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Rice Plus Protein Plus Magic

How great is it to be vaccinated and finally able to be with our extended families again? It  certainly was great for me to have an entire weekend with my kids and with my husband’s sisters and their families.

In addition to the best grilled chicken ever (courtesy of yet another recipe from Smitten Kitchen), we made a fabulous vegan rice salad that included lentils as the protein. It was divine.

So what’s the magic? Well, a couple of years ago, I wrote about resistant starch. To refresh your memory, I wrote in that post that:

Resistant starch, as its name implies, resists digestion in the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine (1). The fermentation acts as a prebiotic to make the intestinal microbiome healthier. And we all know how much I love that microbiome.

What is more, since resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine, it makes you feel more full, helps prevent constipation, doesn’t raise blood levels of glucose, and lowers your cholesterol.

So what’s the deal with cold rice? It seems as though some alchemy is involved: when you cook rice (or even potatoes or pasta) and then refrigerate it, more of the starch becomes resistant starch. And that doesn’t change if you then reheat the food!

So now you know: cold rice is a wonder. I hope you enjoy this recipe. I originally made it with lime juice – but limes are such a pain to juice, so I’m using fresh orange juice here.

Even more, I hope you get to enjoy being with friends and family again once everyone’s vaccinated. What a blessing.


Brown Rice & Lentil Salad with Sesame Orange Dressing


Rice Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 cups brown rice, cooked and cooled
    1-2 cups cooked lentils (any kind, but red would be gorgeous)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 oranges, (1 set aside for the dressing), and 1-2 peeled, divided into sections, and each section halved
  • Some or all of the following:
    1-3 diced or shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced jicama
    1 cup cooked broccoli, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup frozen petite peas, thawed at room temperature
  • ½ cup currants or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup roughly chopped peanuts or toasted cashews
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

(1 Tablespoon sesame seeds – for later – optional )

Orange Sesame Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    2 teaspoons orange zest


  1. In a large bowl, combine the brown rice salad ingredients.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. Drizzle in the dressing (you might not want to use all of it – you can save it for another time) over the salad. Toss.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


(1)Snelson N et al. Metabolic Effects of Resistant Starch Type 2: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients 2019, 11(8), 1833