Spoon of brown rice

Brown rice is a nutritious, high-fiber grain choice that makes a healthy side dish for your favorite entrees. However, with a little creative spicing up, a bowl of plain brown rice becomes a meal in itself. Your options for adding flavor to brown rice extend far beyond the usual salt and pepper. Nuts, flavored oils and Asian spices give brown rice a burst of flavor, while fruits and vegetables provide added nutrition and round out the meal.

Turn brown rice into a spicy Indian-inspired dish by sprinkling on curry powder, turmeric, cardamom and ginger. Toss in a handful of golden raisins and a handful of cashews. Serve with a side of plain yogurt and peeled, chopped cucumbers.

Sprinkle brown rice with red pepper flakes and freshly-ground black pepper. Add a dash of hot sauce for extra spice.

Boil brown rice with chopped garlic cloves to add a spicy bite. After cooking, drizzle the rice with fresh-squeezed lime juice. Add a handful of sunflower kernels and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, which provides B-vitamins and a cheesy, nutty flavor.

Sautee 1 cup of cooked brown rice with 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. chili pepper oil, 1 tbsp. sesame seeds and 1 tsp. fresh ginger for a healthy twist on Chinese food.

Sautee spicy mustard greens in olive oil. Add a pinch of coarse salt, freshly-ground black pepper, red pepper flakes and hot sauce. Stir the greens into brown rice to create a nutritional powerhouse in a bowl.