Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots and Broccoli
This is a post about veggies & friendship.
When I was in college, I met some of the best friends of my life. Work, distance, and families keep us from staying in frequent contact, but every year since we graduated we've managed to take a weekend for an annual girls' trip.
We haven't embarked on any extravagant vacations (because half of us have been in grad school and are thus quite poor), but it never really matters where we are. It's all about community, laughter, and (of course) great food.
One of my favorite pieces of planning Annual Girls' Weekend is to plan the menu. Yes, that's right. I get all googly-eyed-big-grin when I think about sharing food with people I love. So every year I usurp the role of meal planner (hope you don't mind too much, ladies).
The trick to planning these meals is that I not only want to find delicious, healthy recipes, but we have a few food restrictions in the group:
- Gluten-free: One friend is gluten intolerant (possible Celiac disease, but never been tested and not worth it to eat gluten to find out)
- Low-Histamine: Another friend has food sensitivities to histamines, as well as avoids soy.
- Vegetarian: two of us are (mostly) vegetarian. I really added this in there for fun (see: googly-eyed dietitian who loves food challenges)
So what's a dietitian to do? Take out and pour over her all-time favorite cookbook: America's Test Kitchen: The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.
Side note: If you've never heard/watched/read/used the recipes from ATK (that's how the cool kids abbreviate it), you need to go check it out immediately. If I paired a job as a test cook at ATK with promoting health and sustainable agriculture, I might have just described my dream job. [insert more dietitian googly eyes]
One of the favorite recipes from last year's trip was ATK's Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots and Kale. The original recipe met all of the aforementioned criteria to be gluten-free, low-histamine, soy-free, and vegetarian. That's a win-win-win-win. Plus some more wins if you count how delicious it was.
The adapted recipe I also made for friends. Old friends and a new friend. Friends are the best. Friends, family, and food. When all else fails, those three remain. They are my comfort, my joy, and the reason that I love my life.
Professionally, I counsel many people who struggle to lose weight. As a reason for struggling with weight, my patients frequently tell me, I just love food too much. I often question if that is really the case, though.
When I say I love food, I mean more than just food.
Food is more than about taste. In fact, it's more than the vitamins and minerals it contains. It's more than calories or fat or sugar, and it goes beyond ingredients. To me, food is the thread that stitches life together.
At holidays, we share traditional family dishes. At birthdays, we indulge in once-a-year German chocolate cake (for my Dad, at least, because it's his favorite). At barbecues we bring out the baked beans and watermelon. And when I cook for the dear Celiac-ers in my life, I find joy in cleansing my kitchen of gluten.
In regard to today's recipe, I could tell you all about the glorious cruciferous antioxidants in broccoli or rave about the beta-carotene that bequeaths the carrots their colorful orange. I could even brag about the protein in eggs or the complex carbohydrates in brown rice.
But not today.
Today I simply want to remind you that quality food is about feeding your body and your soul. I love this recipe not just because of the way the warm egg yolk makes the dish divinely creamy, but because of the memories this recipe holds. Each time I make it, I'm transported to the cabin where we spent Girls' Weekend. I hear the laughter of the night these picture were taken when I melted my favorite dish-drying pad (oops!) by setting a hot skillet on it. I'm right back in the middle of love, laughter, and friendship.
I love food. And I invite you to share this food-loving journey with me.
To begin, start with cooking the brown rice. Combine one cup brown rice, three cups cold water, and a half teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes until rice is cooked through and water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, peel two onions. Slice each in half lengthwise, then slice into thin wedges. Set aside.
Wash and peel two pounds of carrots, then cut into matchsticks, about 4-inches long. Toss carrots and onions with four tablespoons canola oil and spread into two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes. Set aside.
Wash two medium-small heads of broccoli thoroughly, then cut into 1-inch florets. Toss with another four tablespoons oil and spread into two different 9 x 13-inch baking dishes.
Sprinkle about a half teaspoon of coarsely ground salt and about a tablespoon of pepper pepper evenly over broccoli and carrots (that's one-half teaspoon salt for all four pans, mind you). Roast vegetables at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring half-way through. Vegetables are done when they are tender enough to poke with a fork and starting to brown.
While vegetables cook, fry eggs over-easy. Only fry as many as you are planning to eat immediately - leftovers are best served with a freshly cooked fried egg.
Arrange bowls: add 2/3 c. brown rice, then 2 c. vegetables, then top with 2 fried eggs. Poke the yolk with a fork to mix in and make a creamy dish. Serve hot.
Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots and Broccoli
- 1 c. brown rice
- 3 c. water
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- 2 lb. carrots
- 2 medium onions
- 2 small heads broccoli
- 8 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
- Freshly ground pepper (about 1 Tbsp.)
- 12 eggs
- Start cooking brown rice by combining brown rice, water, and 1/2 tsp. salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-60 minutes until rice is cooked through and water is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, peel onions. Slice in half lengthwise, then slice into thin wedges. Set aside.
- Wash and peel carrots, then cut into matchsticks, about 4-inches long. Toss carrots and onions with 4 Tbsp. canola oil and spread into two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes. Set aside.
- Wash broccoli thoroughly, then cut into 1-inch florets. Toss with remaining 4 Tbsp. oil and spread into two different 9 x 13-inch baking dishes.
- Sprinkle remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper evenly over broccoli and carrots. Roast vegetables at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring half-way through. Vegetables are done when they are tender enough to poke with a fork and starting to brown.
- While vegetables cook, fry eggs over-easy. Only fry as many as planning to eat - leftovers are best served with a freshly cooked fried egg.
- Arrange bowls: add 2/3 c. brown rice, then 2 c. vegetables, then top with 2 fried eggs. Poke the yolk with a fork to mix in and make a creamy dish. Serve hot.
Serves 6 - Serving Size: 1 bowl (2/3 c. brown rice, 2 c. vegetables, 2 eggs) - Nutrients per serving: 561 calories -- 34g total fat -- 5g saturated fat -- 0g trans fat -- 369mg cholesterol -- 330mg sodium -- 48g total carbohydrates -- 9g fiber -- 11g sugar -- 19g protein