Italian Fried Rice Recipe and * VIDEO *


I ate an excessive amount of pasta growing up.  My mom prepared it about three times per week and then we usually had it also on Sundays when we went to spend the day with my mom’s family or my dad’s.  Pasta was part of our heritage, not just an easy dinner and not eaten plain with butter the way I know many kids prefer it.  (Coincidentally, my father is visiting this week and on Day 2 he was already asking for a plate of spaghetti!)

Italian Fried Rice made with brown rice and seasonal veggies | Pamela Salzman

Ironically I don’t make pasta much for my family, and not because we don’t like it.  We do!  And it’s not because pasta is a processed food, because it is and I try to limit those.  But, I don’t eat much pasta because I can’t stop myself from overeating it!  Did you know 1 serving of pasta is 1/2 cup?  Basically, I try to keep my carbohydrates to 2 servings per meal to avoid blood sugar spikes and to attempt to maintain a healthful weight.  Unfortunately, overeating pasta for me is very, very easy.  I think I can consume 4 cups of pasta no problem.  I know I can make a dish with mostly veggies and some pasta, but I always end up eating seconds.  And thirds.

Whole grains like farro, barley and brown rice I don’t overeat as easily.  A few years ago I ate a fried rice dish at Ammo in LA that was a game changer.  I always assumed fried rice to be Asian-inspired, but this one wasn’t.  And it’s not fried, by the way.  Just sautéed. It just had lots of seasonal market vegetables and brown rice all sautéed in olive oil.  It made me think about all the possibilities for fried rice and I have enjoyed making versions of that dish since then.  My favorite combination I came up with is this one here, which has an Itailian twist.  I am crazy for it because it makes me feel like I’m eating all the yummy flavors I would put in pasta and it feels more satisfying because the brown rice has so much more fiber than pasta.

But just like regular fried rice, this is a great way to use up bits of leftover veggies or any kind of grain, for that matter.  And it is super quick (as in minutes) to throw together.  I probably eat a version of this recipe for lunch more than anything else if I am working at home.  Now that I think about it, I am going to make this for my parents this week!

Italian Fried Rice with brown rice and veggies | pamela salzman

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Italian Fried Rice
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • a pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 or 2 cups of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps wiped clean with a damp paper towel and sliced thinly
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cups baby leafy greens like chard, kale and spinach or 6 stalks of kale, stemmed and leaves chopped or more
  • 3-4 cups COOKED short grain brown rice
  • chicken stock, vegetable stock or water, if necessary
  • optional accompaniment ideas: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino cheese, poached or fried egg, toasted, chopped nuts, hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when warm, add the garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until the garlic is just starting to turn golden on the edges, about 30-60 seconds.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until the tomatoes just start to lose their shape and the asparagus and mushrooms are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the fresh basil and sauté until wilted.
  3. Add the cooked rice, the greens and another pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until the rice is warmed through and the greens are wilted. If the rice and vegetables are sticking to the pan, add a splash of water or stock. Serve immediately with or without suggested accompaniments.
Notes
Cooked quinoa, millet or lentils can be subbed for the rice.  You can also use part grain/part chickpeas. Or omit the tomatoes and basil and use different quick-cooking vegetables like thinly sliced fennel, diced zucchini, shredded carrots, blanched cauliflower florets, peas, scallions.  And use different ingredients to add in later, such as cooked beets, sliced oranges, avocado, olives and so on.  There are unlimited combinations!

Mexican-style Sauteed Greens Recipe

Mexican-style sauteed greens | Pamela Salzman

You know what never happens?  I never make at home for dinner something that I am currently teaching in one of my classes.  Why?  Because I normally eat it several times a week and I am not super motivated to eat it any more than that, no matter how good it is!  This is even more true towards the end of the month after I have taught the same recipes a dozen or more times.

kale

Well, never say never because I have been teaching this Mexican-style sautéed greens recipe all month and I made it for dinner Monday night.  Why?  Because there is never any left after my class!  Everyone has just gone crazy for this recipe and finished every last morsel before I had my chance.  I look forward to these slightly spicy, tart greens and then….none for me.

jalapenos

I am really obsessed with Mexican food.  I love the bright, fresh, punchy flavors.  And the ingredients are easy to come by in Southern California.  I do find it hard, though, to come up with a wide variety of vegetable side dishes to complement whatever Mexican main dish I am making.  I have a lot of salads in my repertoire.  If you haven’t tried my Mexican Chopped Salad or my Avocado, Jicama and Mango Salad or the Cilantro Lime Slaw, those are just fabulous and deliver a lot of nutrition at the same time.

add the cherry tomatoes

But when I stumbled up this recipe for Quelites, I knew I found a new favorite Mexican side dish.  Quelites actually refer to a type of weed, also known as lamb’s quarters, but in the above mentioned recipe, mustard greens are used.  Mustard greens are a tad bitter for my husband and Mr. Picky, so I tried this recipe with lots of combinations of milder greens, like spinach, baby kale and chard, as well as dinosaur kale.  Love, love, love, love, LOVE!

Mexican-style sauteed greens

What I like best about this recipe is how the acidity from the lemon juice and the sweetness from the tomatoes tone down any bitterness from the greens (if you’re using mature kale, for example.)  I don’t think this recipe is very hot, even with an entire jalapeño, although I do remove the seeds, which is where the heat is more concentrated.  But it’s hot enough for my heat-averse guys.  I just add a few shakes of hot sauce to my greens and I’m happy.

Mexican-style sauteed greens | Pamela Salzman

I have eaten these Mexican-style greens with rice and beans (so simple and so good!), as well as chicken enchiladas and tacos.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you saw that I made them for dinner this week with a veggie paella (Spanish, not Mexican, but so what) and then the next day with scrambled eggs and a corn tortilla.  Whatever you’re making for Cinco de Mayo, this will be the perfect, healthful side!

Mexican-style sauteed greens | Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 5 reviews
Mexican-style Sauteed Greens
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (remove seeds to make it milder)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound kale, stems removed and leaves cut into strips or 10 ounces baby greens such as baby kale, Swiss chard and spinach
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until onion is tender and translucent, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes, or until tomatoes just start to lose their shape.
  3. Add the greens and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until greens are wilted and just tender.  Sturdier greens will take longer than baby greens.
  4. Pour lemon juice on top and taste for seasoning.  Serve immediately.

Balsamic-roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes recipe

balsamic-roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes | pamela salzman

I’d like to sneak in a nutritious recipe before Halloween if you’ll let me.  I need to one last swan song before local tomatoes go out of season until next June.  Moment of silence.  Until then, I am enjoying these sweet little orbs as much as I can.  I have always had a soft spot for cherry tomatoes, which seem to be consistently sweet as sugar.  I love to make a quick sauce out of them for pasta and they don’t weigh down salads like a chopped up beefsteak.  And as sweet as they are raw, they are even more so and more tomato-y roasted.

chop your garlic

This is a super easy and delicious way to enjoy broccoli and tomatoes while they are in season at the same time.  What I love about this combo is how the juice from the tomatoes mingles with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and gets trapped in the nooks and crannies of the broccoli florets.  So delish.  You can keep it really simple here and just roast the veggies with garlic, balsamic and oil or add a little fresh basil at the end like I did.  If you want to get fancy, toss on some toasted pine nuts and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese.  You can’t go wrong.  I think you could also make the same thing with eggplant and cherry tomatoes or zucchini and cherry tomatoes.  I served this the other night with some roasted salmon and corn-chimichurri sauce.  Yum!

balsamic-roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes | pamela salzman

balsamic-roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes | pamela salzman

Forgive the short post today, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not very organized in areas of my life that don’t relate to food.  As I predicted, Mr. Picky’s birthday party is being held tomorrow, 3 1/2 weeks after his real birthday.  I can’t remember the last time his party was actually in September.  Am I lame, or what?  He’s being a good sport about it and said, “That’s okay, Mom.  It makes my birthday last longer.”  Love that little guy.  I was actually so proud of myself that my son and I pulled together his Halloween costume already.  That’s about 2 1/2 weeks earlier than normal!  And then I opened my mail today and saw two catalogs for holiday cards.  I mean, really.

balsamic-roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes | pamela salzman

balsamic-roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes | pamela salzman

4.5 from 2 reviews
Balsamic-Roasted Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into florets and stems sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (or halve the garlic cloves for a more subtle flavor)
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil or melted coconut oil (I prefer the taste of olive oil here.)
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (don’t use the super expensive kind in this recipe)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • some fresh slivered basil to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the broccoli, tomatoes and garlic on the prepared pan. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and toss to combine. Spread out in a single layer on the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with fresh basil if you have it. Don’t worry about it if you don’t.
Notes
Broccoli "crowns" refer to just the tops, with minimal stalks.  I use the stems for juicing or for this delicious Broccoli Stalk Soup.