My rice cooker is one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  It is very easy for me to add rice, water/broth and some seasonings, turn it on and then forget about it.  Mine has a keep warm feature, so as long as I remember to actually start it before dinner time, it’s one less thing to worry about when preparing meals.  I try to vary the types of brown rice to keep things interesting.  My main staple is either long-grain or short-grain brown rice, but sometimes we have black sticky rice, or red rice, or some blends.  Trader Joe carries a rice medley that includes black barley and radish seeds, which add a bite to the rice.

Lately, I’ve been mixing up my own blends.  1/2 Cup Rice, 1/4 Cup Millet, 1/4 Cup Barley is one example.  If you have a rice cooker, and at least 1/2 your mix is rice, you can stick with the brown rice setting.  Most grains require a 2:1 ratio of liquid for the rice cooker.  Quinoa can be cooked on the white rice setting, but if I’m just throwing in 1/4 cup with rice, I stick with the brown rice setting.

I also like to vary the herbs and spices that I add to the rice.  You don’t need to add any, but I find that it jazzes up and also keeps it interesting.

For those who are new to a eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, here are some grains that are in my pantry:

long grain brown rice

short grain brown rice

brown basmati rice

brown jasmine rice

Trader Joe rice medley

red rice

black sticky rice

quinoa (white, red and black)


bulgar wheat



buckwheat (and if it’s toasted, it is kasha)

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