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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Black Bean Stew

Very loosely inspired by an incredible Brazilian dish called Feijoada. This is a very filling, hearty stew full of protein!

This recipe also contains a bonus recipe for pico de gallo! You can use it on tacos, in burritos, or even just serve it up with some tortilla chips. Super yummy and fresh.

Serves 4-6
Gluten-free
Prep time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

For the stew:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 bell peppers (use whatever colours you like best), chopped into approx. 2 cm chunks.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • 2 red onions, roughly diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed/minced.
  • 2 cans black beans (not drained and rinsed, for once!)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves (also called cilantro), finely chopped.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the pico de gallo:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced.
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, finely diced.
  • 1-2 serrano peppers (if you can’t find them, use jalapenos instead), finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (zest is optional, but I like it!)
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Cooking Instructions:

For the stew:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss your peppers with a generous amount of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and the paprika. Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they’re nice and soft.

While the peppers are in the oven, it’s time to start on the rest of the stew. Heat a large pan on medium-low heat with about 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, toss in your onions and garlic, along with a good pinch of salt.

Cover with the lid and cook them, stirring often, until the onions are soft and nicely caramelized. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Add in the beans, vegetable stock, coriander, and cumin. Stir well to combine.

When the peppers are done, take them out of the oven and plop them straight into the stew. Stir them in, then toss in your coriander leaves. Allow the stew to simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the flavours are nicely mingled. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve piping hot!

You can also serve this stew on top of rice, if desired.

For the pico de gallo:

The amount of peppers you use will really depend on your spice tolerance. Start off with a little bit, then add more if it’s not spicy enough for you.

Toss the onion, tomatoes, and peppers into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper, and coriander leaves. Mix well until everything is nicely coated in lime juice. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.

You can serve this immediately, but I like to pop it in the fridge for a while to let the flavours mingle better. It gets a bit spicier if you leave it for a little while, so keep that in mind when you make it!

For this dish, I’d serve it immediately. Just place a nice little spoonful on top of the stew when you’re about to take it to the table!