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Oklahoma's Winning Recipe: Okie Pride Brown Rice with Chicken and Vegetables

“I'm a first generation-born American and proud to be born and raised in the great state of Oklahoma. I wanted to create a recipe that represents my Pakistani heritage and my lovely state's homegrown products. My inspirations to cook healthy are my precious 14-year-old twin brothers who have cerebral palsy and also a severe seizure disorder. We found out that certain foods or even too many carbs or sugar can trigger seizures. I thought, wow, if we can help reduce their seizures just by what they eat, then I will definitely help prepare recipes for them. I had no idea that food played that big a part in our health. Ever since we decided to start eating healthy we noticed a huge decrease in their seizures and a bonus is I can focus much better at school.”

Maya Jacob, Age 10, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Oklahoma

Makes 4 Servings


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup diced red or green bell pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)


  1. In a large stockpot, combine water with the rice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and chicken and cook for about 7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and onions are softened. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Add the mixed vegetables, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, spinach, garbanzo beans, and pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the cooked brown rice and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle on pecans and cilantro as a garnish (optional). 

499 calories 8g fat 68g carbohydrates 37g protein