Saturday morning Klint and I drove down the street to a local farmer’s market. We pulled into a large parking lot. As we got out of the car I looked down the narrow lane lined snugly with fresh picked produce stands and was enthralled. All the people, all the colorful produce, the smell of sweet basil, this is my love language.
We first took a stroll down the path to survey and take it all in. Leisurely we turned and went back down the path to purchase and filled our bag with juicy organic peaches, plums, Fuji apples (which the vendor called, “Oh my gosh apples”) and sun dried tomato & garlic hummus. My husband’s eyes and nose were then drawn to a food stand that featured Mexican corn bowls. Anything with cumin, cilantro and avocado will draw him in quicker than ESPN.
As he read the description of the dish I started thinking of ways to create our own that night. So, we occupied the remaining room in our bag with eggplant, asparagus, avocados, zucchini and a huge bouquet of fragrant green basil. I knew I had some brown basmati rice and vegetable broth at home, so this whole dinner was inspired and created by our morning outing.
Yes, it’s vegetarian but so, so filling with the variety of roasted vegetables and rice. I used brown Basmati rice which is a short grain, heartier looking rice. Cooking the rice in broth infuses more flavor than water. I topped ours with the creamy sun dried tomato & garlic hummus we picked up from a Mediterranean stand, it was silky smooth like butter, yum. The fresh basil and avocado add depth of flavor and texture. We also sliced up a couple white nectarines on the side and dinner was served.
Make as a main, or side dish. Easily prepare rice and roast vegetables ahead, refrigerate and reheat before serving. Hands down one of my favorite meals I’ve made this summer. Klint agreed and no meat was added. I guess husbands can change.
FARMER’S MARKET VEGGIE BOWL with FRESH BASIL
gluten & dairy free
serves 4 (as main dish)
• 1 cup BASMATI BROWN RICE, (or regular brown rice)
• 2 cups VEGETABLE BROTH, LOW SODIUM*
• 1 small EGGPLANT, chopped
• 1 medium ZUCCHINI, sliced
• 1 medium SUMMER SQUASH, sliced
• 1 lb ASPARAGUS, ends trimmed
• 10 BABY CARROTS, halved lengthwise
• 1 large GREEN BELL PEPPER, sliced
• 1 1/2 cup CORN, FRESH or FROZEN, thawed
• 6 cloves GARLIC, peeled
• 1 1/2 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• 10 CHERRY TOMATOES, halved
• 1/2 cup SUN DRIED TOMATO HUMMUS, (or other flavor)*
• 1/3 cup BASIL, chiffonade or torn
• 2 tbsp BALSAMIC VINEGAR (optional)
• 1 AVOCADO, sliced or chopped
• 1/2 LEMON, juiced
*Gluten free option: Use GF vegetable broth and hummus.
1. Combine vegetable broth and brown rice in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cover and cook rice according to package directions, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is softened. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray two large rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Place chopped vegetables (except corn and tomatoes) and whole garlic cloves on prepared pans. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper; toss with hands to coat well. Roast in oven 10 minutes, remove carrots, asparagus and garlic if crisp-tender or golden brown. Flip remaining vegetables and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until starting to brown (add corn the last 5 minutes of cooking time).
3. Chop or slice roasted garlic and sprinkle on vegetables. Slice or chop avocado and drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Divide warm rice equally into 4 bowls. Top with fresh basil, 1/4 of the garlic vegetables, more fresh basil, cherry tomato halves, 1/4 of the avocado, 2 T. hummus and 1/2 T. drizzle of balsamic vinegar, if desired, and extra salt and pepper if needed. Serves 4. I also topped mine with crushed red pepper for a little kick.
VARIATIONS: Add any vegetable you like (broccoli, peas, fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, etc) Top with grilled chicken, shrimp or lean steak for added protein.
NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 520 calories, 18g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 84g carb, 17g fiber, 15g sugar, 16g protein.