Culinary creativity always shines brightest when the refrigerator is down to its last few offerings. When I'm trying to dream up a dinner and the options are limited I have a rule of thumb that I follow: Find a grain. Find a vegetable (or several). Make them taste amazing.
Mostly my goal at that point is to use up the last bit of whatever we have remaining for the week before it goes bad. As much as I enjoy feeding the compost, I absolutely hate to waste even more. That's when you have to put on your thinking cap. Sometimes I get on Pinterest and browse around for "<insert vegetable name> recipe" and get some good ideas to start from. Other nights, like last night, I wing it. I get a craving, and run with it. Following the trail of memories in my mind that knows A goes great with B if you sauté with C. Sweet potatoes were my starting point. Then a shallot. Then a small head of broccoli. Then two carrots. There's the vegetables. It had been awhile since we had long-grain brown rice, and something about the thought of the two was too perfect to pass up.
I love sweet potatoes and sage. That combination is some kind of divine pairing if I could ever think of one. That combination would dictate the structure of this dish.
Rice and vegetables, while very good for you, can tend to be a bit boring if you don't plan carefully. So how might I elevate this strange combination into something scrummy? With a sauce, of course. Making a tasty vegan sauce is always a bit tricky. The easiest, and quite tasty, way I have found to make a sauce is by using coconut milk and a bit of vegetable broth. Season as desired and add a thickener at the end. Most people would use cornstarch, which works quite well. Occasionally, however, you end up with a strange flavor that the cornstarch leaves behind. Arrowroot is a wonderful substitution that works just as well, if not better. Arrowroot is inexpensive and quite easy to find. Most grocery stores with a 'natural' section (how odd we have 'natural' sections in our stores. Shouldn't all of our food be natural? Ah!) should have it. It's a pantry staple that comes in handy when you least expect it. For this sauce, I wanted a honey and sage flavor, to help elevate the sweet potato without overpowering it.
This dish is simple and doesn't take long to make. Sauté the vegetables while the rice cooks. Start the sauce and let simmer. When all are cooking, shell the pistachios. To plate, start with the rice, top with the vegetables, cover in the sauce and finish with pistachios. Ah, delicious!
Pistachio Roasted Vegetables with Brown Rice and Creamy Sage Sauce
- 1 Sweet potato
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Small head of broccoli
- 1 Shallot
- 1 Cup of long-grain brown rice
- 1-2 T Premium Olive Oil
For the sauce
- 1 can of Organic coconut milk, full-fat
- 1/4 cup Organic vegetable broth, low sodium
- 1 T Rubbed sage
- 1 T Wildflower honey
- 1T Nutritional Yeast
- 1 T Arrowroot
- Dice vegetables into small, even pieces. Place into cast iron wok or pan and sauté in olive oil over medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook long-grain brown rice. 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water. Combine both, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover until water is absorbed and rice is moist.
- In a saucepan, add coconut milk, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, honey, and sage. Cook over medium heat until simmering.
- While everything is cooking, shell your pistachios. Around 1/4 cup is plenty.
- Just before vegetables are done cooking, ladle a spoonful of your sauce over the vegetables.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 T Arrowroot with 1 T cold water. Mix thoroughly. Water must be cold or you will end up with globs of powder. Add mixture into sauce and whisk. Continue simmering for a moment or two and then let thicken. Add more Arrowroot mixture until desired thickness is achieved.
- To serve: Plate your rice, top with vegetables, spoon sauce over top, and finish with Pistachios.