“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.” – Mitch Hedburg
There are two important factors to think about when I plan my meals for the week. Is each meal hitting the nutrient density that I need, and is it easy to make? Remember, you don’t need to be a world class chef in the kitchen. The majority of the meals that I am preparing for the week need to be as easy as possible. My meal on a Wednesday at 5 o’clock doesn’t need to be an event. I am eating because it is time to eat, not because I am looking for a pleasurable escape from reality. Emotional eating is what got us in trouble in the first place. Enter the rice bowl. It is a staple of my bulk cook day each week for how easy it is to prepare. Once the parts are prepped, it takes no more than 5 minutes to cook, and that’s even without the microwave.
It can be as easy as this basic template for a rice bowl:
There you have it. Throw it together. Heat it up. Eat. It can’t get any easier. I’ve got good news and bad news, though. Bad news is that this basic template is depressingly uninteresting and bland. I’ll do what I have to if it is time to eat, but if you practice your skills in the kitchen then there is no reason that we can’t make this into something crazy delicious without sacrificing that easy factor. Introducing my Ginger Miso Rice Bowl.
For the bowl:
1/2 – 1 Cup, Quinoa
1/2 – 1 Cup, Farro
1 Handful, Soy Glazed Chickpeas
1/2 Crown of Broccoli, Chopped
1 Small Handful Carrots, Sliced
1 Small Handful Mushrooms
1 Small Handful Spinach
A few Spoonfuls, Ginger Miso Sauce
For the Soy Glazed Chickpeas:
2 15oz Cans of Chickpeas
1/4 Cup, Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 tsp, Honey
For the Ginger Miso Sauce:
1 TBS, Miso Paste, Mellow White flavor
1 1/2 TBS Fresh Ginger, Grated
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, Ground
2 tsp, Braggs Liquid Aminos
4 tsp, Apple Cider Vinegar
4 tsp, Olive Oil
First step, get the grains started in your rice cooker. Don’t have a rice cooker? What are you doing with your life? Get it together! I eat a lot of quinoa and brown rice. A rice cooker is a must. Find one with either a brown rice setting or a whole grain setting. I often combine two grains together for this very important reason:
The amino acid profile in quinoa is high enough to be in the same range as animal meat. Simply adding another ancient grain will create a very complete and high quality protein.
Now, I am not a vegan, but adding a high quality protein from a plant source is a always a good idea. If the protein created in the grains wasn’t enough for you, remember that a grain and a legume also create a protein. So the beans you’ll be adding to the bowl also ramp up the protein content, making this rice bowl an amazing meal for those seeking to build serious muscle while maintaining a vegan lifestyle. Like I said, though, I am not a vegan, so if you told me you wanted to add chicken, pork, steak, or any other meat into your rice bowl, I would tell you that sounds delicious.
For this rice bowl I have chosen Farro as the additional grain to accompany my quinoa. Farro looks like brown rice, but bigger. Your local grocery store will have it, I promise, just ask. Bob’s Red Mill is the brand I usually use. Never put the two grains into the rice cooker together. It doesn’t work that way. On my bulk cook day I will typically prepare a month’s supply of grains and freeze them.
Put together the sauce next. Simply, COMBINE all sauce ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well. It should end up looking like this:
This amount of sauce is good for two servings of your rice bowl.
Next, prepare the soy glazed chickpeas.
In another mixing bowl, combine the Braggs Liquid Aminos and Honey. MIX well. What the hell is Braggs Liquid Aminos? It is a far healthier substitute for your Soy Sauce. Much lower in sodium and way better in flavor. I use this stuff for all kinds of things. It won’t win any awards for having a sexy, appetizing name, but this stuff is awesome.
DRAIN and RINSE the two cans of chickpeas. Now you are ready for the pan.
Le the pan get good and hot over HIGH heat. We want this stuff to sizzle real good. The sugar in the honey must caramelize in order to really bind the Liquid Aminos to the chickpeas. It’s a process that should happen fast, so get yourself prepared. I know what some of you vegans are saying though. I told you this was a great vegan dish and here I am using honey. Well, you can’t see it, but I’m doing some pretty epic eye rolling at you right now. However, if that is how you feel, then you can use agave nectar instead. Just realize that honey actually has some great health benefits that you are missing out on. Honey is my go to sweetener. **sniff**I love you, Honey.
Once the pan is hot, toss in the chickpeas. Again, they should SIZZLE as you put them in. Now POUR in the liquid STIRRING and TOSSING the chickpeas constantly until all the liquid has evaporated from the pan. Remove from the heat, and from the pan:
Use about a handful of these for your rice bowl and then save the rest in your fridge. These things are amazing. I use them on salads, I snack on them. **sniff** I love you, soy glazed chickpeas. I get really emotional about food.
We are now ready to build the rice bowl. In a pan, over MEDIUM-HIGH heat place your vegetables:
Keep the veggies separate. They each get a spot in the pan so that they can heat up properly. The goal here when cooking veggies is to bring the color to a much more vibrant shade. The broccoli will become an almost neon looking shade of green. Very bright. Very vibrant. Once the vegetables start to turn dull and dark, then they are being overcooked and you are destroying everything that is nutritious about them. It will only take a minute or two for the veggies to cook to this point. Once the veggies look like they are done cooking, pour a portion of the sauce on top and add the handful of chickpeas and start FOLDING all ingredients together. Remove from the heat and scoop into a serving bowl.
For me, the only thing left to do is fry up a single egg, over-easy, and stick it on top to let the yolk ooze out into rice.
In this rice bowl, we have a complete meal. Protein, Good Fats, Complex Carbs as well as Fibrous Carbs. If you were to prepare all these parts on your bulk cook day, then this bowl can be ready to eat in 5 minutes flat. Less if you use a microwave to heat it up. It probably won’t taste as good then, but remember that the taste is convenience. It is time to eat, so you eat. Worry about eating for taste and pleasure after you’ve earned a cheat meal at the end of the week.
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