I was actually already making this recipe before I cleaned up my diet, so it was one of the earliest healthy vegan meals I ever made. The original recipe comes from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, which was given to me by my aunt when I first went vegan many, many years ago… It’s probably the only recipe I really use from that book, especially now, as most of the other recipes rely on processed, fake meats, or require ingredients that are impossible to find outside the US. I used to add tofu to the dish, as the original recipe calls for (although I used marinated, firm tofu, rather than the silken tofu it suggests) but recently I stopped adding tofu (the brand I liked is hard to find and expensive) and I really haven’t missed it, as the dish is jam-packed with so many other ingredients! If you’re missing some added protein though, feel free to add the tofu back in (I would recommend chopping it and lightly frying in sesame oil for around 5 minutes), or add in some roast chickpeas instead.
Recently I started adding in sauerkraut (to get more fermented foods into my diet), which works really well with the tahini sauce, and also roast sweet potato (because, well, I’m obsessed with sweet potato and add it to everything! And it also tastes yummy with the tahini sauce.) In fact, everything tastes delicious with this tahini sauce, I literally add it to everything – stir fries, baked sweet potato… I’ve even been known to eat it straight out the mug!!!… and it’s so simple – I’ve tried other tahini sauces with fancier ingredients like garlic, turmeric, lemon, etc. but they’re just not as yummy and more-ish as this one, so, why complicate things?! Sometimes less really is more 😉
It’s also the perfect recipe for when you arrive home late and want something quick but satisfying – if you skip the sweet potato, the whole thing comes together in 20-25 minutes, including prep time… my kind of meal!
Top Tip: For this recipe I rely on my 3 tier stainless steel steamer pan (something like this) – if you haven’t got one I really recommend it, it means the whole thing can be done in one pan, so takes up less space on the stove top, and steaming veggies is so much healthier than boiling or frying. Definitely a worthwhile investment!
Rainbow Veg Rice Bowl
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
2 small carrots
1 small head red cabbage
8 large handfuls kale (8 stems if yours isn’t pre-chopped)
4 handfuls brown rice*
4 heaped tbsp tahini
4 tbsp tamari soya sauce
2 tbsp organic cold-pressed sesame oil
2 small sweet potatoes
2 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
Arctic sea salt/himalayan sea salt
smoked/marinated tofu OR roast chickpeas
Preheat the oven to 180c. Start by roasting the sweet potatoes if you’re using them. Rinse them, and pat dry with a (clean!) teatowel or kitchen paper. I like to keep the skins on for wedges, so I just roughly chop them into strips/wedges, toss in a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil and a little salt, then lay them out on a baking sheet (trying not to overlap) and roast them in the oven for around 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Once that’s in, prepare the sauce.
In a measuring jug or mug, stir together the tahini, tamari and sesame oil until well combined. Start to add in cold water a tiny bit at a time – keep stirring as you add! (I like to hold the jug next to the running tap (we can drink the tap water) and just dash it under super quickly as I’m stirring. Whatever you do, don’t add too much water in one go because it’s hard to salvage it once it’s too watery.) Keep going until you have the desired consistency (I like mine thick but pourable, like the consistency of double cream), and keep tasting – maybe you need to add more tamari soya sauce! Set aside once done (not in the fridge, just at room temp). After the potatoes have been cooking for 10 minutes or so, start to prepare your rice (or start here if not using the sweet potato!).
Place the rice in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water (get your fingers in there to really make sure it’s all well rinsed!) for a few minutes. Place the rinsed rice in a pan and cover with boiling water (this speeds the cooking time) – the water should be around 2 inches higher than the rice – add a few splashes of tamari soya sauce, and stick the lid on your pan. The rice should take 20-25 minutes, so now you can start to chop the veggies.
Rinse the cauliflower and broccoli, chop into bite-sized pieces and place in a steamer pan (don’t put it on the heat just yet!). Peel and slice the carrots and add to the same pan. Once your rice has been cooking for 10 minutes, place the steamer pan with the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots on top of the rice pan and cover. While that’s on, rinse your red cabbage and slice/grate it (however you prefer). Stick it in another steamer pan (not on the heat yet!). Rinse your kale (chop it, if it comes in leaves) and remove any big pieces of stem. Stick it in the same pot as the cabbage, and, once the carrots etc. have been steaming for 5 minutes, add the cabbage and kale steamer on top, covering it all with the lid. (Check on your sweet potatoes!)
After 5 more minutes everything should be done (the rice might need a few minutes longer, but take the veggies off). Drain the rice and divide between your bowls. Top with the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, some red cabbage and some kale. Sprinkle with raw pine nuts and/or sesame seeds if desired, and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Optional: add in 2 tbsp sauerkraut to each bowl (before adding the sauce), and place the sweet potato on the side. Dig in!
* This is my own special way to measure rice! After always ending up with way too much rice, especially when cooking just for myself, I discovered that one handful of uncooked rice is exactly the right amount for one person. If I’m particularly hungry, or cooking for several people I’ll used heaped handfuls, just to be sure, but it’s always usually spot-on!