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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Stuffed Acorn Squash

I love squash. And I love stuffing vegetables with things  (stuffed bell peppers and tomatoes are some of my favourites), so this is a great combination for me and all other squash lovers!

Squash have a very long shelf life, and tend to be fairly inexpensive. So if you, like me, are having trouble finding affordable produce because you live in Canada (where nothing grows between October and March), keeping a couple squash around can make planning dinner easier!

I chose acorn squash for this recipe mostly because they’re small and easy to handle, and because a couple of acorn squash can easily feed 4 people. Or 2 very hungry people.

Gluten-free
Serves 4
Prep time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 small acorn squash, sliced in half and de-seeded.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil of your choice (olive oil, butternut squash seed oil, you decide!).
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced/crushed.
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed.
  • 2 cups vegetable stock.
  • 500 g mushrooms, finely sliced.
  • 1 handful walnuts, crushed.
  • 1 handful pecans, crushed.
  • 1 small handful dried fruit (raisins, currants, etc – optional).
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried).
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste).
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 F/185 C. Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil. See if your squash halves will rest hollow-side-up without falling over. If so, great! If not, slice a little bit off the back side to make sure it won’t topple over later.

Rub the inside of your squash generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then place the halves hollow-side-down on your baking sheet. Bake for approx 30-45 minutes, until the squash is nice and tender. This will depend on how big your squash is.

Meanwhile, making the stuffing – start out by heating a large pot on medium heat with a tablespoon or so of oil in the bottom. when the oil is hot, add in your onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms are nicely cooked, this should take 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the nuts, dried fruit, thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne. Next, add in the rice and vegetable stock. Simmer until the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and flip it hollow-side-up. If the cavity is smaller than you’d like, scoop out some of the squash and mix it in with your filling. Spoon your filling into the squash, being careful not to poke holes in the skin. If you do poke a hole, seal it up with a bit of tinfoil.

Cover the squash with tinfoil as best as you can, to keep it from burning, and pop it back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve piping hot!