Is Rice Vegan?
Vegans are known to be very strict with their diet. With that, there are certain foods that they can’t eat. One of them is rice. But what if you want to enjoy the taste and texture of a bowl of rice but don’t want to consume any animal products? Well, it turns out that rice is one of the most versatile ingredients in cooking. It has so many uses that you might not even know about!
If you wonder if rice is vegan, it can be made without using eggs or dairy. It can be used as an ingredient for desserts, main dishes, side dishes, snacks, and more. So, next time you think that eating rice is only for people who follow a vegan diet, think again. You can make delicious meals with this grain too.
Here are some recipes that will prove that rice is indeed vegan:
1) Coconut African Rice Pudding
2) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
3) Banana Bread
4) Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls
5) Strawberry Shortcake
6) Pumpkin Pie
7) Apple Crisp
8) Easy Mac
9) Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
10) Spicy Peanut Noodles
11) Creamy Mushroom Risotto
Why Rice Is Vegan
Rice, despite being a carbohydrate, is gluten-free. This means that it doesn’t contain wheat flour. However, it does have other grains like barley, oats, rye, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, corn, sorghum, teff, and wild Asian rice.
Veganism isn’t just about avoiding meat. It’s also about avoiding animal products, including milk, cheese, butter, eggs, honey, etc. That’s why rice is considered to be vegan because it contains no animal products at all.
So, why is rice vegan? According to the American Dietetic Association, rice is vegan because it contains no cholesterol, fat, lactose, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and vitamins B12, C, D, E, K, folate, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. With all these nutrients, rice is a healthy food option.
Gluten-free rice is available in the market. Rice is your best bet if you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative. Different varieties of gluten-free rice include brown rice, white rice, red rice, black rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, long grain rice, short grain rice, wild rice, etc.
Rice Is A Grass Seed
Rice is an edible seed. It grows in tropical climates around the world. The plant produces seeds when its fruit matures. These seeds are then harvested and processed into different forms of rice.
The definition of rice comes from the Sanskrit language. In ancient India, rice was called “ari.” It was later changed to “arai” and eventually became “arroba.”
Could Rice Not Be Vegan For Any Reason?
Yes, there can be instances when rice cannot be classified as vegan. When rice is cooked, it releases starch which causes it to thicken. If you add water to cooked rice, it will become sticky. This makes it impossible to classify rice as a vegan.
However, there are ways to avoid having sticky rice. First, cook the rice before adding water. Second, use less water while cooking rice. Third, drain the excess liquid after cooking. Fourth, don’t let the rice sit for an extended period. Fifth, stir the rice frequently during cooking. Finally, rinse the rice thoroughly once it has been drained.
There are many types of gluten-free rice out there. Some of the species of plant rice are brown rice, yellow rice, white rice (also known as parboiled rice), red rice, black rice (also known as purple rice), jasmine rice varieties, Basmati rice, wild rice, long grain rice (also known as medium grain rice), short grain rice, and long-grain, fragrant white rice. These are only some of the few forms of rice in the world, and you can buy a kilo of rice in any store near you.
Cooking rice is easy. You only need a pot with a lid, water, salt, and rice.
Fried Rice, Pilau & Risotto
One thing about rice is that you can make endless options and recipes. One popular way to eat rice is fried rice. Fried rice dishes combine cooked rice with vegetables, meats, seafood, sauces, seasonings, etc.
Another popular way to enjoy rice is pilau. Pilau is a traditional Indian dish that combines rice with spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom, and more! When making fried rice, you can also combine it with other ingredients such as peas, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, corn, potatoes, eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, fish, shrimp, squid, lobster, scallops, clams, oysters, mussels, calamari, octopus, crab, crayfish, etc.
Another popular way to enjoy black rice varieties is risotto. Risotto is Italian food and one of the best classical rice dishes usually served at restaurants. It’s made by slowly simmering rice in broth until tender. There are several variations of risotto, including butter, cheese, tomato, mushroom, spinach, pesto, lemon, garlic, herbs, bacon, ham, saffron, Parmesan, truffle, etc.
Rice-Based Ready Meals
Rice-based ready meals and white varieties are available in supermarkets. They come in various flavors and consist of meat or vegetable toppings on top of rice. You can choose between plain rice, flavored rice, and rice mixed with pasta if you are following a plant-based diet.
You can find these ready meals in the freezer section of most supermarkets. They are convenient because they require no preparation time. However, they may contain high levels of sodium.
Do Environmental or Ethical Concerns Ruin Rice’s Vegan Credentials?
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, rice production accounts for almost half of all agricultural land used worldwide. Rice cultivation covers over 40% of the world’s arable lands.
This means that rice requires a lot of resources to grow. As a result, farmers often use chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase yields of different types of rice. These chemicals pollute the environment and harm human health.
Moreover, the impact of rice farming causes significant damage to the soil. Plowing up the fields destroys the natural habitat of microorganisms that help plants absorb nutrients from the soil.
As a result, rice becomes susceptible to diseases and pests. Farmers must then apply additional amounts of pesticides to prevent crop loss.
The World Health Organization estimates that pesticide residues have caused cancer in humans. According to the organization, rice is one of the foods that contains the highest amount of carcinogenic substances.
The WHO also warns that consuming rice contaminated with pesticides could cause birth defects.
In addition to harming the environment and human health, rice farming is not sustainable. This is because the rice needs large amounts of water to grow.
Furthermore, slender rice is a vital calorie source for people in developing countries. If we stopped growing a variety of rice, millions of people would suffer from malnutrition.
Use Of Water
When planting rice, the use of water is essential. Rice requires about 80 gallons of water per pound of rice grain, which is already big for plant-based foods.
However, white rice farming uses vast amounts of water for rice paddles and seeds. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an average American household consumes around 200 gallons of water daily.
If everyone replaced just 1% of their daily consumption with Jasmine rice, this would mean that Americans would need to consume over 4 billion pounds of Jasmine rice each year.
If you want to reduce your environmental impact through environmental issues, consider eating less Jasmine rice which is an excellent source of nutrition. Instead, opt for other plant-based proteins such as Pinto beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and soybeans.
Transporting water across long distances takes energy. It takes more energy to transport water than it produces staple food. The high demand for rice transportation is among the downsides of rice production.
For example, transporting water from California to Texas requires about ten times more energy than producing the same volume of food.
Brown rice is grown in tropical regions where there is plenty of rainfall. Therefore, it doesn’t take much effort to transport water to farms.
On the other hand, if you live in a desert area, you will need to pump water from wells. This can be very expensive.
It costs $1,000 to drill a well in some parts of the country. Moreover, drilling a well requires a great deal of energy.
Because of these factors, many people buy bottled water instead of tap water. However, bottled water isn’t always safe.
According to the Environmental Working Group, some bottled waters contain arsenic, lead, or nitrates.
Jasmine rice agriculture has been practiced on a mass scale since ancient times. It was only recently that scientists discovered how to modify brown rice genetically.
This allowed farmers to increase yields by 30%. However, the mass production of brown rice has led to severe problems.
First, it’s difficult to control pests when produced en masse. Second, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that all crops receive equal care.
Finally, the mass production of brown rice leads to deforestation.
Deforestation is terrible news for the planet. Forests absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere.
Moreover, forests provide homes for animals and species of plants. Without them, our ecosystem would collapse.
Emissions Of Glasshouse Gases
Lastly, white rice production is greatly affected by greenhouse gas emissions.
The ethics of rice production impact highly in making glasshouses releases methane gas. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. It traps heat at least 100 times more effectively than CO2. Methane also contributes to global warming.
To conclude, brown rice can be vegan. However, it’s not necessarily better for the environment than meat. The solution lies in reducing your overall consumption of animal products.
If you’re thinking of eliminating meat, we recommend starting with fish. Fish are low in fat and high in protein. They also have fewer calories than beef, chicken, pork, and lamb.
However, if you still want to eat meat but don’t want to kill any animals, try going vegan. You’ll find that it’s easy to adapt to a vegetarian diet.
Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own!
On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!