For reasons that will become clear in the near future but that I will currently explain simply as “an occupational hazard,” I had to bake eight batches of box-mix brownies yesterday. Technically, I didn’t eat any of the brownies I baked, unless you count the batter from each scraped bowl, and the crumbs under the cooling racks, and of course whatever chewy goodness stuck to the knife when I was cutting the 9-by-9-inch batches into smaller squares. So, uh, yeah, I didn’t feel like my best self when it was all over. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me here, nor do I expect anyone to find the situation normal in any way. (When I told Abby what my work required of me that morning, she said “That is not work, sorry, Mom.”) But surely everyone has those kind of days where you end up rolling into the kitchen at dinnertime craving nothing but vegetables and redemption? In my case, that redemption arrived in the form of black rice bowls topped with various roasted green things, something I’ve been craving every since first spying a version in the excellent new book Mostly Plants by the Pollan family. (David Tanis has his own take here.) Like most Buddha bowls, the rules are pretty loose — rice, veg, sauce, done — and everyone picks his or her own toppings. The avocado and the peanut sauce add a nice richness, but it’s cut by the gingery rice and the squeeze of fresh lime juice. Even if you haven’t chugged brownie batter all day, you’ll be nicely satisfied, I promise.
Black Rice Buddha Bowl
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 heaping tablespoon minced shallot
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/3 cup black rice (also called forbidden rice) or enough to make 4 cups, rinsed
1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups mushrooms, chopped (any kind, we use cremini)
1/4 cup olive oil (plus more as needed)
1 avocado, sliced
peanut dressing (storebought or below)
4 lime wedges
optional toppings: sesame seeds, chopped scallions, hot sauce, chopped peanuts
Heat oven to 425°F. Add coconut oil to a medium pot set over medium heat. Add shallots, ginger, and garlic and cook until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Add 1 1/2 cups of water (or follow package instructions) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes or until water has been absorbed and rice is tender-chewy.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms with oil until coated. Place on a foil-lined sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes until crispy. (If you like your asparagus less crispy, start checking after 10.)
Scoop a cup of rice into four separate bowls and top with roasted vegetables, avocado slices, and desired toppings. Drizzle with peanut dressing and squeeze lime over each bowl. Serve.
Peanut Dressing: In a small food processor, whirl together: 1 small garlic clove, one 1/2-inch piece fresh peeled ginger (or 1/4 tsp dried ginger in a pinch), 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 1/3 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, pinch brown sugar, hot sauce to taste (we do a dash or two).