Vegan Rice Bowl

Kind of similar to the Quinoa Black Bean Bowl I posted several months ago, this is a relatively easy recipe that can be tailored to your personal tastes!

I’ve included two variations of this style of bowl – one with brown rice, fried tofu, and fresh vegetables, and the other with a brown-and-wild rice medley with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and beans.

This recipe can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce and substitute the flour for another gluten-free flour (I’ve used brown rice flour for this, and it works quite well).

Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes for the tofu bowl, ~45 minutes for the sweet potato bowl.

Ingredients:

For the tofu bowl:

  • 200 g extra firm tofu.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil.
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp grated ginger.
  • 1/2 – 1 cup flour, for coating the tofu.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), sliced into very thin strips.
  • 6 large handfuls spinach (or other greens – bok choy would work nicely), washed.

For the sweet potato bowl:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp Za’atar (Middle Eastern blend of herbs and sesame seeds), or other herbs.
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets.
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.

For the dressing (goes with both bowls):

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce.
  • 1/3 cup apple cider/balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 tbsp tahini.
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
  • splash of hot sauce.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (olive oil works well).

Cooking Instructions:

For the dressing:

Add the soy, vinegar, tahini, garlic, hot sauce, and vinegar to a blender/food processor. If you have an immersion blender, use the beaker that came with it. Blend the dressing, slowly dribbling in the oil.

Alternatively, mince the garlic very finely, and then just mix it all together in a bowl with a fork. Depends on how much effort you want to expend.

For the tofu bowl:

Cook your brown rice in a rice cooker, or in  a pot on the stove according to package directions. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water. While it cooks, it’s time to press and marinate your tofu.

This is how I like to press my tofu – place it on a bed of paper towels on a large plate, then place another plate on top. Put something heavy on top of the plate (a couple of cans or a cookbook work well!), and allow it to press on the tofu for at least 10 minutes.

Once you’re done pressing the tofu, cut it into 1 cm cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, five spice, and ginger, and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate your carrots and beets. You want them to be as long as possible, but nice and thin! If you don’t have a grater, you can sliced them into a very fine julienne. Slice your peppers up too.

When the tofu is done marinating, get a large frying pan on high heat, and add enough oil to generously cover to bottom of the pan.

Prep a large shallow bowl with the flour. Add a pinch of black pepper to the flour for seasoning. Roll the tofu in the flour, tapping off the excess, and then add it to the pan. Fry the tofu, flipping it so it cooks evenly on all sides. Once the tofu is browned and crispy all over, remove it from the pan and pat off excess oil on a paper towel. You could also deep-fry the tofu, if you feel like going to the effort of it.

Serve with the brown rice in the bottom, then the spinach, then the sliced vegetables, then the tofu. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

For the sweet potato bowl:

Mix the rice all together and cook either in a rice cooker, or on the stove. This amount of rice should use about 4 cups of water and take about 45 minutes. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water used to cook the rice. Now, time to prep everything else.

Toss your sweet potatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and the Za’atar. Pop them in an oven at 400 F/190 C for approx 30 minutes, until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

When the sweet potatoes have about 10 minutes left in the oven, heat a lidded frying pan over medium heat with a splash of oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, add your broccoli and cauliflower. Cook, covered, for a couple minutes, then add your lemon juice. Stir every so often, keeping the lid on the pan, so that the vegetables steam in the lemon juice. When they become tender, season with salt and pepper, then take them off the heat.

Stir the black beans into the rice mixture, then serve with the rice on the bottom, then the broccoli and cauliflower, and top with the sweet potato. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

 

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Tomato, Kale, White Bean Soup

A slightly spicy soup with tons of amazing flavour. Inspired by a soup I had at work!

Prep time: ~45 minutes
Serves 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed/finely minced.
  • 1-2 tsbp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp chili flakes (add as much or as little as you like, really).
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, stripped from the stem, and cut/torn into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, with the juice reserved.
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 carrots, peeled if desired, sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a large pot on medium heat with the olive oil in it. When it’s nice and hot, toss in the onion. Cook until it begins to soften slightly, then add in the garlic.

When the onion is soft and translucent, and the garlic is fragrant, add the carrots and celery. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to caramelize. Next, add the kale, and cook until it starts to wilt slightly.

Dump in the tomatoes, their juice, the beans, and the tomato paste. Stir well, until everything is combined. Allow to cook for a minute or two, then add the chili flakes and the thyme. Stir well, allowing everything to combine for a minute, then add the vegetable stock.

Bring the whole pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently until all of the vegetables are tender. Season well with salt and pepper, and serve piping hot!

 

 

Cannellini beans in Stewed Tomatoes

A light main course on its own, easily made a little more substantial by serving it on pasta, rice, or any grain of your choosing. I like a piece of bread to soak up what’s left of the sauce when I’m done.

If you don’t drink alcohol, replace the wine with a small cup of vegetable stock with a splash of apple cider or balsamic vinegar mixed in.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes (if fresh tomatoes aren’t in season), roughly chopped, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 small glass white wine.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 shallots, finely diced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 small bunch sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage).
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary).
  • dash of hot sauce or pinch of dried chili flakes, if desired.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a medium saucepan or deep frying pan on medium-low heat with the olive oil in the bottom. Once the oil is hot, toss in the garlic and shallot. Stir frequently, until the garlic begins to toast slightly. Don’t let the garlic burn – it will make the dish taste bitter, which you don’t want!

Next, add the tomatoes and the herbs. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture starts to bubble. Add your beans, then reduce the heat slightly, and allow to simmer, reducing down to a thick stew-like consistency.

Serve hot. This dish is also nice when eaten cold as leftovers the next day.

White Bean Soup

A soup made from white beans with leeks, carrots, celery, spinach, a squeeze of lemon, and plenty of herbs (thyme and oregano) to make it tasty. Add in some noodles at the end if you want, just make sure you add extra water to cook them with!

Prep Time
Gluten-free
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 large leek (or 2 small), sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced/crushed.
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin half-moons.
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced thinly.
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 large bunch spinach, washed well.
  • 1 small handful each fresh thyme and oregano (or 2 tsp each dried).
  • Squeeze of lemon juice.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, add in the carrot, celery, leek, and garlic. Stir frequently, and cook until slightly softened.

Next, add the beans, spinach and herbs, and fry with the other vegetables for a minute. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then add all of the vegetable stock.

Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat, until the soup is just simmering. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Papa’s Fagioli Soup

My father’s fagioli soup recipe. Great for cold winter days when you want something really warm and hearty. This soup is full of vegetables, and has very little fat, so it’s quite healthy! Goes great with bread to sop up the juices.

This dish can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.

Prep time: ~40 minutes
Gluten-free (if using gluten-free pasta)
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced.
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced.
  • 6 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 400 g pasta/gluten-free pasta (traditionally, ditalini or elbow macaroni, but farfalle works well too).
  • 1 small handful fresh herbs, chopped (basil and oregano work nicely).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the onions, and saute for 2 minutes. Then add your garlic, and saute until both the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant. Toss in the green pepper and celery, and cook until they begin to soften. At the same time, place your sliced carrots in a large bowl filled with water, and microwave for a few minutes, until they start to become tender.

Add the carrots to the pot, along with all the vegetable stock. Next, add your beans and the tomatoes (with all their juice). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer until everything is soft and nicely acquainted. Then add your pasta, along with a few cups of boiling water, to prevent the pasta from sucking up all the liquid.

When the pasta is just cooked, add the herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for another minute or two, then serve. Enjoy!

Chili

A recipe I made up all on my own, after growing up on meat chili most of my life, and wanting a meatless alternative full of nutrition and flavor. I’m a huge fan of one pot cooking, since I hate doing dishes, and this recipe is very kind to all who don’t like washing dishes! If you prefer kidney beans or any other kinds of bean to black beans, go ahead and substitute them. I personally recommend using a can of whole tomatoes instead of buying a can of pre-crushed or diced tomatoes, simply because I find there’s more juice in the whole tomatoes, which makes the chili taste better. And yes, there is cinnamon in this. My family’s always done it that way.

Great served alone, with rice, or with tortilla chips. You can even put it on nachos, or in a tortilla with some fresh tomatoes and lettuce for a burrito!

Prep Time: ~30 min
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 medium onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 bell pepper, diced.
  • 1 jalapeno, diced.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, reserve the juice.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 2 tsp ground coriander.
  • 2 tsp chili powder.
  • ½ tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté everything until the onion is soft and translucent.

Next, add the bell pepper and the jalapeno, and continue cooking, stirring frequently.

Add the spices, then the tomatoes and the beans, and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, the longer the better.

Death Pasta

So named because it is incredibly filling, and eating too much will leave you in a food coma. Another recipe I learned from Amr (Elaine’s boyfriend). Very delicious, despite the dangers of overindulging in this dish, and sort of like a vegan pasta bolognaise. Also quite healthy! This dish can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.

Prep time: ~40 minutes
Gluten-free (if using gluten-free pasta)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked.
  • 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (black beans are best, but use whatever beans you like!)
  • 400 g pasta/gluten-free pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced.
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced.
  • 1 large onion, chopped.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed.
  • 1 can tomatoes, pureed.
  • 2 tsp Baharat (see Spices for the recipe!).
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce to taste.
  • 1 small handful fresh basil, shredded, or 1 tsp dried basil.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the garlic, and cook until both onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.

Add the carrots and celery, and cook with the lid on until the carrots begin to soften. Next, toss in all the lentils, and give it all a good stir. Add in the tomatoes and Middle Eastern spice mix and stir well.

Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Toss in the basil, beans, red pepper flakes or hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir and let simmer for as long as you want, but at least until the carrots are thoroughly cooked.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain, and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Serve hot, and don’t eat too much! Seriously, don’t eat too much.

Garam Masala Coconut Green Beans

A delicious side dish I learned from my father. Goes very nicely with spicy food, especially curries. Again, I won’t claim that this is authentic, because it absolutely isn’t. Quite a healthy dish, with no added fats.

Prep time: ~20 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Raw green beans, halved, with the ends cut off.
  • 1 tin coconut milk.
  • 2 tsp garam masala.
  • Slivered almonds.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Place the green beans in a large saucepan or pot, and pour in just enough coconut milk to nearly submerge them. This won’t be the whole can! Save the rest.

Add the garam masala, and stir well. Cook on medium-low heat, simmering the beans in the coconut milk until done. If the coconut milk is too thick, or boils away too quickly, add a small amount of water (1 or 2 tsp at a time) so the beans don’t burn.

In a small frying pan on medium-low heat,, with no oil, toast the slivered almonds. They should be lightly browned and crispy. Serve the beans piping hot, and garnish with the almonds.

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl

A recipe I borrowed from my sister (her name is Elaine, by the way), and improved upon. Well, I think I improved upon it. Very filling and healthy, and also quite quick to prepare.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups quinoa.
  • 1 can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 large handful per person of leafy greens (bok choy, spinach, arugula, etc).
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • Dash of hot sauce.
  • Salt and pepper.

Cooking instructions:

Place the quinoa in a pot with 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and allow to cook until all the water is absorbed. When the quinoa is done, take it off the heat and fluff it with a fork. While the quinoa is still piping hot, Stir in the black beans to warm them through.

Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to make a dressing. Place the leafy greens at the bottom of a bowl, place the quinoa and black bean mixture on top, and garnish with as much dressing as desired. The hot quinoa mixture will cook the greens slightly, making them tender. If desired, saute up some minced garlic to add a little more flavour.