Scrumptious vegan Thanksgiving Rice from Back to the Cutting Board by Christina Pirello is the perfect accompaniment to both your Thanksgiving feast and Christmas dinner. It’s also a terrific side for just about any autumn or winter meal. Thanksgiving Rice can be served as a side dish instead of traditional bread-based stuffing, or it can be used to stuff large portobello mushrooms or squash as a main dish. This recipe is gluten-free and oil-free.
I got to know Christina Pirello through her PBS show Christina Cooks. I remember discovering it for the first time and feeling super excited that there was actually a vegan cooking show on television. Christina’s vibrant personality and abundance of energy shown through as she cooked up deliciously healthy plant-based meals.
In Christina’s newest cookbook Back to the Cutting Board, she shares more than 100 “Luscious Plant-Based Recipes to Make You Fall in Love (Again) with the Art of Cooking.” These are nourishing meals made with fresh whole food ingredients that just about anyone will love, regardless of their dietary preference.
Healing with Nutrition
At the age of twenty-six, Christina was diagnosed with stage four leukemia. She was able to heal herself with through nutrition, using plant-based foods and the philosophy of macrobiotics. In Back to the Cutting Board, she shares some of the knowledge she gained during her healing journey with us.
Christina explains the theory of yin and yang, and how it relates to food. She also explains the five-element theory and how the energies of fire, earth, metal, water, and tree can be using in cooking. Each recipe is labeled with the elements that it corresponds to, making it easy to put the theory into practice.
Cooking with Back to the Cutting Board
Christina also shares her cooking knowledge with us in Back to the Cutting Board. She shares cooking tips along with her lists of pantry essentials and must-have kitchen tools. There’s even a lesson on knife skills, so that you can become a pro at chopping veggies in no time.
And then, of course, there’s the food. The recipes in Back to the Cutting Boardinclude soups, sides, mains, and desserts, and they prove that healthy food isn’t boring or bland. Christina cooks using techniques that optimize the natural flavors of ingredients, transforming them in delicious masterpieces.
Often, omnivores think that healthy vegan food is too “weird” for them to try. But there’s nothing weird here! Who can turn down a slice of Sweet Onion Galette, a plate of Veggie Hot Pot with Biscuit Topping, a bowl of Creamy Mushroom Soup, or a piece of Mocha Cake with Chocolate Ganache? All of the dishes in Back to the Cutting Boardare easily recognizable, using easy-to-find ingredients.
Chapters in Back to the Cutting Board include:
- Back to the Cutting Board
- On to the Meals
- Oh, Those Veggies
- Senstational Soups
- Whole Grains: The Staff of Life
- Essential Proteins
- Killer Desserts that Won’t Kill You
The first recipe I made from Back to the Cutting Board was Thanksgiving Rice. So often, the holiday table is full of fatty, unhealthy foods, and I wanted to make something healthful that can be included with my meal
This dish is super easy to make, and it’s full of flavor, thanks to sweet corn, tart cranberries, nutty pecans, and citrus juices. This is the perfect accompaniment to both a Thanksgiving feast and a Christmas dinner. It’s also a terrific side for just about any autumn or winter meal.
If you’re new to plant-based cooking or are looking for some healthy vegan recipes to add to your collection, Back to the Cutting Board is the book for you!
- 1 cup medium-grain brown rice rinsed well
- ½ cup brown basmati rice rinsed well
- ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
- ½ cup organic corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 3 cups spring or filtered water
- Generous pinch sea salt
- 1 cup coarsely minced pecans
- Combine the rices, cranberries, corn, lime zest, orange zest, and water in a heavy pot. Cover loosely and bring to a boil. Add the salt and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy.
- While the rice cooks, place a dry skillet over medium heat. Pan toast the pecan pieces by stirring them in the hot skillet until lightly browned and fragrant, taking care not to burn them. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
- When the rice is cooked, gently fold in the toasted nuts, lime juice, and orange juice. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Other holiday recipes you might enjoy include:
- Potatoes au Gratin with Kale
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Garlicky Mashed Butternut Squash
- Holiday Kale Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing