Brown rice sauté with asparagus, fresh fava beans + fresh herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Made all in one pan, this dish is an homage to spring. Although the ingredient list includes spring onions and green garlic, it’s perfectly fine to use regular onion and garlic cloves. One cup of rice will cook up to quite a bit. Fresh green fava beans have an outer pod and an inner shell, and although most recipes ask you to blanch the beans and then peel away the inner shell, you don’t need to do that extra work for this dish.

  • olive oil or oil of choice
  • spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • brown rice
  • fresh fava beans, pods removed but inner shells unpeeled
  • asparagus, bottoms trimmed, spears sliced into 1-in pieces, and 2-in tips reserved separately
  • green garlic, white and light green parts, chopped
  • mixed fresh herbs (such as mint, basil, cilantro, parsley, and dill), minced
  • freshly ground pepper
  • green chile hot sauce or salsa of choice, tamari, or balsamic vinegar for serving
  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook for a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and leave brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the rice, cover, and cook for a minute or two. Add enough water to cover the mixture, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, adding more water as needed so the rice doesn’t stick, until the rice is almost done.
  2. Stir in the fava beans, asparagus spears, and garlic. Cover and cook until the fava beans and asparagus are barely soft, then add the asparagus tips. Continue cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking.  Stir in the fresh herbs, pepper, and hot sauce and serve.

Brown-rice bowl with garlicky chard, sun-dried tomatoes + walnuts (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian)

Rainbow chard, with its multicolored stems, makes eating your greens very enticing indeed. Consider flavoring the brown rice by cooking it with a knob of coconut oil and stirring in some green onion slices when the rice is done but still steaming. Nutritional yeast sprinkled on top of your bowl adds a nutty, cheesy flavor and is worth a try. Because chard has a natural saltiness, you might not need to add any salt to your bowl, but smoked salt is almost always a good choice.

  • brown rice of choice
  • garlic cloves
  • swiss chard, preferably rainbow chard
  • olive oil
  • super-firm tofu, diced (optional)
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • walnuts
  • cilantro, chopped (optional)
  1. Cook the brown rice according to your preferred method (see note above for flavoring ideas). Cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and set aside. Cut the stems from the chard leaves and thinly slice. Separately, stack the leaves and cut into ribbons.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chard stems, cover, and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the chard leaves and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly wilted. Move the chard to the side of the pan and move the pan so the chard is off the heat. Pour a little bit of oil on the uncovered part of the pan that is over the heat, add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so. Shift the pan back onto the heat, stir the garlic into the chard, and cook until the chard is done to your liking. Cover and remove from the heat.
  4. To serve, add a mound of rice to your bowl. Top with chard, tofu, a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, a few sun-dried tomatoes, a handful of walnuts, and some cilantro, and you’re ready to eat.

Baby bok choy with tofu, green garlic + miso over ginger rice (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian)

Here’s a very satisfying one-bowl meal with layers of Asian flavors. If you can’t find green garlic (also known as spring garlic) at your farmers’ market, you can substitute dried garlic cloves. Use your favorite type of miso and the smallest, most tender baby bok choy you can find.

  • brown rice
  • fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • baby bok choy
  • coconut oil
  • super-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • green garlic, white and light green parts, thinly sliced and parts kept separate
  • miso
  • hot water
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Soak the rice for as long as possible, then massage it in several changes of cold water. Cook the rice with the ginger in a rice cooker or in a saucepan on the stove top until soft.  Keep warm.
  2. Pull the bottom leaves off of the bok choy and slice the stems diagonally. Swish in cold water to remove any grit. Set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the tofu and cook without stirring for a minute or two. Add the green parts of the garlic and stir to mix and scrape up the tofu browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium, add the white parts of the garlic, and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Spoon the miso into a small heatproof measuring cup, add a few tablespoonfuls of hot water, and whisk vigorously until the miso is combined with the water. Pour the miso mixture into the pan with the tofu and garlic and stir. Add the bok choy and toss until well combined. Cover for a minute or two to allow the bok choy to steam, then toss again. When the bok choy is softened but still bright green, remove from the heat .
  5. Spoon the rice into bowls; top with the bok choy mixture; sprinkle with hot sauce, green onions, and sesame seeds; and serve.

Crispy baked brown-rice “meatballs” with chunky tomato sauce + fresh spinach (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Flavored with Mediterranean herbs, these crunchy nuggets definitely satisfy. Feel free to sub seasonings from any world cuisine. To form the balls, you need to use short-grain rice because it turns sticky when cooked (leftover cooked short-grain rice works, too). You can broil the balls instead of baking them, but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

  • short-grain brown rice
  • homemade tomato sauce or store-bought
  • olive oil
  • dried rosemary
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano
  • fennel seeds
  • dried sage
  • red pepper flakes or chile powder
  • smoked paprika
  • kosher salt
  • baby spinach leaves
  1. Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove top according to the package directions. Set aside until the rice is cool enough to handle.
  2. Meanwhile, make or warm the tomato sauce. Keep warm.
  3. Preheat the toaster oven or oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and lightly oil.
  4. Place the cooked rice in a large bowl. Season with rosemary, thyme, oregano, fennel, sage, red pepper flakes, paprika, and salt and stir to combine.
  5. Using moist hands, roll a tablespoonful or so of the rice mixture into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rice mixture. Bake until the balls are crispy all over, checking and turning them every 10 minutes or so.
  6. To serve, place a handful of spinach leaves in the bottom of individual bowls and top with the warm tomato sauce and several rice balls.  Enjoy!

Nut + brown rice loaf with tomato-balsamic glaze (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

A hearty main course, this loaf isn’t difficult to make, even though the ingredient list looks intimidating. The recipe is forgiving—you can flavor it with whatever seasonings and herbs you enjoy. Instead of the chia seeds, you can crack in an egg to help bind the loaf together. Inspired by posts on Vegan Richa and Naturally Ella.

  • chia seeds
  • rolled oats (gluten-free, if desired)
  • raw walnuts
  • raw pecans
  • raw sunflower seeds
  • cooked brown rice
  • onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro or parsley, coarsely chopped
  • granulated or fresh garlic
  • herbes de Provence or dried herbs (such as thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, and fennel)
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Dijon mustard or prepared mustard of choice (optional)
  • fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • chili sauce or paste (optional)
  • smoked paprika
  • freshly ground pepper
  • tomato paste
  • balsamic vinegar
  1. In a small glass measuring pitcher, combine 3 parts water to 1 part chia seeds: to replace 1 egg, combine 2 fluid ounces water with 10 grams chia seeds. Whisk to blend well and place in the refrigerator to gel.
  2. In a dry pan or in the toaster oven, toast the oats, walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds until fragrant and lightly browned (watch so they don’t burn). Let cool slightly.
  3. Add the toasted oats and the rice to the bowl of a food processor and process until a coarse texture. Add the walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, onion, cilantro, garlic, dried herbs, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon juice, tamari, chili sauce, paprika, pepper, and chia mixture. Process, adding a tablespoonful of water at a time and scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Process until the nuts and seeds release their oils and the mixture becomes sticky.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang on the sides to make handles for easy loaf removal after baking.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and level the loaf’s surface. In a small bowl, whisk together some tomato paste with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar until well blended. Pour the glaze on the loaf and spread with a spatula or spoon to completely cover the top.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the loaf edges begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the glaze dries and darkens a bit, about 10 minutes longer.
  7. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Lift out the loaf using the parchment paper handles and cool on the rack until you can lift the loaf off of the parchment and onto a cutting board without it crumbling in the middle. Let sit another 5 minutes, then cut into slices with a large serrated knife. Serve right away or keep the loaf slices warm in a low-temperature toaster oven until serving.

Green cabbage, tomato + mushroom sauté over coconut brown rice (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

For a shorter cooking time, soak the rice in hot water for an hour or two first, then drain and rinse before cooking. Serve with kidney beans or other cooked legumes to make a heartier meal.

  • brown rice or rice of choice, rinsed and drained
  • coconut oil
  • mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • red onion, sliced in half-moons
  • sweet pepper, cut into strips
  • fresh chopped tomatoes or canned tomatoes
  • green cabbage, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • fennel seeds
  • caraway seeds (optional)
  • hot-pepper sauce (optional)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • tamari soy sauce (optional)
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  1. Cook the rice in a rice cooker, on the stovetop as you usually do, or as directed on the package, adding a knob of coconut oil to the cooking water to flavor the rice.
  2. In a large frying pan, warm more coconut oil over medium heat. When shimmering, add the mushrooms in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until browned. Move to the edge of the pan. Add the onions to the center of the pan and cook, without stirring, for several minutes until browned. Stir to combine. Add the sweet pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, stir, cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables create a sauce. Stir in the cabbage, cover, and continue to simmer until softened. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds and stir to combine.
  3. Taste the sauce and season to taste with hot-pepper sauce, pepper, and tamari. Fluff the rice, divide the rice among bowls, add the cabbage mixture, top with sunflower seeds, and serve.

Garlic-ginger poached tofu with greens + brown rice (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Why not try poaching tofu with garlic and fresh ginger and see what happens? The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Spring 2016 issue of GFF: Gluten-Free Forever magazine, available at newsstands now. To cut down the cooking time of the brown rice, soak the rice in water for an hour or two before proceeding with the recipe.

  • brown rice or rice of choice, rinsed and drained
  • garlic cloves (several for the poaching liquid and 1 for the dressing), thinly sliced
  • large piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • super-firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • dried chiles (optional)
  • greens (kale, Swiss chard, collards, or beet greens), stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • toasted sesame oil
  • fresh lime juice or lemon juice
  • fruit vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • fresh chile (jalapeño, Fresno, or serrano), thinly sliced (optional)
  • cucumber (Asian, Persian, or English), thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • fresh mint leaves
  1. Cook the rice the way you usually do or per the package directions. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, add water to a saucepan and add the garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tofu, tamari, and dried chiles. Stir and cook, uncovered, at a simmer until the tofu has the degree of flavoring you like. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tofu to a bowl, reserving about ¼ cup of the poaching liquid.
  3. Return the remaining poaching liquid to a boil in the same pan. Blanch the greens in the liquid until tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, add more tamari and whisk together with the sesame oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, fresh chile, and the reserved poaching liquid. Adjust the seasonings.
  5. To serve, add warm rice to individual bowls. Top each with chard, tofu, slices of chile and cucumber, and cilantro and mint leaves. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve.

Indian-spiced mixed legumes (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

An Indian market has an endless supply of legumes to try, and this dish is a great way to experiment. This particular combination has sweetness and chew from the chana dal (split baby chickpeas) and the split peas, while the lentils  thicken the mix. If you don’t have an Indian grocery nearby, use whatever canned or dried beans, split peas, and lentils you enjoy. Soaking the legumes shortens the cooking time, and curry powder is a good substitute for the list of spices. Serve as a side dish or over rice or pasta.

  • chana dal or whole moong dal
  • split peas
  • red lentils or lentils of choice
  • avocado oil, coconut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • leek, halved and sliced, or shallot, chopped
  • halved cherry tomatoes, chopped regular tomatoes, or canned tomatoes
  • kosher salt
  • garlic, sliced or chopped
  • fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • jalapeño chile, sliced
  • fennel seeds
  • curry powder
  • ground turmeric
  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • chile powder
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • Wash and drain the legumes. Put them in a large bowl, cover with hot water by several inches, let soak for an hour or two, rinse, and drain.
  • Warm the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and leek and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, and cook until the mixture becomes saucy.
  • Stir in the legumes and cook for a minute or two. Add enough water to cover by half an inch, cover, bring to a boil, and then simmer, stirring occasionally, until the legumes are almost soft. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and jalapeño and cook for a minute or two. Add the spices and cook until the legumes are completely soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with fresh herbs, and serve.

Green bean, mushroom + black rice casserole (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

This casserole becomes a vegetable shepherd’s pie when topped with cauliflower-potato mash, but it is good on its own served alongside toasted or warmed corn tortillas. If you have the time, soak the rice in hot water for an hour or two, drain, and rinse before adding.

  • coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, or other vegetable oil
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • onion, chopped
  • sweet pepper, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, sliced
  • kosher salt
  • Romano beans or fillet green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • black rice or rice of choice, soaked and rinsed
  • turmeric powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cumin seeds
  • fennel seeds
  • smoked paprika
  • curry powder
  • chopped fresh tomatoes or a jar of marinara sauce
  • vegetable broth or water
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Warm the oil in an oven-safe pan with a lid or a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring only occasionally, until browned. Stir in the onion and cook until softened. Add the sweet pepper and chile and a few pinches of salt, cover, and cook for a few minutes. Add the green beans, rice, and seasonings and stir so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Add the tomatoes to the mixture, stir, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes soften and give off their juices. Add broth to just cover the mixture, cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for a few minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
  4. Carefully transfer the covered hot pan to the oven and bake, checking after 15 minutes. Add more liquid if dry or uncover the pan to reduce the liquid. Continue cooking until the rice and vegetables are completely soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve warm sprinkled with parsley.

Lemony panfried broccoli over oven-crisped rice (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

These simple ingredients turn out complex flavors, with the crispy rice adding a satisfying crunch. To get the crunchy texture, you’ll need leftover rice or freshly cooked rice that’s been chilled so that the rice is dry.

  • cooked brown rice
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • onion, sliced into half-moons
  • tofu, diced (optional)
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • broccoli, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • parsley, minced
  1. Heat the broiler in a toaster oven or regular oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the rice to the baking sheet in one thin layer and broil until toasted and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and tofu and cook without stirring for a minute or two, then stir occasionally until lightly browned.
  3. Add the garlic and broccoli, stir, and cook, covered, until the broccoli begins to turn bright green. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir, and cook, covered, until broccoli is done the way you like it. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and serve over the crisped rice.