was. Historically speaking, it was rare throughout history and sometimes reserved only for Chinese royalty!
So black rice has a distinctive color and taste, sure.
But that's not all!
Black rice is known for being back with nutrition too.
Black rice has high levels of fiber, iron, and other essential nutrients.
✅Nutritional benefits of black rice
Black rice packs a nutritional-punch!
Check this out:
Rich in Antioxidants
Black rice is packed with antioxidants, mainly anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins is the colour that make black rice, well black!
And these pigments also are one of the sources that give black rice powerful health-promoting properties.
These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress in the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Source of Fibre
In addition to its antioxidant content, black rice is a good source of fiber.
The dietary fiber in black rice promotes digestive health by supporting regular bowel movements and aiding in the prevention of constipation.
Fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels, making black rice a potentially beneficial food if you live with diabetes.
Furthermore, black rice contains essential minerals such as iron and copper, which are so important for your body to make red blood cells and overall energy metabolism.
The presence of these minerals makes black rice a nutritious option for those looking to meet their daily nutritional requirements.
The nutty flavor and chewy texture of black rice make it a versatile and satisfying addition to various dishes.
🚫When black rice is NOT gluten-free
Because you need to know where the gluten could be hiding to make sure you don't eat gluten without meaning to, watch out for these situations.
Any of these could make naturally gluten-free black rice, not so gluten-free after all.
- Black rice cooked in broth that contains gluten. I LOVE cooking rice in chicken broth because it really gives some flavor to the rice as it's cooking. Here's the downside: chicken broth can have gluten in the form of flavorings (often listed as "yeast"). So if you're cooking black rice at home, make sure you use gluten-free broth. If you're at a restaurant, ask if the rice is truly gluten-free
- Black rice as a part of a salad. So I love a big ol' salad, packed with crunchy veggies, a hearty grain and some lean protein (like this Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad Recipe (gluten-free). But unless you're making it yourself, black rice salads can introduce gluten in the form of other ingredients that aren't naturally gluten-free. Ingredients like barley (not gluten-free) or farro (also not gluten-free) make your black rice salad unsafe to eat. Make your own salads to be sure it's gluten free
- Black rice in a pre-packaged or pre-prepared dish. You know those packages of rice and spices and maybe some dried vegetables in the grocery store? They can be so convenient and a great way to have a quick side-dish at dinnertime. The downside? They can pack in some gluten from flavorings, binders or hidden ingredients that introduce gluten into the dish. Be sure to read labels VERY carefully. Check the ingredient list for any gluten-containing items and check to see if gluten is listed on the packages' allergen label
🥣How to Cook Black Rice
Cooking black rice isn't that different from cooking other kinds of rice.
Here's a simple way to cook it:
- 1 cup black rice
- 1 ¾ cups water or gluten-free broth
- Salt (optional)
- Rinse the rice: Place the black rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Rinsing helps remove excess surface starch and any impurities from the rice.
- Soak the rice (optional): While you don't have to soak the rice, soaking black rice for 30 minutes to an hour can help to cut the cooking time and improve the texture. If you go the soak route, drain the rice after soaking.
- Combine rice and water or broth: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the rinsed or soaked black rice with 1 ¾ cups of water or gluten-free chicken broth. If you like, add a pinch of salt for seasoning.
- Bring to a boil: Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.
- Simmer: Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, and let the rice simmer. Cooking times may vary, but typically black rice takes about 30-40 minutes to cook. If you buy the rice in bulk, use this method for cooking. But if you buy the black rice in a pacakge, check the package instructions for specific times for cooking.
- Check for doneness: After the recommended cooking time, check the rice for doneness. It should be tender but still have a slight chewiness.
- Let it rest: Remove the saucepan from heat and let the black rice sit, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes. This allows the residual steam to finish cooking the rice and makes it fluffier.
- Fluff with a fork: After letting it rest, use a fork to fluff the rice gently. This helps separate the grains and improve the texture.
This will give you 3 cups of cooked black rice.
Your black rice is now ready to be served as a side dish, as part of a salad, or in any recipe that calls for rice😋
It's cool too because color of black rice transforms from a rich, satin black to a deep purple. Colour changing rice!
🥘Where to use black rice
Black rice can be used in so many different dishes! Almost anywhere you're using rice, right now - consider chnaging it up with black rice.
Keep in mind, wherever you use it: you'll get that bold purple colour, a more nutty flavor than other rice and a chewier texture.
Here's some ideas on where to use black rice:
- Side Dish: Serve black rice as a side dish alongside grilled or roasted meats, vegetables, or seafood. Its cool colour and texture will get an "ohh and ahh" from family members (kids excepted)
- Salads: Toss cooked and cooled black rice into salads to add to add some texture to wilty salads and major nutritional value. Black rice goes with almost all types of fresh veggies, herbs, and will stand up to any dressing you toss it in.
- Stir-Fries: Use black rice as a base for stir-fries instead of plain white rice. Its chewy texture goes well with stir-fried vegetables and the tender chunks of chicken, beef or tofu.
- Grain Bowls: Create grain bowls with a mix of black rice, vegetables, protein (such as grilled chicken or tofu), and your favorite sauce. Try this Chicken & Mango Quinoa Bowls with Peanut Sauce but swap out the quinoa for black rice!
- Sushi Rolls: Swap out traditional white rice with black rice when making sushi rolls.
- Burger Patties: Mix cooked black rice into a veggie burger or your next meat patty for added texture and a nutty taste (fibre bonus in powered-up burgers does not need to be shared with kiddos around the table😉)
- Breakfast Bowls: Yes, you can have rice for breakfast! Hello, millions (?billions) of people do. Including my youngest son. Use black rice as a base for breakfast bowls, topped with fruits, nuts, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Yum😋
- Soup Garnish: Sprinkle cooked black rice on top of soups just before serving. Gives some texture to smooth soups and it looks gorgeous (we eat with our eyes first!) Try some black rice topped on this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk.
- Stuffings: Incorporate black rice into stuffings for vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms. More texture, more nutrition and a fun colour
🙋♀️Bottom Line on Black Rice and Your Gluten-Free Diet
Black rice is a naturally gluten-free and super nutritious addition to your gluten free diet. If you're looking to change things up from regular basmati or jasmine rice (also gluten-free like all rice), black rice is a great way to spice things up!
If you try black rice, let me know in the comments what you thought!
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