This was my staple dish while vegetarian in my twenties and I still today resort to its deliciousness when I want something with flavour, texture and nutritional value.
It requires a little bit of planning but not enough to turn you off. Here I will give you the basics and then you can play with it and make your own combination. The idea is the cook the vegetables in different ways to create different textures. For example, steam some, bake some, grate some raw and chop up some fresh herbs on top for some extra punch!
Brown rice and lentil base: (serves 4-6 approx)
2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup dried lentils
4 cups water
First up, put some brown rice and dried lentils in a saucepan with water and bring to the boil and allow to simmer till cooked. Probably around 25 minutes. In the meantime move onto the next step.
Getting the baked veggies in the oven is important as they can take the longest. Be sure to cut into small pieces to hurry up the process. Put vegetables into a baking dish with a little drizzle of olive oil. Place in oven at 200 C and let them cook till ready. Should take around 20-25 minutes.
Again to speed up the process, cut up the vegetables into bite size pieces. Start by steaming carrots and zucchini first in a large saucepan. They will take 5-10 minutes to soften slightly. Then add the bok choy for a further 2-3 minutes. Take saucepan off heat and let sit. This is usually the time I cut up some tofu and add to vegetables to warm up.
In this dish, I used a marinated tofu with japanese flavours. You could also use tempeh instead or omitted the soybean altogether if you like.
Fresh raw vegetable
finely chopped spring onions
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 garlic clove, finely diced
ginger, finely diced – same size as garlic
1/3 cup tamari
1 cup water
1 teaspoon corn flour (any flour will do)
2 tablespoons tahini
In a little saucepan, add oil with garlic and ginger. Allow to cook for just enough time to release aromas – couple of minutes. Stir in flour, then add tamari and water. Bring to the boil then add tahini. Stir continuously until it thicken up. If you forget to put the flour it will behave very differently, somehow it curdles and becomes unusable so be sure to add. This sauce is delicious and can be used in many different dishes. Once you taste it, Im sure you’ll be addicted.
Bringing it all together
Once rice and roasted vegetables are ready, then bringing it all together is simple. Place the rice /lentil layer at the base, top with steamed vegetables, roasted vegetables,and tofu.To finish off add the grated beetroot, spring onion and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Finally drizzle the tahini sauce over the whole dish. Serve immediately!
Use this as the foundation. Of course I would use different vegetables at different seasons but always taking into account colour. I topped this particular version with salad seaweed I bought from the health food shop. If you love nuts, then add any combination to the top as well. The great thing about this, is that every mouthful brings variety in textures – crunchy, smooth, sweet and even spicy with the ginger. Give it a go and let me know what you think. Enjoy!