I have mentioned before that we are packing to move house. It is also the end of the school year, which means extra homework and projects for the parents, I mean, kids. Suffice it to say, my time is pretty limited these days. When our schedules get hectic, I like to take one night and make a BIG batch of rice and veggies that will not only act as dinner that night, but another night later in the week as well.
Two birds, one stone.
I hate that saying. It’s so violent. Anyone have another suggestion? Two carrots, one knife?
Anyway, a typical big batch style dinner for us is Rainbow Bowls. I’ll chop up, season, and roast a variety of brightly colored veggies all on one pan, put a big batch of rice on the stove, and if I’ve timed it correctly, it all finishes at the same time. 15 minutes of prep work for me and about 45 minutes of inactive cooking time; No babysitting dinner. I have things to do! If you are really lacking in the time department, take a little help from the store and grab a few packs of those (ridiculously expensive) pre-cut veggies and roast those while the rice is cooking. If you are REALLY on your A-game, you can use the veggies you’ve chopped on your meal prep day and you just cut your dinner prep time down to 5 minutes, my friend!
The veggies you use are totally up to your preferences. This is more of a “method” than a straight up recipe. Just try to get one vegetable from each color of the rainbow to keep it fun and interesting for the kids! Except blue. Are there blue vegetables?
I also like to whip up different sauces to top our Rainbow Bowls. Sometimes it’s as simple as store bought hummus thinned out with lemon juice, sometimes maple syrup mixed with grainy mustard, or sometimes it’s vegan Hemp Ranch Dressing. Tonight I went for a quick Coconut Yum Yum Sauce. It’s inspired by the mayo based Yum Yum sauce you get at Teppanyaki restaurants. It hits all the major flavor components (sweet, salty, spicy) and helps bring the dish together, domo arigatou gozaimasu.
Since time is of the essence, let’s get cooking!
- 3 cups uncooked brown rice
- Varied vegetables
- tonight I used:
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 small purple sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 ears worth of raw corn kernels, reserved
- 2 cups chard, shredded and reserved
- salt and pepper, to taste
- optional seasonings to taste: Italian herbs, all purpose seasoning, garlic and onion powder, etc. I used turmeric and black pepper on the cauliflower and just salt and pepper on the rest of the veggies.
- tonight I used:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place rice into a large pot on the stove and cover with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cover. Let cook for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- While the rice is coming to a boil, season all the chopped vegetables that you plan on baking as you wish. Place them on a parchment lined baking tray.
- Bake vegetables for about 25-30 minutes, until tender.
- Assemble the bowls by placing rice in the bottom of each bowl and topping with vegetables. Garnish with any reserved raw vegetables (in this case, corn and chard), and add a drizzle Coconut Yum Yum sauce. Serves about 8.
Coconut Yum Yum Sauce
- ½ cup canned coconut milk (full fat works best)
- 2 TBS ketchup (Annie’s brand is organic and oil free)
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp Sriracha (more to taste if you aren’t serving kids)
- Combine all ingredients in a jar or squeeze bottle. Stir well.
- Place in the fridge until dinner is ready. Shake or stir well before serving. Keeps for about 5 days in the fridge.
What is your family’s go-to “hands-off” dinner? Share in the comments below!
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