The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice

Check out my Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice guys!  This weeknight recipe is a quick and healthy version of the Classic Chinese take-out.  My version is loaded with a powerhouse of vegetables such as boy choy, red cabbage, carrots, shitake mushrooms and asparagus.  This is my go-to weeknight recipe for the fam.  There are never left-overs and I find myself throwing this into the dinner rotation at least every other week, varying the vegetables. 

Also, with the summer heat, do I really want to turn on the oven?  I think not! So, stove top cooking is the way to go.  This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes.  All you need to do is prep your veggies in advance and let the countdown begin.

This is the veggie version of fried rice, but feel free to add your favorite protein such as shrimp, chicken and tofu.  This recipe is so customizable it screams do what you want with me.  Yes, I said that! The meal is bright and colorful, so you’re totally eating the rainbow.  It’s nutritious and will instantly become a part of your weeknight rotation.

Isn’t that what a weeknight dinner is supposed to be?

The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice//serves 4

3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon oil (sesame, coconut oil, etc).
2 eggs, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 medium sized onion, diced
3-4 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 small head cabbage, shredded
½ lb fresh shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
4-5 boy choy, stems and leaves thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin

Heat a wok or frying pan to medium high heat until hot.  Add ½ teaspoon oil and swirl around wok.  Add beaten eggs and swirl around to coat bottom with a thin layer.  When the egg is set, with a rubber spatula, roll the egg into an omelet and transfer to a plate to cool.  Wipe out the wok and return to the heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add minced garlic, grated ginger and diced onion.  Cook stirring often, until onions are translucent and garlic and ginger are fragrant.  Add your vegetables and salt and cook, stirring often until vegetables are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer vegetables to a bowl.  Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to work, and place 3 cups of the rice into the work.  Spread the rice out evenly and allow rice to sit for about 5 minutes.  This will help brown the rice on the bottom.  Add the vegetables to the brown rice along with the tamari, rice wine vinegar and mirin.  Stir all together until well incorporated.  Add more tamari to taste if you’d like. 

For the egg omelet, slice and place atop of veggie fried rice.  Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.  Garnish with cilantro, Thai chili peppers or Sriracha.

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl w/ Roasted Vegetables, Crispy Chickpeas, Feta and Romesco Sauce

Let me just say I am thoroughly in love with bowl life.  A long time ago, a friend of mine once told me that her husband was such a sandwich lover, that he would turn most of his meals into a sandwich. Well, that’s kind of how I feel about food bowls.  I get it!  They’re a quick way for me to get all that’s good and good for me in one compact space.  Depending on your taste, a great bowl starts with a base (rice, grain, noodles), vegetables (this is the time to clean out your fridge), protein (chicken, tofu, meat, fish, beans) and some awesome toppings (nuts, seeds, herbs, sauces…).

This Mediterranean Bowl with Roasted Vegetables started with a craving for Romesco sauce.  Romesco is a Spanish sauce consisting of tomatoes, roasted red peppers, almonds and bread (I used a breadless recipe but traditionally bread is an ingredient).  Its flavor is rich; tangy with a smoky taste that pairs well with fish, chicken and as a dip for bread and vegetables.  You can purchase it already prepared, but if you have the time, I challenge you to go for it and make it yourself. You won’t be disappointed.  Let me preface by saying that this particular recipe is not quick.  So, if you get home from work by 6:00pm and start cooking straight away, you’re looking at a 7:00pm-ish dinnertime.

With the heartiness of the Romesco sauce, I wanted vegetables that could stand up to the flavor.  Enter eggplant, cauliflower, carrots and my protein….chickpeas.   I tossed the chickpeas in a bowl with olive oil, smoked paprika, and ground cumin and roasted in the oven at 400'.  I then roasted my vegetables until fork tender on 400'.  Once the vegetables and beans were done, I began layering: Quinoa, vegetables, chickpeas, Romesco sauce, feta, and cilantro (you can use parsley also). Done and done.  Enjoy!

MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA BOWL W/ ROASTED VEGETABLES, CRISPY CHICKPEAS, FETA AND ROMESCO SAUCE//serves 4

roasted vegetables
½ head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 lb (6 or 7) carrots, peeled
1 medium sized eggplant, cut into cubes
salt
pepper
olive oil

crispy chickpeas
1 15-oz can chickpeas
2 T olive oil
½ t. salt
1 to 2 tsp spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika)

romesco sauce (adapted from Bon Appetit)//Yields 1 1/2  cups servings
1 large roasted red bell pepper from a jar
1 garlic clove, mashed
½ cup raw almonds, toasted
¼ cup tomato puree
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
2 T sherry vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

Place the vegetables on a sheet pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast on 400' for 40 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and brown.

Place chickpeas in a bowl and season with cumin and smoked paprika, or your spice of choice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on a sheet pan and bake until crisp at 400' for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the romesco sauce, place first 8 ingredients in a food processor and pulse.  With the motor running, slowly add oil and process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the sauce in a container and refrigerate for up to a week.

For serving
Cooked quinoa
Feta cheese
Cilantro or parsley