By Carl Hanson
March 22, 2017

Have you tried black rice yet? You may have seen it on restaurant menus, where it's sometimes called "forbidden rice" -- because once upon a time black rice was reserved for the emperor and his royal court.

Forbidden? Not these days. Black rice is making its way into more and more home kitchens. And why not? It's delicious, it's nutritious, with a wonderful texture and nutty flavor profile. Black rice's dark color comes courtesy of plant pigments that are also powerful antioxidants -- anti-inflammatory anthocyanins (also found in blueberries) that may offer benefits against cancer and heart disease. With black rice, you'll also get iron, essential amino acids, vitamin E, folic acid, and more fiber and protein than brown rice.

Photo by Meredith

What's more, black rice takes terrifically to simple preparations. Here are a couple easy recipes to try:

"Black rice is one of the handful of superfoods," says Love2cook32. "This rice is so flavorful and has a very unique presentation as it cooks up to a deep purple color. It goes great with just about any meal as a nice healthy side. I love to make it with salmon and a side of fresh veggies."

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

"This fresh, delicious, and healthy dish is made with forbidden rice, which has been eaten in China for centuries," says Tonia. "It's full of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and flavor. It somehow manages to give one a sense of well-being, peace, and energy at the same time. It is filling without leaving you with a feeling of being stuffed. Delicious! Serve slightly warm or at room temperature."

Photo by Doughgirl8

"Here's a delicate alternative to white rice," says Aldo. "This recipe will satisfy sophisticated palates with the unbeatable combination of prawns and zucchini!"

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

"A spicy blend of forbidden black rice, bell peppers, and cashews," says docswife. Try it beside almost any baked fish or chicken recipe.

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Nutritious black rice pairs with ground turkey, potatoes, and peas in a Indian-spiced, tomato-based sauce. "A lighter Indian dish with no heavy cream, served with nutty, whole-grain black rice," says Brian.

Photo by Linda T.

And for dessert? Black rice is also a great choice for dessert preparations. "This is a traditional recipe my friend's mother brought with her from Thailand," says MINLEE. "For those who really like sweet food, you may also top the pudding off with a drizzle of coconut cream or a mild fruit such as bananas."

Photo by bd.weld