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Vegan for the Holidays

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Veteran cookbook author and visual artist Nava Atlas offers one of her captivating side dishes ideal for the Thanksgiving table. In this color-drenched recipe Nava brings bright and cheery foods of the season together in one dish, combining black or wild rice, corn, scallions, and cranberries, and adds a splash of pumpkin seeds for the garnish. The eye-appealing splash of color makes the dish inviting, while the tasty blend of herbs and seasonings brings out the best of flavors. Nava shares this recipe from her Vegan Holiday Kitchen cookbook published by Sterling, 2011. The photo is by Susan Voisin.

Black Rice with Corn & Cranberries

Black Rice with Corn and Cranberries

This gorgeous, festive grain dish is perfect for the fall and winter holidays. It's a substantial side dish for eaters of all persuasions and can be stuffed into small squashes like golden acorn or delicata to serve as a main dish for the vegetarians and vegans at the table. But don't save it only for special occasions--it's simple enough to make for everyday meals and comes together in a snap once your rice is cooked. Look for black rice in the specialty grains section of natural foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets, sometimes labeled as forbidden rice.

8 servings

Nava Atlas

    1 cup forbidden black rice or wild rice
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
    3 to 4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
    2 cups lightly cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
    1/4 cup lemon or lime juice, or to taste
    1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, to taste
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds for topping

  1. If using forbidden rice, combine in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. If you'd like a more tender grain, add 1/2 cup additional water and cook until absorbed. If using wild rice, combine with 3 cups of water and cook as directed above.
  2. Just before the rice is done, heat half of the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden. Add the scallions and corn kernels and sauté just until warmed through.
  3. Transfer the cooked rice to the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium high, then add the lime juice, cilantro, cumin, oregano, thyme, cranberries, and remaining oil. Stir together gently, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, transfer to an attractive serving platter and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top.

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