Surrounded by beautiful citrus and longing for a tropical vacation, I just had to put together this coconut, citrus, and avocado rice bowl with black (also know as forbidden) rice! There have been some gorgeous black rice bowls showing up online recently, like the one from Love and Lemons and the one from Tasty Yummies, and I just had to make one today. One that tasted like vacation and sunshine! I know I talked about this a lot when putting together the citrus carpaccio recipe, but living in Napa means that, at this time of year, there’s citrus everywhere! It’s magical. It’s one of the most amazing parts of this chilly season. When you see these fat and gorgeous brightly colored orbs everywhere you go, you just have to eat meal after meal with fresh oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, blood oranges, and kumquats. I love them all! The combination in this dish of the citrus and coconut made me feel like I could easily be on some island somewhere with the sun warming my skin and white sand between my toes; not sitting on my couch, listening to the wind blowing through the trees and the rain striking the pavement.
I love the winter here, don’t get me wrong! After a lifetime in Minnesota, winter in Napa is just plain beautiful. Rather than ten foot snowdrifts that quickly turn from white to grey to brown, we frequently get blue skies, often with gentle rain that makes the world turn green. I call this rainbow season.
However, after a long string of chilly days and downright cold nights and with the added bonus of a couple of sweet little monster dogs who refuse to go outside in any sort of moisture, I remember with increasing frequency vacations that I’ve gone on in the past. The Caribbean, Jamaica, Mexico… warm water, hot white sand, and the bluest horizons stretching in every direction. Icy drinks with little umbrellas and live music around every corner. I have got to figure out a way to travel more!
So, for today, a healthy citrus and avocado rice bowl, with tons of coconut, ginger, and lemongrass sounded absolutely perfect. Black rice is absolutely wonderful, but if you don’t have it, feel free to substitute brown or even white rice. Black rice has this fantastic chewy texture and is far more nutritious than white, but it can be a lot harder to find. If you have a store with a bulk section, you will be more likely to find it there. You can also, as is usually the case, find black rice on Amazon!
If your coconut is not toasted, that’s a simple thing to do! Preheat your oven to 250°, spread your coconut out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and toast until golden. Make sure to mix it around a couple of times to toast it evenly. At 250°, it will probably take around 8-10 minutes, but check it frequently. Ovens run at slightly different temperatures and coconut frequently varies in size and thickness, so keep an eye on it!
Heathy Tropical Coconut, Citrus, and Avocado Rice Bowl
- 1 cup black (forbidden) rice
- 1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or water)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs + 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbs peeled and minced or grated ginger
- 1 1" piece lemongrass, tender pale part only, smashed and minced
- 1 ea blood orange, peeled and segmented
- 1/2-1 ea grapefruit, peeled and segmented
- 1 ea orange, peeled and segmented
- 1/4-1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
- 1 small handful soft greens, like mache, baby spinach, or baby arugula
- 2 Tbs unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted (use shredded if you can't find flakes!)
- salt, pepper to taste
- Heat 1 Tbs oil in a pan large enough to hold the rice and coconut milk over a low heat.
- Add the ginger and lemongrass and saute until fragrant.
- Add the rice, turn up the heat, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the liquid and salt, bring to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let stand for 20 min, then fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
- Toss the greens with 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Place the rice in a bowl, top with citrus segments, avocado, greens, and toasted coconuts!
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