It was bound to happen; the obligatory “vegan bowl of stuff” post. I can’t promise it won’t happen again. Sometimes these things just happen…and really, who’s complaining anyway?
Many of you are probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about. The vegan bowl of stuff is a delicious trend that is sweeping across menus and blogs everywhere. It’s the ingenious result of thinking you have nothing left in your kitchen, when really you have everything you need to make the most fun and cozy dinner or lunch you’ve ever had. Pay close attention, as this bowl of stuff business can get a bit complex (if there was a font for sarcasm, I’d use it here.)
But I’m not totally kidding. While the bowl of stuff is not at all complex, and (ok, fine) it’s not exactly ingenious either, it could be the most delicious revelation any home cook has ever discovered, especially those yearning for easy weeknight meals and to-go lunches. At face value, a bowl of stuff is exactly that – a bowl of…well, stuff. You can take your bowl of stuff very seriously by making grocery trips specifically for ingredients for the bowl. The great thing is, the bowl of stuff also lends itself amazingly well for using up whatever is in your pantry, whether that be because you have too many odds and ends of last week’s groceries left to go shopping yet, or because you’re penny pinching and trying to make the most out of what you’ve already got.
Bowls of stuff are very flexible. Try to imagine all of your favorite foods. Pick and choose some that go well together, and throw it all together in one bowl. No plates with side dishes and main courses separated; no, no, no. This is a cozy hodgepodge of your most drool-worthy foods all in one spot. You can mix all your stuff together, or pile different stuff on top of and/or beside other stuff. Bowls of stuff usually contain some type of grain, beans, nuts or seeds, fruits or veggies, and a sauce or condiment. The grain is usually considered the base – think quinoa, barley, rice, noodles, or even pasta. Or, you could go with a more breakfasty bowl and use granola or oats. Imagine what kind of flavor you’re going for, and pick and choose accordingly. Or surprise yourself by throwing every random thing in your kitchen in one bowl! I’ve totally done it, and have come up with some awesome recipes in the process.
So now that you’re keen on the ways of the bowl of stuff, you might be thinking, “Why the heck do I need your recipe then?” You don’t! But sometimes, you make a bowl of stuff that is so perfect, you just want to share it with the world! This bowl is really simple, and as with all bowls, you can add or subtract anything you like. It looks like a lot of ingredients because of the two sauces, but they are both very easy to make while the rice is cooking. The first sauce is a Korean-style dressing that I created while reading about different kinds of marinades. You can use this dressing to marinate tofu, tempeh, veggies, or patties. It also makes a great salad dressing. The other sauce is a creamy tahini-based sauce. There’s something about the bowl of stuff that just screams for creamy tahini sauces. Amiright, or amiright?
Sesame Brown Rice Bowl
Serves 5-7, depending on the size of your bowl. This recipe is gluten-free if tamari is used instead of soy sauce.
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 3-4 cups water
- 1-2 red bell peppers, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves, chopped or left whole (I like ’em whole!)
- 3-4 green onions, chopped
- 3-4 avocados (I use half of one per bowl)
- sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce (or kimchi brine!)
- 3 tablespoons apple or pear juice (or 2 TBS water + 1 TBS any kind of citrus juice)
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 -1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes, or crushed red pepper)
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or crushed
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
- 1/3 cup tahini
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended!)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup kimchi brine (or 1/3 cup water + 1 tablespoon soy sauce)
- black pepper to taste
- more water to thin, if necessary.
1.Cook the rice. I use a pressure cooker. If you’re using a regular pot, pour 3 cups of water and the rice into the pot. Bring water to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes or until rice is tender, checking every 10 minutes or so to see if more water needs to be added.
2. Chop the veggies and make the sauces while the rice is cooking. Combine the bell pepper, celery, parsley, and green onion in a bowl and toss. For the Korean dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar or bottle. Whisk together, or shake well with a tight fitting lid. For the tahini sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more water (or kimchi brine) to get it to your desired thinness. I like it to be thin enough to squeeze it out of one of those generic condiment bottles you often see in diners (you know, like the ketchup and mustard squeezy bottles.) Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
3. When the rice is done cooking, assemble your bowl! I like to stir the Korean dressing into the pot of rice (not all of it – the amount depends on how moist the rice is, and how strong I want the flavor to be.) Alternatively, you could drizzle it over the rice once it’s in the bowl. I like to fill about 1/3 of the bowl with rice, then place a handful of the veggies beside the rice, and half of an avocado cut into cubes beside that. (I also add a spoonful of my sauerkraut.) Drizzle tahini sauce over the top, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!