Black rice the most nutritious rice, with highest protein, high levels of anti-inflammatory anthocyanin and vitamins while having the lowest carbs and calories. Originally from China it is now widely grown in India and Asia. In the North of Italy, they cultivate a slightly less glutenous variety called Riso Venere which has a blackish purple hull and when cooked develops an intoxicating aroma with a rich nutty flavour.

In Ancient China, black rice was discovered to be what we would term an original ‘superfood’. To manage production the controlling rulers forbade its growth across China, keeping it only for the ruling classes and super rich. It became known as the ‘forbidden rice’.

Black rice is especially flavoursome with a nutty, earthy taste outside and a subtle sweet interior. The effect is very moreish and satisfying. It is very easy to cook but can take up to an hour. It works very well as a warm summer salad. You can use wild rice or a wholegrain brown rice instead.


150 g Black Rice

200g Broccoli

Bunch Cavolo Nero

Handful parsley stalks, chopped

200g pre-cooked chickpeas, drained

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 dried chilli, crushed

Juice and zest of an unwaxed lemon

Handful finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Handful fresh mint leaves

1-2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced


Firstly, rinse the rice well before cooking in a few changes of cold water.

Add to a saucepan with at least double its volume in water.

Add salt and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook slowly for at least 45 minutes until it is cooked but still has a bite. Add more water if needed.

When cooked, drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, trim and cut the broccoli into even sized pieces.

Add to a second pot of boiling salted water and cook for 10-15 minutes,

Pull the leaves from the Cavolo Nero and the parsley stalks and blanche in the broccoli pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Drain all the greens and refresh in cold water.

Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a wide saucepan and add the chopped garlic and crushed chilli. Sauté to flavour the oil.

Add the refreshed greens and the drained chickpeas and toss everything to coat in the oil.

Now add the drained, warm black rice and warm everything together.

Check seasoning.

Finish the dish with the zest of the lemon and the juice.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley leaves and mint and a further generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Eat while warm.

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to

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