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Brown Rice and Spinach with Candied Almonds and Pomegranate Arils

Serves 8


    Our delicious rice side dish will complement any main course. Standard holiday fare typically includes fluffy mashed potatoes, but our rice medley is a perfect update. Bonus: it’s vegan! 


    Make-ahead tips

    • Cook rice. Sauté onion and add cooked rice. Cool and refrigerate in covered container. 
    • Chop spinach and store in refrigerator in sealed bag. 
    • Chop herbs and store in refrigerator. 
    • Prepare almonds, chop, and cool. Store in tightly covered container. 

    Shortly before serving, heat a little oil in large wok and stir-fry rice mixture until piping hot, then fold in spinach until wilted. Fold in fresh herbs, lemon juice, and candied almonds and scatter pomegranate arils overtop. 


    Brown Rice and Spinach with Candied Almonds and Pomegranate Arils


      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
      • 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) turmeric
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) kosher salt
      • 1/8 tsp (0. mL) freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown skinned, raw whole almonds
      • 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) short grain brown rice
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
      • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
      • 2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped flat-leaf parsley
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh mint
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh dill
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) pomegranate arils or goji berries


      Per serving:

      • calories206
      • protein5 g
      • total fat6 g
        • sat. fat1 g
      • total carbohydrates35 g
        • sugars4 g
        • fibre3 g
      • sodium89 mg



      Heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.


      In small bowl, combine maple syrup, red pepper flakes, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Stir to blend. Add almonds and stir to coat. Spread out on prepared baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until toasted and crunchy. Remove. Cool on baking sheet. Then coarsely chop. Set aside.


      In large saucepan, bring 14 cups (3.5 L) water to a boil. In fine-mesh strainer, rinse rice thoroughly under cold running water. Add rinsed rice and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until grains are tender. Drain, strain, and return to saucepan. Cover with lid and set aside to let it steam for 10 minutes.


      In large wok or heavy saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil. Add sliced onion and sauté over medium-high heat until softened. Add a splash of water if onion begins to stick. Add cooked rice and stir-fry over medium-high heat until some of the grains begin to get crispy. Fold in spinach and cook just until it begins to wilt, about 2 more minutes.


      Remove from heat and fold in fresh herbs. Sprinkle with lemon juice, candied chopped almonds, and pomegranate arils or goji berries. Taste and add more seasonings if you wish. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil before serving. Serve warm.



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