A super easy and delicious way to eat your veggies…with a kick. I am sure Spicy Vegetables & Coconut Rice will be a family “veggie night” favorite in your home.
You Don’t Need to be a Vegetarian to Enjoy a Plant Centered Meal
This was my first attempt at being vegetarian…at least that is what I thought you had to be if you had a night where you only ate vegetables for dinner. Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan…those were all foreign concepts to me when I was starting my own home. I grew up in a family where meat was the center of the plate and the veggies were just the supporting cast. Now I am much more mature and experienced (ha ha). I have really enjoyed incorporating more vegetables into our diet and have even had whole nights with nothing but plants…cue the gasps. It is funny to me how we just naturally gravitate to how we were raised without asking questions… until you ask questions.
To be honest with you, learning how to make plant centered meals that were filling, delicious, and could stand alone for a family used to eating meat every night was a challenge. Sometimes it takes a while to renew an ingrained mindset or sadly, a devastating diagnosis to open your eyes to a life or death reason to change your diet. I preferred to not let my health dictate the choices we made in our family. We decided to change our lifestyle by eating more plants so that the life we did live would not only be long, but healthy and full…not controlled by sickness.
Learning to EnJOY the Diversity of Veggies
I grew up eating vegetables that we grew in the garden, so the idea of eating vegetables was not foreign to me. When I was newly married, I joined the Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm out in Blairstown, NJ and had my eyes opened to the joys of seasonal eating and a plethora of new vegetables I had to learn what to do with. Driving out to that farm every week to fill up my box was the highlight of the week, especially on the weeks when you could pick your own hardy kiwi, strawberries, or fresh flowers. There is nothing like connecting to your food source and meeting all kinds of new and wonderful people as you share recipes and creative ideas on what to do with new vegetables like kohlrabi or celeriac. I have come a long way on my vegetable journey.
Spicy Veggies & Coconut Rice Recipe
It makes me laugh that this recipe was so revolutionary to me as a new cook because it is so simple, but it was really my only vegetarian recipe I made. It is still a family favorite.
Prep time 20 min, cook time 32 minutes serves 8
2 (14oz cans) coconut milk
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
a pinch of saffron (optional)
2 cups white basmati or jasmine rice
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 T ghee or avocado oil
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 jalapeño chili chopped
3 cups bite sized cauliflower florets
2 cup sliced carrots
1 medium red bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
10 mushrooms (1 ½ cup) quartered
Zest and juice from 1 lime
Season with salt and pepper
Let’s Do This Thing:
- In a 4-qt saucepan combine water, coconut milk, cardamom, saffron, and salt. Cook over medium high heat until mixture comes to a boil (about 7 minutes). Reduce heat to low; stir in rice. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender (20 minutes). Remove from heat, still covered; let stand until all liquid is absorbed (5 minutes). Add shredded coconut and fluff with a fork.
- Add ghee or avocado oil in a cast iron skillet and melt until sizzling; add garlic and chili. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic is softened (about a minute). Add cauliflower, carrots, and red peppers and continue cooking until crispy tender (6 minutes). Add mushrooms, lime with zest, salt, and pepper and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Serve vegetables over coconut rice.
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