While this week’s recipe is ideal following a trip to the farmer’s market, it is also a great way to utilize leftovers. This one-dish meal is an easy, protein-packed choice with unlimited options for varying the ingredients.
While white rice accounts for most of the grain eaten worldwide, brown rice is far superior nutritionally. Unlike white rice, brown rice is a whole grain and contains the nutrient-rich outer layer (or bran) that is discarded in white varieties.
Stripping the grain of its bran layer eliminates a majority of the fiber along with many vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked white rice contains only 1 gram of fiber, while the same portion of brown rice provides nearly four times that. Better still, recent research has shown that the fiber found in whole grains like brown rice is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Although the zucchini and yellow squash featured in this recipe are technically summer squash, they are available year round in most grocery stores. Thanks to a high water content, these veggies are very low-calorie; they also cook quite rapidly, unlike their winter squash cousins. Similarly, unlike winter squash, which requires removal of their tough skins, be sure to keep the skins on your yellow squash and zucchini – that’s where all the nutrients are.
This recipe offers an easy way to pack in the veggies. And, increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables has proven beneficial in reducing cancer risk. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day could drop cancer rates by roughly 20 percent. This salad provides two servings of vegetables per portion.
So, whether you’re disguising last night’s scraps or cooking from scratch, your family is sure to enjoy this economical, healthy and delicious one-dish meal.
Brown Rice Pilaf with Squash and Chicken - Makes 5 servings.
1 cup brown rice
2 cups fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 ½ Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. sliced toasted almonds, for garnish
Cook the brown rice according to package instructions, substituting chicken broth for water.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken, and soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked rice and the egg to the skillet. Stir over medium heat until the egg is just cooked.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve.
Per serving: 327 calories, 9 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 36 g carbohydrate, 24 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 459 mg sodium.
AICR offers a Nutrition Hotline (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. This free service allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides a range of education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. It has provided more than $65 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.