The holiday season can feel like such an emotional contradiction. On one hand, I love the festivities, the excitement and joy, the get togethers, the FOOD, the time with family and the general high that accompanies this time of year. On the other hand… it can all feel so exhausting! The draining social calendar, the stress of shopping for the “perfect” gifts and the busy Saturdays spent packing in cookie making, gift wrapping and family gatherings. Why do we love this season so much? Lol
Needless to say ain’t nobody got time for complicated weeknight dinners on top of it all. In fact, never are quick meal prep and 10-minute meals more crucial than during the holidays when our desire for a healthy meal to counteract the sugar-fueled weekends is high while our motivation to make it is at an all-time low. Enter this week’s recipe – a deliciously simple vegan “Fried” Brown Rice with Spicy Peanut Sauce!
I always suggest that my clients batch cook a few things each week, and a grain usually tops that list. I LOVE making a giant batch of brown rice, barley or quinoa each week to have on hand for a quick buddha bowl, curry base or stir-fry dinner like today’s recipe. And pre-cooking some brown rice literally takes no effort – you don’t even have to pay attention as it cooks! Just put some rice in a pot, add some water, and let it cook while you get your other stuff done. Huzzah!
With some cooked rice in your fridge this recipe literally comes together in under 20 minutes (even if you have to cook the rice it’s only 35 mins. total, which still ain’t bad). It’s gluten-free, vegan and packed with veggies while still bringing the warming comfort we want in a winter meal. Plus – it makes enough for leftovers for lunch the next day, which (as ya’ll know) is SO my jam and, IMO, the way to truly win the holidays (at least in the kitchen). Now if only I could create a cookie that also does my holiday shopping…
The Natural Blonde
"Fried" Brown Rice with Spicy Peanut Sauce
This easy plant-based dinner brings a delicious twist on a classic and comes together in no time at all! Vegan, gluten-free and can be peanut-free if you sub-almond butter in the sauce.
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp. tamari, divded
- 1 large carrot, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, chopped (save green tops for garnish)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
For the Sauce
- 4 Tbsp. tamari
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
Prepare sauce by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine (or use a magic bullet as I did to get it good and creamy).
Heat a large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add sesame oil (or water), carrots, tofu and one third of the tamari. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until tofu is golden on all sides and carrots have softened.
Next, add chopped green onion, broccoli, and peppers along with another one third of the tamari. Stir, cover, and cook for 2 minutes or until broccoli appears slightly browned.
Add cooked brown rice and the remaining one third of the tamari. Stir to coat and cook for 1 minute. Then add sauce and stir. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to shallow bowls and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onion and enjoy! Best when fresh but leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop until hot.