Brown Rice Bowls with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Brown Rice Bowl.jpg

It's Thanksgiving season and yes, I realize that I'm a little out of step here because this is neither a novel new stuffing recipe nor the latest in sweet potatoes or brussels sprouts.  I have no pumpkin cheesecake for you either.  But what I do have for you is something for your dinner (or lunch) while you're planning the big meal.  Yes, there are still many dinners to cook and eat before November 23rd and I hope to make the case for getting this one on your table as soon as possible.

Brown Rice Bowl with Tahini Sauce.jpg

As you can see from the diagram above, our rice bowl is a well-rounded meal in a bowl that you can, of course, personalize however you like.  But this is how we roll here in the Circle B Kitchen. We start with short-grain brown rice because it may very well be my favorite rice of all time.  It's got a nutty, chewy texture that's sort of fun to eat. Lots of folks shy away from brown rice because it can take ages to cook and it can sometimes turn out hard or dry or generally sort of gross.  But I'm here to tell you that there's a quick and easy way to make it perfect every single time... just cook it like pasta.  It goes like this...

Place your brown rice in a medium-large saucepan, depending on how much you want to cook. Cover it with cold water by about 3 or 4 inches and dump in lots of salt.  Bring it to a boil and then once it's boiling, turn it down a bit to maintain a low boil and set your timer for 30 minutes.


 At 30 minutes your rice will be done perfectly, so then drain it, shaking it a bit to get rid of the excess water, return it to the pan and add a little butter or whatever, but it's ready to go.  I love my Instant Pot, I really do, but I have thus far been unsuccessful in creating perfect rice in it, so this remains my method of choice for brown rice

On top of the rice in our bowl we have chicken (shredded from a Costco roasted bird), sliced avocado, perfectly cooked (or canned, but oh please cook from dried) chickpeas, some feta cheese (a creamy, good one, please) and kale.  The kale is so good, but of course you can use any veg you like.  We like kale.  


The way I like to fix it is to pour just enough water to cover the bottom of your skillet and to that add a little chopped garlic and some olive oil.  Bring it to a simmer and add your chopped kale and a teaspoon or so of salt, stirring a few times to coat the greens with the water and olive oil. Let this simmer away, uncovered, and by the time the water has evaporated, the kale will be cooked perfectly and the garlic and olive oil will have permeated the kale and it will all be quite delicious and wonderful.  It really only takes about 5 minutes.

But I've saved the best part for last, and only you diehards who stuck around to read all of this verbiage are going to be rewarded with what has turned out to be one of my favorite discoveries in the kitchen for some time...Lemon Tahini Sauce.  You will want to drink this stuff.  I came across the recipe in one of my little Short Stack cookbooks, this one is all things Tahini...


... and on page 13, Ms. Sussman describes this sauce (dressing) in beautiful detail.  The way it comes together is a total revelation and so fun to make.  I didn't photograph the process, although I should have.  It starts with a cup of tahini in your food processor or blender (a stick blender will work too) and to this you add a little garlic and then turn on the machine and start drizzling in ice cold water.  At first your tahini will just turn into a thick sludge, but as you continue to add more water and process it, it slowly begins to morph into a gorgeously fluffy, creamy sauce to which you then add lemon juice and salt and blend a little more and then your joy will be such that you will want to pour it on everything.

Brown Rice bowl with Lemon Tahini Sauce.jpg

Which is just what I've been doing.  Here's the recipe...

Brown Rice Bowls with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Feel free to personalize your rice bowl and switch up the toppings to suit your whims.  Salmon or tofu would be delicious instead of the chicken, but you can easily leave out the meat, make it all veg or even top the whole thing with a fried egg.  Black beans, kidney beans or cannellini would work great instead of chickpeas and you could sub in some blue cheese or goat cheese for the feta.  Have fun, be creative, but don't skimp on the lemon tahini sauce!

Click here for a printable recipe

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
4 cups chopped, cooked kale (or broccoli or any favorite veg)
2 cups chickpeas
2-3 cups cooked chicken (or tofu or salmon)
1 avocado, sliced
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
chopped or sliced radishes, optional

Lemon Tahini Sauce
1 cup pure tahini paste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3//4 cup ice water, plus more if necessary
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

Place the rice in a medium-large saucepan and cover with water by about 4 inches and throw in about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer at a low boil for 30 minutes. Drain the rice, shake to remove the excess water and return to the pan to keep warm.

Meanwhile make the tahini lemon sauce... place the tahini and garlic in a food processor and turn the processor on.  With the processor running, add the water in a slow stream and process until the tahini is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Drizzle in the lemon juice, add the salt and process an additional 30 seconds.  Stop the processor, taste the tahini, and add additional salt and lemon juice to taste.

To assemble, place some rice in each bowl and top with some of the chicken, some chickpeas, kale, avocado and feta cheese.  Drizzle with the lemon tahini sauce and sprinkle with radishes, if desired.