Gullah Red Rice

When I first saved this recipe to blog, I didn’t really know the history of this dish. Looking a bit further, I found out this is an African American from South Carolina. But, it’s more than that. According to Wikipedia, “The Gullah are African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of the U.S. states of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, in both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands. They developed a creole language, the Gullah language, and a culture rich in African influences that makes them distinctive among African Americans.” A unique culture in the United States. I think in the times we live in, it’s easy to forget what this country was founded on. Many cultures coming together to influence this nation. It’s not ‘Merica, a xenophobic wonderland. What makes us American is our rich history that comes from all over the world. While there are many who feel immigrants should not be allowed, they need to realize many in this country would not be Americans without immigration. I am the granddaughter of immigrants. Ask many Americans and they too have immigrants in their past.

Anyway, on to the recipe. I think using food to learn about other cultures, even in our own country, is important. This recipe is no different. It is a simple dish with rich history. The original recipe came from Kardea Brown from the Food Network. It is tomato-based, which is easy to fix and not vegetarian, also easy. A few swaps and this is a pretty healthy dish.

Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I replaced the white rice for brown for more nutrition.
  • I reduced the vegetable oil to reduce the calories.
  • I reduced the added salt to reduce the sodium.
  • I replaced the tomato paste with pumpkin puree and vinegar to remove the tomato and increase the vitamin A.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:

Gullah Red Rice

Serves 8

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 2 cups dry brown lentils
  • 1 large onion, finely diced 
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced 
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper 
  1. Rinse the rice until the water becomes slightly clear. (This removes the starch.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large oven safe dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften and start to brown at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir rice into the mixture and cook, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add in the lentils and stir
  3. Add just enough water to cover the rice (about 2 cups).  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Turn off the heat.  Tightly cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes without uncovering the baking dish. Turn off the oven, remove the lid, fluff the rice and stir in the vinegar, then cover and return to oven for 10 minutes more.  

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