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With the U.S. Dietary Guidelines encouraging Americans to eat more whole grains—"Make half your grains whole" is the recommendation—your customers will be looking for tasty ways to comply. You can help them by practicing "stealth health" and introducing whole-grain dishes with contemporary appeal that just happen to be good for you, too. You don't need to highlight their healthfulness. That's the stealth part. Diners will take more pleasure in a dish they have chosen because it sounds delicious, not just because they think it's healthy.

Seven-Rice Tabbouleh Salad with Green Lentils, Fava Beans, Tomatoes, and Cucumber. View the recipe or watch the video.
While most of the rice consumed worldwide is milled and has nutritional benefits, brown rice is the unmilled kernel with only the outer husk removed, and is 100 percent whole grain. It retains the nutritious bran and germ, with all the fiber and phytonutrients, like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that the components of the whole kernel contain.

Milled rice has its benefits—it can be stored longer and cooks more quickly—but whole-grain rice has natural fiber and nutrients in a grain that has a hearty texture and nutty flavor. There are also quick-cooking whole-grain rice products on the market that are easy to prepare and may fill a need in your foodservice operation.

Read more about how whole-grain rice is being used in foodservice.

In addition to brown rice, there are other unmilled rices that aren’t brown, but closer to black or red, like U.S. black japonica and U.S. aromatic red. These are also whole grains and can add some drama to your menu.

Wild rice is a whole grain, too, and while it’s not botanically in the rice family, it blends beautifully with other long-grain rices and has enormous consumer appeal and popularity in the foodservice kitchen.

Explore existing multi-grain and multi-rice blends, which add texture, flavor and originality to the plate with little effort on your part. Or make your own signature rice blend by combining cooked U. S. brown rice, aromatic red or back japonica rice with cooked long-grain rice for interest and profitability.

A few international ideas for whole-grain rice:

  • Burritos: Chipotle Chicken Burrito with Whole-Grain Rice
  • Salads: Seven-Rice Tabbouleh Salad
  • Stuffings: Brown Rice-Stuffed Dolmas with Tzatziki
  • Pilaf: Turkish Whole-Grain Rice Pilaf with Yogurt, Fried Onions and Mint
  • Breakfast: Hot Brown Rice Cereal with Dried Cranberries  and Toasted Almonds
  • Rice bowls: Rice Bowl with Brown Rice and Spicy Sichuan Beef

Because whole-grain rice contains the oil-rich germ and the natural oils in the bran layer, it is more perishable than enriched white rice. It will stay fresh in a cool pantry for about six months. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze it.