Rice & Easy

Wonder woman Padma Lakshmi dishes on her new collection of vegan and gluten-free rice dinners.

Padma Lakshmi, 45, is an internationally known author, model and tv personality. She has hosted Bravo’s Emmy-winning “Top Chef” since 2006, and recently published her own memoir, “Love, Loss and What We Ate.” Lakshmi is also the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

PADMA LAKSHMI has a lot on her plate, both literally and figuratively. She is known worldwide as an actress, model, food expert, award-winning author and host of Bravo’s Emmy award-winning Top Chef. Lakshmi also co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America with Tamer Seckin, M.D.

Yet all of these accomplishments have not slowed Lakshmi down, as she continues to expand her influence on the culinary world by creating her own brand of gluten-free rice dishes: Padma’s Easy Exotic. The inspiration for
her collection did not begin in some fancy top-chef kitchen, though, but right in her own home.

shutterstock_140074369“I began freezing rice in individual portions for myself and for my daughter after dinner parties. Because the natural medium for cooking rice is steam, it reheats beautifully in the microwave,” said Lakshmi. “It started as an easy way for me to feed my family, and I saw it being potentially useful for other families as well.”

Her line of frozen rice and lentil entrees are now available in stores across the country. Lakshmi pulled from many different influences when creating the flavor profile of each meal.

“Some of the recipes, like the Madras Lemon Rice, are family recipes that have been passed down for generations. My grandmother used to make this dish every weekend in Chennai,” said Lakshmi. “Other selections, like the Spicy Black Beans & Rice, for example, are inspired by my travels. I’ve
always loved the spicy, layered flavors of Latin and Carib–bean cuisine.”

Aside from the delicious flavors, all of the rice collection dishes are vegan and gluten free, making them accessible for people with various food allergies and restrictions.

“Most of my family is vegetarian, and so cooking for those diets comes easy and naturally to me,” said Lakshmi. “I just wanted to serve as many people as possible. There’s no need to add gluten to rice.”

Lakshmi’s ultimate goal with this collection is to help everyday families get nutritious meals on the table without a lot of hassle. As a mother first and an international celebrity second, she is aware of how difficult that can sometimes be.

“I want my rice and lentil selections to be helpful and a healthy part of meals families can make on a daily basis. For parents who work full time, this is an easy way to get food on the table on a weeknight.”

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