Everyday Energizing Rice Bowl

Welcome to PlantKind recipes!

We’ve been giving you hints as to what to include in your diet, now we want to help you create delicious meals.

Last week Kyle of PlantKind presented a full dinner menu for the Live The Smart Way guest-chef cooking class series. It went fantastically and guests learned several new and easy recipes to create a versatile dinner, appetizer and dessert for anything from a date night to a family meal or work lunches. (Look for more details on those recipes to follow!)

This was our kick off to the start of presenting our followers and clients with healthy and easy recipes to simplify vegan or veg-curious living.

As a lead up to our PlantKind recipes ebook, we will post wonderful, easy recipes to our blog to give you a taste of what you can expect in the ebook and our future seminars on nutrition and also to simply inspire you to eat more plant based, make a transition to veganism, switch up your current routine and add more quality fuel for athletic or life pursuits.

So here is a fun recipe that many of my friends and family have asked for.

The Energizing Rice Bowl is loaded with healthy carbohydrates found in the rice and sweet potatoes, a generous amount of protein (without even trying!) in the veggies and if you choose to add tofu or tempeh as well as a dash of healthy fat in add ons such as the whole raw cashews in the dressing or in avocados and chia you may add. There are absolutely no added oils. It is full of natural colour and variety and therefore full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. It can be 100% whole grain if you use brown rice and it can be 100% gluten free if you choose wheat/gluten free tamari and use rice and potatoes as your base. PlantKind’s recipes are always 100% vegan (dairy free, egg free, meat free, animal byproduct free).

The Everyday Energizing Rice Bowl

11954824_10100106863010518_6074086719863003702_n

We made this delicious meal and brought it to Pink Lake in Gatineau Park. Dinner and a hike!

Yielded Servings: as many as you need. No instructions for amounts of base or veggies so that you can decide for yourself based on a big family, wanting to prep work lunches or simply have a big appetite! *for each person however, you want approximately 1-2 cups cooked rice, 1-3 grilled toppings and a generous helping of veggies. The dressing serves apron 4 people.

Prep time: approx 10 mins (chopping, cutting)

Cooking time: rice approx 45 mins, potatoes approx 45-1hr, grilled items approx 20 mins

Overall time: approx 1 hour

Ingredients

-starch base of your choice (since this is a rice bowl, I used brown short grain rice but you could use basmati, baked potato, soba noodles or rice noodles)

-greens of choice (I loved steamed kale so I used it for this recipe)

-chopped fresh veggies (and fruits!) of choice. I used green onion, purple cabbage and romaine lettuce (more green power).

-sprouted bean or seeds of choice. I love sunflower sprouts (used in this recipe) but alfalfa, sprouted daikon, bean sprouts etc work too. Perhaps you even sprout your own?

-grilled item of choice (tofu or tempeh for added protein, sweet potato for extra carb hit). I used a sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato for each bowl you are making).

-dressing ingredients: 1 cup whole raw cashews, 3 tsbps tamari, 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, 3 tsbps maple syrup, 1tsp miso paste, 1tsp Dijon mustard

(you can even simplify that to a 1:1:1 ratio of tamari : Dijon : maple syrup !) or you can just spray Bragg’s sauce directly on and drizzle Sriracha overtop of you bowl. I will post more dressings soon so you have lots of choice.

-add topping such as: cayenne, pepper, Mrs. Dash, nutritional yeast, broken kale chip crumbs (that you didn’t know what to do with), black sesame seeds, chia etc!

11885225_10100106862885768_7954388258172860501_n

Add fresh ingredients of your choice. It’s better to pick what you love than to follow the recipe to a T. Experiment with greens like kale, collard, swiss chard and veggies like peppers, edamame, tomatoes and avocados and sprouts and toppings like alfalfa, sauerkraut, fresh herbs like dill and mint and even seasonal veggies like roasted cut squash.

Instructions 

-cook your base (rice in rice cooker or on stove top by package direction) or noodles as per package direction or potatoes with fork holes in overn for approx 45 mins at 375-425 F depending on your oven. (They’re done when you can easily slide a pairing knife through). You may want to start with this step as the rice or potatoes need time to cook.

-chopped your desired veggies (in this case dice the green onions, shred purple cabbage and cut up romaine).

11986934_10100106862900738_2194954105487177535_n

-break greens up (for kale break by hand off the stem) and steam in a bamboo steamer for 5-10 mins (to desired texture).

-put all dressing ingredients in high powered blender and blend with added water (pour in very small quantities at a time to desired thickness). Add more tamari for savoury or more maple for sweet as desired to suit taste.

Store extra dressing in a mason jar or cleaned out recycled bottle (example: maple syrup bottle, mini vodka bottle etc). measure out desired amount for your bowl. (I used shot glasses which gave the perfect amount for a base of about 2 cooked cups of brown rice).

11953528_10100106862890758_2015998467157998850_o

-Slice Tempeh or tofu into thin wedges/slice sweet potato length or width wise into simmilarly thin wedges (a few cm thick). Using a BBQ or foreman style indoor grill, dry grill (no oil) your desired item and add a spray of tamari or Bragg’s spray as a marinade. You can add a spice blend such as a BBQ blend or simply cayenne and black pepper if desired. Wait a few minutes per side and wiggle with tongs to unstick if a little stuck before turning. (no oil means a little more babysitting. Hint: tempeh sticks less than tofu or sweet potatoes so you may want to try it until you are used to the technique). You will start to see grill lines on each side (about 5 mins per side and repeat twice or to desired amount) to tell they are done.

Arrange your bowl in a large pho-style Asian bowl, wooden bowl or in a glass Tupperware if transporting. Add your desired toppings.

Enjoy!

Try some variations and post #PlantKind on Instagram for a regram. Here are a few of mine.

11951353_10100106880635198_2914475718607272244_n

Grilled lemon pepper tofu steaks with sunflower sprouts and stir fried veggies on jasmine rice on the beach.

12006420_10100106880630208_3582122983584626460_o

Grilled tamari tempeh with shredded carrot, avocado and kale chips on brown rice at home

11032065_10100106862895748_6110769547976225606_o

The finished product of the recipe above! Grilled sweet potato with steamed kale, shredded romaine, purple cabbage, green onion and sunflower sprouts with dijon-maple-miso dressing.

Hope you enjoy!

Jane

What a Great Holiday Can Do For Your Spirit: Finding True Life in Costa Rica

My husband and I decided to escape the cold to beautiful Costa Rica this February. What we discovered there was an irreplaceable experience.

I am definitely someone who, you could say, enjoys the small things. I have often said: “give me sun, a coffee, a park bench and some great conversation and that’s all I need”. It’s true! I love my own city so much and get so happy running through the arboretum, smeling the magnolias every May and sitting by the peonies in the ornamental garden in June. I love watching the scenery in the Byward market or relaxing with a vegan dinner picnic on one of Ottawa’s beaches. I have a husband, family and friends I love and a career I truly enjoy. I am not looking to “escape” my circumstances.

3
This baby howler monkey is living the best life
8
Dusk at playa Hermosa.

Winter brings such a different set of challenges. There’s only so long I can hibernate. It’s a time of year for many of us where our resolve and motivation is waning. But maybe that’s just the moment you’re ready to get going again and find a little spark to run with. There is just something about what a different culture, landscape and life vibe can teach you about yourself and your life. Just getting out of your usual context helps you to see what matters and helps you to enjoy own life once you get back to it.

Costa Rica is a place for just this kind of inspiration. Five themes I can think of are: sanctuary, play, reflection, authenticity and beauty. And here’s why:

Sanctuary
We stayed just outside Montezuma, in an absolutely beautiful teak cabin at a micro-eco resort with a jungle backdrop and a breathtaking view of the pacific sunrise. It was surrounded with wildlife, lush smells of jungle flora and just a sensual feeling of connectedness with nature. Maybe that was the screen-only shower connecting us to the outdoors, almost totally private pool or the way the premises was built so that anywhere you looked, you could only see a maximum of one unnatural structure. Amazing.

1
Beautiful view from our front porch.
2
Simple pleasures.

It feels safe there for reasons more that just lack of crime. It’s as warm as an embrace and as easy to feel good as biting into some sweet fruit, which is the first thing we did when we got onto the road. Every morning my eyes opened to a view of the banana trees and Pacific Ocean feeling totally safe and just so “right”.

The resort is run by the sweetest family who embody Costa Rican life. A Tico-American couple with two children, who left the states for the pacific coast life for good. They were very professional, but I’m not sure if they realize the facility they run is in a class of its own because they were so humble. The pricing was totally affordable. They are so friendly, chill and honest. They were always available to give caring advice and gave us hugs at the end of your stay.

11
Our little jungle bungalow cabin at Agua Vista Montezuma.

Play
I love all vacations. I only really require that the destination is not too cold. However, Costa Rica is in a league of its own for the way it gets you acting carefree. I was drawn right into the sparkling waves on the Montezuma beach, found myself laughing out loud when a crew of monkeys came to cause mischief on our cabin’s porch and had the most childlike smile on my face after I tried surfing in Mal Pais’ famous beach, playa Carmen – even though it kicked my butt.

We marvelled at the tiny creatures on the sand and in the trees. We laughed as we rode over the downright crazy off-road style roads which felt like a roller coaster. You just feel like a kid. I threw away my daily hair and makeup routine, stopped looking at the clock. I took my husband’s hands in mine and just goofed off.

9
Exploring the local food with a whole food plant based version of a Costa Rican Casado: rice, black beans, stir fried cabbage, red pepper, salad, avocado and plantains with hot sauce, spice and lime.
5
Santa Teresa is a haven for surfing and plant based wellness! Smoothies for days!

Reflection
Sometimes, my life may sound like a dream. But I have my dark days like anyone. I am pretty perfection-oriented and can be high strung. My regular life demands a high degree of accuracy, attention and focus. But we’re supposed to relax on vacation right? So why when I stared into the beautiful ocean did I become upset and remember my hang ups? Because I had a chance to! Costa Rica is so forgiving. You just feel nurtured with the beautiful restaurant food, fresh fruit stands and endless energy smoothies. You can just wind down, take it slow and work out the crap that has been bugging you.

As a special bonus, it helps you put in perspective what really matters: the simple things in life. We cooked and ate simple vegan meals such as the Tico signature meal, “Casado”, which is a rice and bean dish. We developed an in-tune sleep routine, rising with the sun and going to bed with the stars. We talked out our issues and reflected on ways we could improve habits at home and make life easier on ourselves. These all help to bring you closer to your partner.

6
A new favourite of ours recommended by Pam ! Grenadilla fruit.
7
Capturing dear memories.

Authenticity
I can say, without a doubt, that all our experiences were real and honest. One of the Costa Rica tourist slogans was, “Costa Rica: no artificial ingredients”. I found that to be completely true. We did some really holistic yoga at both Montezuma Yoga and Ylang Ylang beach resort that incorporated breathing, meditation and advanced poses. It actually made me fall in love with yoga again and practice some poses I hadn’t done in a long time. The emotions we felt were real too. Watching and hearing the waves over the beach made me a sense of release. I felt at peace in mind and body, which is not always easy for me.

We discovered an island graveyard and saw the sweet way Costa Ricans bury the people they love with tiled tombs, bright flowers and decorated with shells.  The waiting staff at the restaurants we visited were professional, accommodating to vegans and just so cute. The locals were honest with us and made me a specially ordered quartz necklace with my choice of stones at a stand in Montezuma.

The folks at the surf shop we went to made our experience so fun and shared their stories of how they landed full time in Costa Rica. Our surf instructor was a cool young gentleman originally from Ontario with a life changing story of his own.

10
We returned from vacation HEALTHIER and fitter than when we left!

Beauty
Beauty is everywhere. I find it in anything from flowers, to fashion, to gestures from the patients I care for. It is right in front of us daily and there is no lack of it in Costa Rica. Who can deny that the sunsets on playa Hermosa live up to their name? What about the colourful and amazing flowers, palms, vines and animals from bats to – my favourite – hummingbirds? You can see every constellation so clearly and we even took a picture of the moon showing its craters.

There is beauty in the rhythm there. The natural feeling of health and goodness from the fresh air and sun. The sincere smiles of the locals and tourists alike. The relaxed pace of the towns and the sweat running down your face after an incredibly hard run up the hills from town to where we stayed.

I can’t name a single person I know who would not like Costa Rica. It really doesn’t matter what you like to do, how fancy you usually prefer thing, or what your personal style is. It is a place for everyone and a real gem of a country. Costa Rica is proud of some things that are profound – their wildlife, their eco-friendly ways, their peaceful presence (no army!) and their laid-back and forgiving attitude as evident in their addictive saying: pura vida.

Pure life, that’s what I experienced in Costa Rica.

I hope you get the chance to see it!