RightRice — That’s Not Really Rice
When is rice not really rice? When it’s RightRice, a just-launched, rice-like product that’s actually made from lentil flour, chickpea flour and pea fiber.
While it does contain a little rice flour (less than 10 percent), it’s designed to be a viable alternative to folks who love rice, but want to cut down on carbs and starches.
It was created by San Francisco’s Keith Belling, the founder of Popchips, that wildly successful, addictive potato snack that is neither baked nor fried but ends up crisp as can be from a combination of heat and pressure. It also boasts half the fat of regular potato chips.
With RightRice, he’s created a product that has more than double the protein, five times the fiber, and almost 40 percent fewer net carbs than a bowl of white rice. It’s also non-GMO and vegan.
So just how does it taste?
Belling sent me some samples to try. The shelf-stable RightRice comes in four flavors: Original, Lemon Pepper, Spanish, and Garlic Herb.
Each 7-ounce bag has four servings at 180 calories each. The Original has 145mg of sodium, with the flavored varieties rising to 390mg of sodium.
It’s a breeze to prepare: Just boil some water in a pot, add in the RightRice, bring back to a boil, and cover. Turn off the heat and let sit for 12 minutes.
What you end up with looks very much like rice with a texture like orzo. The Spanish flavor is redolent of tomatoes and red peppers, and looks just like the rice you’d get heaped on an enchilada plate at your favorite taqueria. The Lemon Pepper tastes like a classic rice pilaf. The Garlic Herb has the savoriness of Thanksgiving stuffing mixes. And the Original tastes faintly of chickpeas.
I admit I’m a tough cookie when it comes to a rice alternative like this. Being Chinese-American, I’ve eaten white rice my entire life. I’m impressed by RightRice’s similarity to the real deal, and would definitely reach for it as a side dish or foundation for a number of proteins and veggies, including meatloaf, roast chicken, meatballs and grain bowls. But when it comes to Chinese, Japanese and other Asian foods, I think I still would crave that unmistakable starchy-fragrant, fluffy white rice to go alongside. I guess I’m just a purist that way.