Black rice with warm winter greens, roasted chestnuts and orange dressing

After the Christmas period, we all like to eat healthy meals that are packed with nutrients but still are delicious. This tasty antioxidant-rich black rice dish fits the brief nicely; it delivers a good amount of plant based proteins, minerals, vitamins and fibre. It can be eaten warm or cold, so it is worth making a bigger batch. You can also top up on proteins by adding a boiled or poached egg or some leftover chicken  (Serves 2)

(organic if possible)
300g cavolo nero (1 bunch)
40g samphire (a handful)
100g chestnuts
150g black rice
1 garlic clove – finely sliced
1 organic lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
A pinch of sea salt

For the dressing
(mix ingredients in a jam jar and set aside)
Juice of one orange
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
A pinch of pepper

Pre-soak the rice for 3-4 hours (or overnight), rinse well and cook per instructions on the packaging. Once cooked, drain, rinse, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, mix well and set aside. Black rice is particularly nutty and keeps a little crunchy even when cooked.

2. For dry roasting the chestnuts, pre-heat the oven at 200C. To prepare the nuts for baking, use a sharp small kitchen knife and carefully cut a small cross into the peel on the flat side. This will make it easier to peel them later. Spread the chestnuts on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until the skin opens at the cross you cut in and they are tender inside. Remove the peel when they are still warm, the peel won´t come off as easily once they are cold.

3. In the meantime, place the samphire in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to sit for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. Do not add any salt as samphire is naturally very salty. Mix the dressing by simply putting the ingredients in a jam jar and shaking them well.

4. Next, rinse the cavolo nero well and roughly chop into bite-size pieces. Bring well-salted water to a boil, add the cavolo nero pieces and simmer for 5 minutes. Then drain, rinse with cold water to keep the green colour and set aside.

5. Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a medium size pan, add the finely sliced garlic and sauté at low heat for 1-2 minutes, next add cavolo nero and samphire, mix well and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. Again, do not add any extra salt before tasting the vegetables. 

6. Thinly slice the chestnuts. Serve the black rice topped with the winter greens, sliced chestnuts and a generous drizzle of orange dressing.


Diana Warrings is a health & nutrition content producer, recipe developer & well-being cook. Check out her website for more mouth-watering recipes:

Image: Diana Warrings