Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brown Rice Bowl of Love

I'm not the kind of girl who can eat a salad and be satisfied. I need some substance to my meal—a grilled chicken breast or a medium-boiled egg at the very least. Transforming a basic salad into a brown rice bowl is the perfect way to turn a starter into something that will actually fill you (meaning me) up.

This particular dish was inspired by a trip to Costa Rica, and as you can see, it's as lovely to look at as it is to eat. Tucked away in the lazy little town of Montezuma, Cafe Organico is a wonderful vegetarian restaurant that feels like it belongs in Santa Cruz or San Francisco. I fell in love with their colorful Bowl of Love and promptly came home to try and create something similar. It's been in my regular rotation ever since.

Brown Rice Bowl of Love (Inspired by a dish at Cafe Organico)
The instructions below are for two servings, but like most salads, it scales easily. Even though this is the perfect solo meal, I always make at least two servings because it works out better in terms of portioning. Pretty much everything keeps well (beets, brown rice, black beans, avocado) for a second helping of love the next day.

SALAD
2 ripe tomatoes
2 golden beets
1 ripe avocado
4 hearts of palm
2 handfuls of arugula or other salad greens
1 cup of brown rice
1 can of black beans

DRESSING
1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Few drops sesame oil
½ tablespoon mild-flavored extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub beets well. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil over each one and wrap tightly with foil. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork.

2. Cook brown rice according to package instructions (I cook mine in a rice cooker).

3. 15 minutes before rice is done, drain and heat black beans in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

4. While beans are heating, quickly prep the rest of your veggies: slice the hearts of palm, tomatoes, and avocados, and rinse and dry the arugula. Remove the beets from the oven and peel their skins. Slice the beets.

5. Place all of your dressing ingredients in an airtight container (like a jam jar or small Snapware) and shake well. Dress the arugula. If you're only eating a single portion, dress half of the arugula and save the rest of the dressing for the second serving.

6. To construct your bowl, make a bed of brown rice and place a mound of black beans in the center. Arrange all your veggies around the edges and dig in.

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