Short-grain, long-grain, basmati — you're probably familiar with these standby rice varieties. But have you heard of Chinese black, Wehani, and Bhutanese red? There's a whole world of rice out there, and these and other exquisite rice grains are now readily available in natural groceries. Even better: Unlike white rice, whole-grain types like those presented here have intact bran layers, meaning they possess valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

In addition to its nutritional value, that bran layer is what bestows distinguishing color on each variety — from sexy and striking Chinese black to chestnut-brown Wehani — making it easy to create meals that are healthy and visually vibrant. As an added bonus, many take only about 30 minutes to cook. And, like all rice, they're naturally gluten free. So keep enjoying basic brown, but have fun experimenting with some of rice's more exotic cousins, too.

Black Japonica Rice with Thai Chicken Curry

Serves 6 / Ingredient tips: Black Japonica is actually a blend of Japanese short-grain black rice and medium-grain mahogany rice, also developed by Lundberg Family Farms. Thanks to the flavor-packed Thai curry paste, available in most grocery stores, this curry has complex flavor though it is quick and easy to prepare. Serving tip: Best eaten immediately. View Recipe

Wehani Rice Seafood Paella

Serves 8 / Ingredient tip: Wehani, developed by Lundberg Family Farms, is a reddish-brown hybrid of Indian basmati and long-grain brown rice. In this paella, it offers a pleasing taste and texture variation when combined with short-grain brown rice. Prep tip: Toasting the rice cracks the bran layer and causes the grains to burst open and become soft and creamy as they cook. View Recipe