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Three Meals from one pot of brown rice -- ©Deborah Barr.  All rights reserved.

Thirty years ago I began to learn a new way of cooking and spent many of those early years professionally studying whole foods cooking with masters who understand how to heal and maintain good health with food.  I was one of the chief cooks and developer of recipes in a Vegan/Macrobiotic Restaurant in the 1980's, and taught hundreds of cooking classes throughout the 80's and 90's.  I also had a Whole Foods catering business in the 1980's.

The public is now more aware of the effects of food on physical, mental and emotional health.  This awareness has brought a new set of problems.  Many people believe that processed foods, snacks, and frozen meals from the health food store will bring good health.  They will not.  If you want to be healthy, please cook real food.  It does take time, but have you considered the time, money and inconvenience of not feeling well?

These three recipes all have brown rice as their foundation.  When complex carbohydrate is combined with beans, you receive every amino acid.  Tofu is considered a bean product since it is made from soybeans.  I hope you'll experiment and get creative with these recipes.  They are inexpensive, satisfying and will keep you healthy.


Brown rice promotes energy, good digestion, healthy metabolism and balanced blood sugar; eliminates sweet cravings; relieves depression and creates emotional balance; high in B vitamins; contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, and linoleic acid.  White rice digests more quickly; however, because it is refined, it is not a strengthening food.  I do not recommend parboiled or instant rice.

Whole grains should be cooked with a small pinch of unrefined sea salt or a one-inch piece of Kombu, a dried sea vegetable, for better digestion, minerals, and to alkalize the grains. Kombu greatly increases the nutritional value of all food prepared with it, and is considered the most completely mineralized food.  It has no taste, just great health benefit!  Salt is an essential mineral; without it you would die.  To understand the role salt plays in your mental, physical and emotional health, please read, Salt:  Friend or Foe.

Brown Rice cooking methods

  • 2 cups brown rice

  • 2 ½ cups water (filtered or spring) for pressure cooking; 4 cups water for boiling

  • 1 inch piece kombu or a pinch of unrefined sea salt


Pressure Cooking

Place 2 cups washed brown rice in a pressure cooker with 2 ½ cups water and salt or kombu. Bring up to pressure on a medium-high flame.  When pressure is up, place a flame deflector underneath (to distribute the heat evenly) and lower flame.  Cook 45-50 minutes.  Turn off heat and let pressure reduce. 


Place 2 cups washed brown rice in a pot with 4 cups water and a pinch of unrefined sea salt or Kombu. Bring to a boil, lower heat, simmer 50-60 minutes.   (Try not to remove the cover and check on it too frequently as this will release the steam and leave the rice too dry.)

For added flavor:  You can cook rice and all grains with vegetable bouillon and/or fresh or dried herbs.   I like the liquid bouillon by Pacific and Imagine, and Rapunzel dried bouillon cubes. 


Stir-Fried Vegetables 

1-2 teaspoons olive oil or sesame oil                         2 cups broccoli

1 onion, sliced thin                                                          2-3 cloves minced garlic               

1 cup sliced carrots                                                          Few slices of ginger

1-2 celery stalks sliced                                                    1-2 TB. Soy sauce

1 cup of kale                                                                        1-2 tsp. arrowroot or kuzu

1-2 cups sliced mushrooms                                              to thicken

NOTE:   you can add or substitute any vegetables you like to this mix:  brussel sprouts, green cabbage, snow peas, etc.

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms, celery and cook stirring 3-4 minutes.  Add carrots, broccoli and cook, stirring 3-4 minutes.  Add any remaining vegetables, and cook stirring 2-3 minutes.  Add 1-2 cups water and soy sauce. Turn down heat and simmer about 2 minutes.  Dissolve kuzu or arrowroot in a little cold water and pour into the vegetables, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens—1-2 minutes.  Turn off heat.

Serve over brown rice with Spring Renewal Salad.

NOTE:  You can substitute ginger powder for fresh ginger and garlic powder for fresh.  Add tofu or  drug-free chicken for additional protein.  In a hurry?  Buy frozen stir-fry vegetables to save time.

The above recipe cooks the vegetables in a sauce similar to Chinese vegetables.  If you don’t want the sauce, leave out the arrowroot or kuzu and water. Add the soy sauce with each vegetable addition.


Rice and Vegetable Salad

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

  • 1-2 ears corn or 1 cup frozen corn

  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes

  • 2 TB. diced or grated onion

  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas or green beans


  • Juice of one lemon

  • 1 TB. brown rice vinegar

  • 2-3 TB. soy sauce

  • ¼ cp. fresh parsley

Wash and cook grains.  You can either pressure cook or boil the rice and barley together for 50 minutes with a pinch of sea salt.  Boil corn and remove from cob. Cook peas or green beans.  Lightly boil radishes (or use raw), peas or green beans and onions.  When grains are cooked remove to a large bowl to cool and then add cooked veggies. 

Dressing:  Combine dressing ingredients and pour over salad.  Or, use your favorite bottled dressing.  Refrigerate before serving.

Note:  You can use any vegetables that you have on hand.  Add a can of rinsed chickpeas or black beans for added protein.  Slivered almonds make a nice addition.

Serve with Steamed Leafy Green Vegetables and/or Escarole Soup


 Vegan Burger or Loaf

  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice

  • 8 oz.  organic tofu, drained & mashed

  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • ½ cup diced or grated veggies—carrots, celery, onion

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 tsp. basil or thyme

  • 1 TB. Soy sauce

  • 1 TB. Tahini

  • 1-2 TB. Water

Combine all ingredients.  Form into patties with wet hands.  Heat sesame, canola or olive oil in a skillet, and sauté burgers 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown. Or bake on an oiled cookie sheet at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serve on whole grain buns with mustard, pickles, lettuce and tomato. 

NOTE:  You can also press the mixture into a lightly oiled loaf pan and bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Allow to sit 30 minutes before slicing.

Serve with your favorite black bean salad.


©Deborah Barr, 2004-11.  All rights reserved.

To learn which foods are best to reverse your personal health, weight, and/or emotional imbalances, send an email to or call 412.361.8600 to schedule a consultation with Deborah Barr.  Sessions can be done by phone or in our Pittsburgh office.  Or you can click here to order your session online.











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