Carbs have been getting a bit of a bad rap these days, with all sorts of different diets seemingly on the rise. It can be pretty confusing to keep track of what’s considered good for you and what’s not. Well listen, let me break it down for you – specific dietary needs aside, just eat real food, my friends. Honestly, it’s that simple. Ditch the processed refined junk of all kinds. And guess what? We actually need to consume a certain amount of carbohydrates for many functions within the human body.
Ready for a mini science lesson? Well, there are simple and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long complex chains. You can get them from fruits and vegetables, but you can also get them from foods like peas, beans and whole grains. These are then turned into glucose (or blood sugar) within the body and utilized as energy. The lesson here is: don’t be afraid of carbs, just eat the right ones!
One of my favourite kinds of complex carbohydrates is rice. With so many different varieties to choose from, it can be cooked, used and enjoyed in so many ways. Did you know that Canada doesn’t actually produce rice? We do grow wild rice here, which is not considered a true rice, but instead the seed of an aquatic grass. Most of the rice you see on the store shelves is grown in the United States – meaning it’s as local as we can get here in Canada.
The U.S. is actually one of the largest exporters of rice, with more than 40 commercial varieties being produced each year in paddy, brown, white, parboiled and pre-cooked forms. And why should we buy U.S.-grown rice? Well, they offer high-quality rice thanks to strict agricultural practices that actually do things like give back to the environment by creating habitats for some animals like certain migratory birds.
While I was studying to become a nutritionist, one of my instructors taught us how to make a recipe for pancakes using soaked grains, such as rice. At first, I thought that it sounded a bit weird, but then I tried it and have been making a modified version of it ever since. So I genuinely can’t take credit for the originality of this recipe, but I have swapped a few things after some trial and error over the years.
It’s vegan, gluten-free, low in sugar, super simple and really tasty. Plus there ain’t nothing processed or refined about it! You’ll get in a healthy dose of those complex carbs for energy, while still being able to enjoy some delicious pancakes.
Gluten-Free Rice Pancakes Recipe
What You Need:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 ripe pear or apple, cored and chopped
2 tbsp hemp hearts
2 tbsp coconut sugar
pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp coconut oil
What To Do:
The night before you’re ready to make them, rinse rice and quinoa, separately. In separate glass jars, soak rice and quinoa in water overnight. In a blender, add in the rice and quinoa along with the soaking water. Add chopped apple or pear, hemp hearts, coconut sugar, cinnamon and sea salt. Blend until smooth. In medium-sized pan on med-high heat, add coconut oil to heat. Pour pancake-sized amounts of mixture into the pan and cook until both sides are golden brown.
Be sure that they’re well-cooked and that they are not raw in the middle – I find that the texture gets a bit funny if they’re not. Makes around 10-15 pancakes. Served best with local maple syrup and fresh fruit.
(Story and recipe by Contributing Editor and CNP, Catherine Sugrue)
*Please note that this post has been brought to you partnership with USA Rice Canada, all thoughts and opinions are our own*