Lately, I’ve been on a kick with oven-roasting. It’s a great, unfussy way to prepare dinner — after you chop up some vegetables and toss them with your seasoning of choice, they cook without any extra attention. Not only is it easy, roasting also imparts a concentrated sweetness that you can’t get from other cooking methods. As the dry heat intensifies the flavors of the vegetables, they become velvety-soft and thoroughly imbued with whatever you’ve chosen to season them with.
This week’s recipe is a vegan and gluten-free combo of eggplant, bell pepper, and mushrooms marinated with a sesame soy vinaigrette. And just like the ratatouille I posted last week, this recipe is of the set-it-and-forget-it variety. The roasting vegetables and brown basmati rice cook in tandem, so everything is ready at the same time.
To add a pop of freshness and crunch to the dish, I topped the rice bowls with a garnish of sliced raw cucumbers and yasai fumi furikake, a Japanese seasoning of seaweed, sesame seeds, and dehydrated vegetables. Furikake comes in many varieties, from a plain sesame/seaweed variety to those including dried salmon, egg, and shiso. You can find it at most Japanese grocery stores, and online.
Brown Basmati Rice Bowls with Roasted Sesame Ginger Vegetables (printer-friendly version)
1 medium eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces
3 medium red bell peppers, cut into bite-size pieces
8 oz. assorted mushrooms (hon-shimeji, nameko, piopini)
1/2 C. sesame soy vinaigrette
1 1/2 C. brown basmati rice
2 2/3 C. water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced thinly
1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Spread out the eggplant, bell peppers, and mushrooms on the lined baking sheet, then pour the vinaigrette evenly over the vegetables. Bake for 45 minutes.
3. While the vegetables are in the oven, prepare the brown rice. In a small (1 1/2-quart) saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice, water, olive oil, and salt. Bring up to a boil, turn down to low, and let simmer for 35 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand another 10 minutes.
4. Spoon the rice into your serving bowls, then top with the roasted vegetables. Garnish with sliced cucumbers and furikake.