We have brown rice a lot of times with our meals as a healthy whole food carb that’s loaded with fiber. But let’s be honest, brown rice can get boring. This is one of the ways to mix it up and add some flavor that can still go with a basic veggie and protein. I use canned tomatoes a lot so before going into the recipe, let’s talk about them for a minute.
Canned Tomatoes: What to Know When Buying & Using
There is only a few things I will buy in canned form and that usually consists of beans and tomatoes. With that being said, there are some “dos and don’ts” to canned food. Consider some of these the next time you are at the store.
- No Salt Added: You can always add salt later if needed, but you control how much and the type of salt that it is. Buying tomato products on the regular that are the “no-salt added” variety if available is a better way to go.
- BPA Free Liners: BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used to coat the lining of cans or plastic products. Children are the most susceptible to the effects. Some of them include malformation of organs in children, increased risk of mental disabilities in babies, and different forms of reproductive harm. More and more products are becoming BPA-free, but to make sure they will have it on the label somewhere claiming they are “BPA-Free”. Since tomatoes are especially acidic, the BPA in the liner (if present) can leech even more so in tomatoes and other acidic canned foods.
- Botulism: This is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria love low-acidic foods (tomatoes being less likely because of this, but it has happened) and can survive in preserved foods with no oxygen and can thrive in 40 degrees – 120 degrees F. The toxin produced by this bacteria is deadly. How to know what’s safe to buy or consume?
- Avoid Cans that are dented, leaky, rusty, or swollen.
- Discard any contents if they are foamy, cloudy, or foul-smelling upon opening.
- Store in pantry and always use the “use by” date.
- Once opened, never store in the can. They were not designed for refrigeration. Transfer to a refrigerator-safe container and store up to 4 days.
With that being said, canned tomatoes are an excellent resource and something I always keep on hand, especially with how much I use them. If you are new to cooking and buying groceries, the canned tomato section might be overwhelming. There are whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes, and then the flavored tomatoes. Tomatoes with green chilies, tomatoes with Italian spices, and the list keeps going. For this recipe, I use fire-roasted tomatoes. Diced tomatoes can work if you can’t find fire-roasted, but it won’t have the same flavor. So be careful when picking out what type of canned tomato product you are choosing. Too many times I’ve come home with slightly the wrong product.
If you are looking to change up your rice side dish with a different flavor, then try this recipe!
Fire Roasted Tomato & Feta Brown Rice
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 14oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- 4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
- 1 cup low fat feta crumbles
- juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and Pepper if desired
- In a medium sauce pan, add the vegetable broth and canned tomatoes. Once the broth starts boiling, add in the rice. Cover and turn the heat down to a low simmer.
- In about 40 minutes most of the moisture should be absorbed. It might take a few extra minutes. Stir and turn off heat. Add in the feta crumbles and the lemon juice. Mix together and taste before adding the salt.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
NO SALT: Usually I don’t add extra salt to this at the end. With the acidity in the tomatoes and then the fresh lemon juice at the end, you usually don’t need to add any salt to it, which makes this a great flavorful side dish that is heart healthy. Good balance of sodium and potassium.
227 Calories | 4 g total fat | 1 g unsaturated fat | 3 g saturated fat | 16 mg cholesterol | 390 mg sodium | 42 g carbohydrates | 4 g fiber | 4 g sugar | 6 g protein | 4.25 mg Vitamin C | 321 mg potassium