This post is brought to you in partnership with The USA Rice Federation, but as always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands and foods I love and use!
Carrot and zucchini fritters are always delicious, but adding some U.S.-grown black pearl rice to the mix takes them to a whole new level. These make a delicious, satisfying, and healthy vegetarian meal. And – they’re freezer-friendly too!
Have you ever cooked black rice? It’s one of my favorite types of rice because it’s just so unusual. Kind of exotic. It’s frequently used in Asian dishes, but black rice is also grown in California, so check the label and make sure to buy U.S.-grown rice.
What Makes Black Rice Black?
Although it looks black, it’s actually a very deep shade of purple. In fact, when you cook black rice, it turns the cooking water purple. It has a chewy texture and a slightly sweet flavor.
And did you know purple foods are incredibly good for you?! They’re especially healthy for your heart and blood pressure. Purple foods are rich in polyphenol antioxidants called anthocyanins. They’re the same super-compounds in berries (like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries), and purple potatoes.
Those anthocyanins are what provide the natural purple color. Anthocyanins are also in foods like blueberries and hibiscus tea. They’re linked to healthier blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Just like all other forms of U.S.-grown rice, black rice is GMO-free, gluten-free, and high in complex carbs. They’re the good kind of carbs that are slowly digested and keep you full and satisfied for hours.
I often make veggie cakes or fritters for dinner. They’re a great way to enjoy seasonal vegetables. Usually, I add breadcrumbs or panko to the mix to give them more substance. But I discovered rice works really well too.
When you fry these up (really just a quick saute in olive oil), the vegetables get soft and tender. But the rice on the outside of each fritter gets crispy and crunchy. The combination is perfect!
I like to have some type of “dipping sauce” for my fritters. Greek yogurt is my go-to. I add some herbs, lime or lemon zest, and a squeeze of the juice. But hummus would be great with these too. Both complement the Mediterranean flavors in this recipe. But if you prefer, you can even use salsa. Or eat them as is. It’s all good!
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Carrot Zucchini & Black Rice Fritters
- 1/2 cup California black pearl rice
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)
- 1 medium zucchini grated
- 2 medium carrots peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 3 scallions minced
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 large eggs
- 5 tablespoons brown rice flour or other gluten-free or regular flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Optional Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- pinch salt
- Put the rice, water, and a pinch of the salt in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the rice simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy (about 30 minutes). Let the cooked rice cool for 15 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, place the shredded zucchini in a colander over the sink. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over it and toss well. Let the zucchini sit for about 15 minutes, or until it gives up some liquid. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, shredded carrots, drained zucchini, minced parsley, and minced scallions. Add the garlic powder, cumin, coriander, and remainind 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste).
- In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and rice flour. Mix well until smooth. Add this to the vegetable mixture and mix well.
- Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Form the vegetable batter into patties about 3-inches in diameter. When the oil is hot, add 3 or 4 to the pan (however many fit comfortably in your pan) and let them cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on the heat, you may need to turn it down a bit so the fritters cook evenly and don't burn. Repeat with the remaning batter.
- To make the yogurt sauce, combine the Greek yogurt, parsley, lime zest and juice, and a pinch of sauce in a small bowl.
- Serve 2 fritters with about 1/4 cup of the yogurt sauce for each portion.
For more delicious ways to enjoy U.S.-grown rice visit ThinkRice.com.