Sushi-style Rice with Root Vegetables

Sushi rice is a type of rice that has a sticky quality when cooked, perfect for shaping into little cylinders as a base for fish or in rolls. It is also dressed with a lightly sweetened vinegar mixture. This recipe uses regular rice, either brown or white, along with the sweetened vinegar dressing. The rice is then topped with grated roots, and sesame seeds. You can also add any number of food items to this, such as cooked meat, tofu, avocado, and/or beans to make a main course dish. Good both ways.

1 c brown or white rice
salt, for cooking rice and for dressing
3 T rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or coconut water vinegar
1 T sugar or other sweetener
1 T peeled, minced fresh ginger
3 c or so (peeled) grated root vegetables: kohlrabi, turnips, carrots, winter squash, celeriac…
1 c chopped scallions, optional
2 T sesame seeds, toasted if you like
2 T soy sauce, plus extra for serving
dark or toasted sesame oil, for serving

1. Cook rice as per package instructions or by your own method.

2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, sugar, ginger, and salt in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves or other sweetener is incorporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. When rice is done, transfer to a large serving bowl. Toss the rice with a spatula or flat spoon. While you do this, sprinkle the rice with the vinegar dressing.

4. Now, you can divide the rice among serving plates and top with the grated root(s), scallions if using, sesame seeds, and soy sauce, or you can add these ingredients to the ‘sushied’ rice and then serve.

5. Drizzle individual portions with a bit of toasted sesame oil (a little goes a long way) and have extra soy sauce available.

Curried Lentil, Kohlrabi, Grain, and Greens Salad

This seems like a bit of work, and while it is a more involved recipe than I usually care to make, the results are quite impressive, not to mention delicious. It’s good for a gathering, or to take to a gathering. You can use any kind of lentil, just cook them so they still retain their shape. This applies especially for red lentils, which dissolve into a (delicious) mush quickly, so cook then until barely tender. Quickly prepared grains, such as couscous and bulgur lessen the work load, as do already-cooked grains–just bring the latter to room temperature before creating the dish.

1/2 c rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
4 1/2 t curry powder
2 garlic gloves, pressed
2/3 c sesame, safflower or other vegetable oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
5 – 6 c cooked lentils (from about 2 c dried)
3 c peeled, diced kohlrabi
3 c cooked grain
6 – 8 c chopped salad greens
1 c chopped scallions
fresh, chopped herb, for garnish, optional

1. Combine vinegar, curry powder, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

2. Put cooked, cooled lentils, kohlrabi, cooked grain, greens, and scallions in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour dressing over. Toss again. Taste for seasonings. Sprinkle with some fresh, chopped herb.

Bell Pepper and Quinoa Chili

A hearty Fall and Winter stew. It’s meatless, though the beans and quinoa combine for a potent protein hit. If you want to add some ground meat, add in after the onions, peppers, and spices and herbs have been sautéed and before the beans, cooking until the meat has lost it’s pinkness. Quinoa usually needs to be rinsed before cooking, though many companies are now rinsing it before packaging, obviating that step. You can use other grains here, just make sure you give them enough time to cook; or if using already cooked grain, add after the beans and tomatoes have simmered, just to heat through.

2 T vegetable oil or butter or a combination
2 c or so chopped (sweet) onion
2 1/2 c or so chopped bell peppers, stemmed, halved, seeded
4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T chili powder, or to taste
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano or basil or cilantro or other herb; or 1 – 2 T fresh, chopped herb
salt and pepper, to taste
4 c cooked (kidney) beans
4 c chopped (canned) tomatoes or tomatillos; undrained if canned
1 fresh hot pepper, stemmed, seeded, ribs removed if you like; or 1 – 2 canned chipotles in adobo
2 c vegetable stock or meat broth, or tomato juice, or bean stock, or water
3/4 c quinoa
cilantro, for serving
sour cream or yogurt, for serving
lime wedges, for serving, optional (stir in 2 T lime juice if not using wedges)
diced avocado, for serving, optional

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, herb, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, another minute or two.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes, hot pepper, and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about half an hour.

3. Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook over low heat until the quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Stir in lime juice, if using. Allow to stand, covered, for about 20 minutes. The chili will thicken. Or not. If you like serve it at once, with cilantro and sour cream, and avocados, too. If using lime wedges, squeeze the juice into the individual servings.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

A variation on Sicilian-style greens added to quinoa for a nourishing salad. Eat it warm or at room temperature. As with most of our greens and grains recipes, you can switch out the quinoa for another grain, as well as the kale. However, this particular combination of kale and quinoa is very good, and alliterative to boot. The kale is not quite cooked here, so if you like kale to be more cooked, stir it into the quinoa for the last five minutes of cooking. Quinoa often needs to be rinsed before cooking, as it has a bitter coating that makes it unpalatable. Some companies pre-rinse quinoa before packaging, so check the package instructions before cooking.

1 1/2 c quinoa
3 c water, broth, or stock (or follow package instructions)
3 c stemmed, chopped, then shredded kale
3 – 4 T pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, toasted if you like, chopped if necessary
3 – 4 T raisins or other dried fruit, chopped if necessary
2 T lemon juice
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, or other vegetable or nut oil
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste, optional
fresh chopped herb, for garnish

1. In a pot or large skillet that will be large enough to hold both the cooked quinoa, the kale, and the  remaining ingredients, prepare quinoa according to package instructions or your personal preference. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

2. Put the shredded kale on top of the fluffed grain, cover and let steam in the residual heat of the cooked grain for about 10 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste for seasonings. Garnish with fresh herb. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kale and Radish Salad with Tempeh and Sauerkraut

An interesting mix of flavors and textures here: pungent, spicy, earthy, salty, crunchy. If you don’t like tempeh you can use other forms of protein, from cooked meat to beans to cheese. You could even heat the protein as for the tempeh (though not cheese). If you want to include the radish greens as part or as all of the greens, go ahead.

1 package (8 oz) tempeh
1 piece (4″ or so) kombu, or other sea vegetable
2 t soy sauce
2 t peeled, finely sliced ginger root
water or vegetable stock as needed
1 T vegetable oil
4 c or so kale or other greens, stemmed if necessary and chopped
4 or 5 radishes, trimmed and sliced
1/3 c or so sauerkraut or kim chi
1 T pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds

1. Cut the tempeh into 4 pieces (or leave whole). Put in a skillet with the kombu, soy sauce, and ginger root. Pour in enough water or stock to cover the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the water has almost evaporated. Remove the kombu, or not, and add the 1 T of oil. Increase heat some and sauté the tempeh or a minute or so on each side. Remove from heat.

2. Meanwhile, steam kale for a few minutes, until just wilted. Remove, drain, and let cool.

3. Arrange the kale, radishes, and sauerkraut on a platter. Cut the tempeh into pieces and put on top. Sprinkle with seeds.

Quinoa and Vegetable Salad with Tahini Dressing

Grain salads are a versatile dish–they can be sides or mains depending on their ingredients. They’re great for any meal, and can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold. Leftovers can be turned into a hash or even used as a filling for lettuce or chard wraps. This recipe is a template, add some protein to make a main course, plus any other vegetables you have on hand. Peanut or other nut butter makes a good substitute for tahini. And of course, you can use other grains here, too.

1 c quinoa or other grain
4 c or so arugula or other salad green, rinsed, dried and coarsely chopped
2 medium beets, (peeled), coarsely grated
6 or so red radishes, thinly sliced
1/3 c tahini
1/2 c water or vegetable stock, plus extra if needed
2 T lemon juice
2 t grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 t ground ginger
1 t honey, agave syrup or other sweetener
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Prepare quinoa or other grain according to package instructions. If using quinoa, make sure to rinse thoroughly unless the package states that the quinoa has been pre-rinsed. Spread out on a large plate or baking sheet to cool, or if you a going to make a warm salad, let the cooked grain sit, covered, off heat.

2. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Combine tahini, water, ginger, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth, adding more liquid to make a pourable dressing, if needed.

3. Now, you can toss everything together in a large serving bowl or you can distribute the quinoa, arugula, beets, and radishes on a serving platter, separately or layered, ditto on individual plates, and drizzle the dressing over all.