Living Well with Nature

Rice Salad with Beef, Lime, and Herbs

After months of eating a restrictive and not super flavorful diet, I’ve finally come up with a meal that gets my taste buds excited. This is now one of my favorite recipes that I make on my low histamine, low oxalate, SIBO-friendly diet.

This meal uses some of the first plants available in my garden in spring, so for me the flavors are a beautiful transition out of winter, anticipating the more lush options of summer.

And the herbal flavors in this dish are a large part of what really make it so satisfying, so if you need to you can make substitutions for many of the other ingredients.

Extra Beef in the Freezer

A few months ago my father-in-law had one of his bulls slaughtered. We were asked if we wanted to go in on helping pay for the slaughter of the animal and share the meat with the rest of my inlaws. I was a little nervous because if handled the wrong way, beef can be a source of histamine, but I thought I would give it a try.

The meat from this bull turned out to be not only tolerable, but feels extremely nourishing to me every time I eat it. And I’m sure I’ve never eaten such local beef in my life – my father-in-law’s pastures surround our own farm, so it’s likely I’ve seen that bull walking through the pasture from my back yard.

While I do have emotional qualms about eating animals, I’m so grateful for the nourishment I’m able to gain from this meat, since I can’t eat beans, and my nut and seed options are extremely limited. Eating some protein every day makes me feel so much better.

The Ingredients

What you’ll need for this meal is:

  • white Basmati rice
  • ground beef
  • romaine lettuce
  • fresh chives
  • fresh mint
  • olive oil
  • lime juice (if tolerated)
  • salt to taste

If you have the herbs growing in your garden like I do, this will be even fresher and more delightful. If not, why not try growing them?

Chives and mint

Even in my arid climate with short summers, mint and chives both thrive and come back every year looking happy and healthy.

Prep

To prepare this recipe, you’ll need to cook the rice, as well as the beef. I recommend cooking them right before you’re ready to assemble this salad.

Otherwise, you can cook and freeze them ahead of time, and then thaw over heat, right before assembling.

As for the lettuce, I like to wash mine in my salad spinner, and then use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut it into thin shreds, which will give the salad a lovely texture.

You’ll also want to rinse the mint and chives. I also like to use my kitchen scissors to mince them directly over my bowl – no chopping board needed.

Rice Salad with Beef, Lime, and Herbs

Serves 1

Prep time 5-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked white Basmati rice
  • 1/4 pound cooked ground beef, or more
  • 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce, or more
  • 3 sprigs of chives (1 tbsp, minced)
  • 3 sprigs of mint (approximately 2 tbsp, minced)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt (to taste)

Directions

  1. Scoop one half cup cooked rice into a salad bowl.
  2. Add cooked ground beef.
  3. Sprinkle with shredded lettuce.
  4. Remove mint leaves from stems and mince over bowl.
  5. Mince chives and add to bowl.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Squeeze on the juice from a lime wedge or two, and salt to taste.
  8. Use two forks to mix all the ingredients together in your bowl.
  9. Enjoy!

Portions

If you want to try this recipe but are confused about the small portions involved, please know that this is designed to provide the portions allowed on the Low Histamine Bi-Phasic diet for SIBO. This diet isn’t a weight loss diet, but one designed to reduce symptoms from bloating by keeping the amounts of fermentable carbohydrates low.

On the Bi-Phasic, you can increase the amount of beef, lettuce, and herbs to provide yourself with a larger serving, but the recommended serving size for the rice remains one half cup.

Histamine Intolerance Friendliness

To make it more likely that you tolerate the beef in this recipe, seek out beef that was frozen right after the animal was slaughtered. This information may be easier to find out from a small farm, and may make you feel better about your food choice too.

Limes are histamine liberators, so you may need to test your tolerance to this ingredient. You may tolerate the small quantity of fresh lime juice used in this recipe.

Oxalate Content

There is varying information on the oxalate content of different foods. All of the sources I have consulted list white Basmati rice, lettuce, chives, and mint in the quantities in this recipe as low.

Here’s the approximate breakdown of oxalate content:

1/2 cup white Basmati rice, cooked – 1.5 mg

1/4 pound cooked ground beef – 0 mg

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce – 1 mg

1 tbsp chives – 0.22 mg

2 tbsp mint  – 1 mg

olive oil, 2 tbsp  – 0 mg

1 tbsp lime juice – 0.28mg

salt – negligible

Total oxalate content for this meal: approximately 4 mg.

Listed oxalate content of various ingredients was sourced via the Trying Low Oxalates group on Facebook.

SIBO Friendliness

All of the ingredients included in this recipe are allowed on the Bi-Phasic and Low Histamine Bi-Phasic diets. They would also be suitable for a low FODMAP diet.

Since the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) does not allow rice, it is not suitable for that diet.

Onions and garlic tend to be off limits for IBS and SIBO, but the green parts of these alliums don’t contain the same fermentable carbohydrates – that’s why chives are permitted, and they’ll give you that nice savory taste you may be missing.

Substitutions and Adjustments

If beef just doesn’t work for you, you can sub shredded chicken breast for the ground beef. As with the beef, just make sure to purchase chicken that was frozen when purchased and up until the time you cook it.

And if lime juice doesn’t work for you yet, because of histamine intolerance, you can omit it. You’ll still be getting lots of flavor from the chives and mint.

Are you vegan? If you don’t have a problem with histamine or oxalates, you can substitute 3.5 ounces of tofu or tempeh for the beef, and still stick to the Bi-Phasic.

Brown rice can be subbed for the white Basmati if you have no problems with oxalates or SIBO, but you might want to soak it first – unless you have histamine intolerance, in which case soaking may or may not work for you.

A Taste of Spring

The flavors in this meal really delight me. The brightness of the lime juice provides a nice contrast to the earthiness of the beef, and the mint adds surprising little bursts of flavor. The quantity of the mint is not enough to be overwhelming, just enough to provide your taste buds with some excitement, and freshness.

If you’re on the same type of restrictive diet that I am, I really hope this dish helps to brighten up your food options a bit – it has made my lunches more exciting, and I confess, I pretty much want to eat it every day now.

And if you don’t have the same food restrictions, I bet you will enjoy these delicious flavor combinations anyway.

If you try it, let me know what you think in the comments section below. And if you want to learn more about the food issues referred to read more here:

Gut Health and SIBO – How I Finally Got Diagnosed

Histamine Intolerance – The Weird Food Intolerance You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

My Experience with Three Elimination Diets for Gut Health and Lowering Inflammation

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