Beginning in January, I started eating a whole lot more greens. There are greens in my morning smoothie (you know, mixed in with the fruit, seeds and cashew milk), greens in my lunch-time salad, and there are always greens somewhere in my dinner. I’m sorta enamored with them and relish all the good stuff they do for me, especially filling me up with energy so I can go, go, go for hours (packing food gifts, of course).
But come the weekend, I want comfort food. Sure, there can be greens, but I like to tuck them (plus all the colors of the rainbow) into a scruffy version of my favorite Vegan Fried Rice. This dish has got me through every Friday night since the start of 2015. It’s nourishing and comforting, good enough for just the two of us or for a group of girlfriends (so many of my lady-friends have enjoyed a serving). I love a small bowl (or two) with a glass of white wine while he downs a beer (or two).
I think it’s important to talk about how this dish isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, because it’s about using up the remaining few carrots, half onion and whatever else you have left over before your next grocery trip. I’ve made it a hundred different ways and have swapped in everything from peas, collards, tiny bits of corn, scallions, cauliflower and broccoli crowns, to shrimp, scallops, scrambled eggs or chicken (though those last four ingredients make it not-so-vegan, obviously). If you prefer to ignore my measurements altogether, go for it. A little extra of this or that won’t ruin the dish or make it crazy. It’ll just make it yours.
Let’s be crystal clear here about how veggie-filled this recipe is, though: the dish is meant to be about half vegetables and half rice. It’s a hefty dose of your daily vegetables mixed in with filling and comforting brown rice. The flavors and textures will remind you of Chinese take-out, just a kinda better, healthier, greener version.
If you can, use a high quality sesame oil and soy sauce. These two ingredients really flavor the dish, so definitely go for the finer stuff and use as much as you want; my measurements are really guidelines. And the chili paste should not be the sort that’s loaded with sugar. Why does chili paste need sugar?! I make my own from the leftovers after fermenting a pot of summer’s pepper harvest for hot sauce. My jar has lasted me since last Fall and it’s funky, bright and strong. Think about making your own this summer (I’ll post a recipe then, okay?!) or buy the real stuff from your local Asian market.
Go for color here, folks. Between the red onions, carrots, rainbow chard, cabbage and bean sprouts, I have all the colors of the rainbow represented, and it looks and feels right. I feel kinda fabulous knowing I’m starting the weekend with the biggest, prettiest bowl of comfort food. It’s a little ritual I’ve been able to continue while still eating healthier. In fact, honoring your food rituals is just as important as eating the right foods. We should talk about food rituals sometimes, remind me…
Until then, Friday is right now. I got ya covered.
Vegan Fried Rice
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, cleaned and finely chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
- 1 cup thinly sliced Swiss chard or kale, chop and reserve stems separately
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or gluten-free brand), or to taste
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- Add oil, chili paste, red onion, garlic and carrots to a wide non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add cabbage and chard stems (not chard, yet). Toss with other ingredients and cook 3 to 4 minutes until slightly limp.
- Add remaining kale. Toss and cook 1 to 2 minutes until incorporated.
- Add rice and sprouts. Toss with other ingredients and cook 3 to 4 minutes until well incorporated.
- Add sesame oil and soy sauce and fold into other ingredients until well-coated. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.