Saturday, April 16, 2011

Roasted veggies and brown rice salad

Breakfast: Old Faithful Smoothie (milk, banana, oats, honey)

Lunch: Chunky hummus sandwich and spicy black bean soup from Tea Tree on the Danforth

Dinner: Roasted veggies and brown rice salad with spinach and asparagus

I felt a bit Mother Hubbard this morning; going out the last few nights has meant that the fresh kitchen stocks have dwindled, and Oreos and flour on toast didn’t really tickle my tastebuds. Thank god for Old Faithful. Its so plain but so packed with flavour and energy that I feel bad for overlooking it whenever there’s any other fruit around.

Lunch was at Tea Tree, an amazing vegetarian / vegan cafĂ© near our office. Its run by Erin, who’s only in her twenties, runs this place on her own and makes the best vegan cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. I go here all the time and highly recommend it to any Torontonians!

One thing that I’m always trying to eat more of is spinach. As meat contains a lot of iron, a poorly-balanced vegetarian diet can leave you with depleted iron reserves, and this can make you lethargic. I suspect it’s this that has give rise to the myth that all vegetarians are weak and have no energy.

Spinach is packed full of iron, calcium and fatty acids, and its also very versatile and cheap! Asparagus also contains protein and iron, making it a great choice for a veggie. To get the most out of these veggies they're best uncooked or very quickly cooked, so in this warming treat the spinach is fresh and the asparagus is quickly blanched.

You’ll need:
            1 cup brown rice
            1 large red onion, chopped roughly
            2 carrots, chopped
            1 green pepper, chopped
            A handful of small tomatoes, cut in half
            1 zuccini, chopped
            A big handful of spinach
            A handful of asparagus, chopped
            Olive / sunflower oil

            Preheat oven to 180˚c
            Lay the onion, carrots, pepper, tomatoes and zuccini on a baking tray
            Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with oregano. Make sure they’re fully covered
            Roast for 30-40 minutes
Cook the brown rice while they roast; I find that 1 cup of rice to 3 cups of water, simmering for 30 minutes works well
Drain the rice
When the veggies are roasted, toss them into the warm rice
Blanche the asparagus: put it into boiling water for 2 mins, then rinse under cold water and add to the salad
Rip up the spinach and throw it into the warm salad

I also drizzled this with balsamic vinegar, because I am a total ho for balsamic vinegar, and if there was any feta cheese lying around, I would have liberally (lies) added that too.

Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a refreshing lunch the next day.

Please note: if you’ve recently turned vegetarian, you’ll have noticed that you’re somewhat more gassy these days. That’s because of your fantastic digestive system. This dish will only “improve” that situation, so expect a fairly strong southerly wind.


  1. Made and enjoyed! Thank very much. My first dish using asparagus too. No balsamic here but might chuck some over the leftovers tomorrow.

    Just waiting for my avocados to ripen so I can try the smoothie.

    P.S. My south wind needs not any assistance.

  2. I hear apple cider vinegar is also a great choice.

    Also try coconut milk instead of soy milk in the smoothie :)

    We have all felt the wrath of the Aquapup!