August 24, 2012

Brown Rice - Vegetable Bowl with Tahini Dressing

We start the 4th and last week of Blogging marathon for this month today. My theme for this week is "Calcium Rich Foods". Here's some information to know about Calcium intake.

Calcium is the most vital mineral for strong bones. It is also essential for blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve function. If we don't take in enough calcium, our body uses the calcium reserves in our bones to supply the muscles, heart and nerves. So it's important that we take the required daily dosage of calcium -- milk and other dairy provide over 50% of dietary calcium, it is also found in beans and legumes, some green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, and nuts and fruit.

Vitamin D is vital for proper absorption of calcium and produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. About 15-20 minutes of sunlight a day on the face and arms during the summer months enables the body to store enough vitamin D to last the rest of the year. 

High intake of protein and sodium (salt) increases the excretion of calcium in the urine. Also high intakes of caffeine can reduce the absorption of calcium. 

Today's dish is inspired from one of my favorite frozen entrees, Amy's Brown Rice & Vegetable Bowl. I usually keep some frozen entrees in the freezer for days when I'm too busy to pack lunch, I have a healthier alternate than buying fast food. Amy's is one our family favorite since they all of their products and vegetarian and a lot of them are Vegan as well. Another thing I like about Amy's is the quantity of food in the package actually makes you full (unlike some other brand frozen entrees) and the sodium content is not sky high.

So to make the dish calcium rich (data from here) -- I used spinach (1 cup - 240mg), broccoli (1 cup - 180mg), tofu (4oz - 250 to 750mg)** brown rice (raw 1 cup - 50mg), tahini (2tbsp - 130mg), Almond Butter (2tbsp, 8%DV).

Ingredients:
Brown Rice - 1cup
Red Onion - 1 large, thinly sliced
Yellow onion - 1 small, chopped
Baked Tofu - 1 cup diced (I used oriental style baked tofu)
Broccoli - 1 cup, cut into florets
Mushrooms - 1 cup, sliced (optional)
Spinach - 2 cups, chopped
Carrot - 1 small, chopped
Salt and Pepper - to taste

For Tahini Dressing:
Tahini (Sesame paste) - ¼cup
Almond Butter - 2tbsp
Soy sauce - 2tbsp
Rice vinegar - 2tbsp
Sriracha chili sauce - 1-2tbsp (or as per taste)
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely minced
Salt and pepper - to taste

Method:
  • Make Rice: I usually wash brown rice and soak it for about 8-10 hours (I soak it before I leave to work and cook when I get back). Heat 1tsp oil in a saucepan, add the yellow onion and carrots and saute until veggies are tender. Next add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Add the drained rice and saute for couple of minutes. Add 2 cups of water, salt and pepper; bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Set aside while you make the other components.
  • Prepare Veggies: Heat 2tsp oil in a saute pan; add red onions and saute on medium flame until browned and slightly caramelized around the edges. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan.
  • Clean the pan with a paper towel, add 1tsp more oil, add broccoli and mushrooms (if using) and cook until tender and slightly browned around the edges. Add diced tofu and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients listed under the dressing until smooth. Taste and adjust accordingly. Add a splash of water if the dressing is too thick.
  • Assemble: Take ½cup of rice in a serving bowl, mix in 1tbsp dressing; top with the onions, broccoli (and mushrooms) and tofu. Drizzle another tbsp of dressing over everything and ENJOY!!
* Calcium content in Tofu varies depending on what coagulant was used during manufacturing. Using Calcium sulfate makes a tofu that is rich in Calcium.
Let's check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 19.

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12 comments:

  1. i liked the idea of taahini dressing for this combination of rice

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  2. Very healthy and very vegan.. I love the combo of tahini and brown rice!!!

    http://nivedhanams.blogspot.in/

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  3. wow!..that looks fantastic!..lovely bowl of packed health!!

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  4. Omg, wat else we need, such a super filling and healthy dish.

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  5. it looks so nice, bookmarking this.

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  6. Wonderful bowl of healthy stuff!

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  7. Thanks for doing this! I love this frozen meal to grab when I'm short on time or have no leftovers to take for lunch. While eating it, I think that I should make it homemade-that it can't be hard.
    How many servings does your reipce make?
    Thank you!!

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    Replies
    1. This recipe makes about 2~3 servings.

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  8. so excited about trying this, love Amy's frozen entrees, so much healthier than lean cuisine and the like . question about process (from a novice cook ) why cook carrots and yellow onion first, then brocc and other veggies later? I know carrots take longer, but couldn't you just start them first?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mama, sure you can start with onions and carrots. I didn't want to overcook broccoli and get mushy which tends to happen when I cook them all together. But feel free to cook everything together. Hope you like it.

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  9. just had the Amy's version. Love it ! this looks easy enough, but I do have a process question. Why are the yellow onions, carrots, spinach cooked separately from other veggies with the rice?

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