Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas and Brown Rice

I cherished the end of daylight saving time. The extra hour of sleep was spectacular, but now I would do anything for just one more hour of light in the evening. It seems every year we collectively forget what winter feels like, and we are shocked when the weather turns, the temperature dips, and it’s dark by 4:30pm.

We’ve been quite fortunate on the west coast as it’s been unseasonably warm. Don’t get too jealous—we set a new rain record with 28 days of rain in October (insert crying emoji here) and are still waiting on the final results from November. But instead of dwelling on the dark and wet days, I’m here to introduce you to the idea of a winter salad. Yes, you heard that right; salads aren’t just for summer anymore. Picture winter vegetables roasted until golden and sweet, tossed with a bright lemon vinaigrette, fresh herbs, and crumbled feta. To make it a more substantial meal I added some leftover brown rice, a can of chickpeas, and of course, something green because everything you eat should be colourful.

I chose vegetables that would stand up well in the fridge without getting soggy. No one wants a soggy salad. You can swap out the sweet potatoes for winter squash or carrots, and I’m thinking the next time I make this I’ll add roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli instead of the kale.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas and Brown Rice
Serves 10
A delicious winter salad
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
311 calories
35 g
7 g
17 g
7 g
3 g
166 g
205 g
2 g
0 g
13 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
166g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 311
Calories from Fat 149
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
26%
Saturated Fat 3g
15%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 7mg
2%
Sodium 205mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 35g
12%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 2g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
41%
Vitamin C
66%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups uncooked brown rice
  2. 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  3. 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  4. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  5. 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
  6. 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  7. ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  8. ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  9. ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
  10. salt and pepper
Dressing
  1. juice of 2 medium lemons
  2. 1 clove garlic, minced
  3. ½ cup olive oil
  4. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook brown rice. I use a 1:2 ratio of rice to water and cook in a rice cooker. If in doubt, google “how to cook rice” ☺
  2. Preheat oven to 425F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  3. Chop cauliflower and sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Spread vegetables evenly on the 2 baking sheets and roast for 25–30 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  4. While the vegetables and rice are cooking, make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, minced garlic, and the olive oil in a small bowl or jar. Add salt and pepper to taste. The dressing should be bright and lemony.
  5. Once all the ingredients are cooked and slightly cooled, assemble the salad by mixing together the brown rice, dressing, chopped kale, drained chickpeas, chopped parsley and dill into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Next, add the roasted cauliflower, sweet potato, and crumbled feta. Taste and add more salt/pepper if necessary.
  6. Cover and refrigerate the salad for a few hours to let the flavors marry.
beta
calories
311
fat
17g
protein
7g
carbs
35g
more
BREAKING BLAND EATS http://breakingblandeats.com/
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Chicken & Veggie Rice Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Chicken Rice Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Happy first day of Spring!

We are currently cat-sitting two adorable, 4-month-old kittens; they are the cutest things I have ever seen. Even when they are getting into trouble they are cute.  Any time I step foot in the kitchen they are right behind me and often jumping up on the counter checking out what I’m doing, or trying to steal a piece of food.  We’ve discovered that they will try to eat ANYTHING.  I grew up with cats and they would sometimes eat people food, but not like these guys.  They’ve forced me to clean up as I cook and not be such a disaster in the kitchen, which my husband is loving because that means less clean up for him!
Kittens
I mean come on, look how cute they are! Ok, enough about the cats.
The other night I was staring into my fridge, looking for some dinner inspiration, but all I saw was a fridge full of produce staring back at me. As I started taking out different vegetables I noticed a jar of peanut butter and knew exactly what I wanted to make—peanut sauce! Well not just peanut sauce on its own, but a rice bowl where I could use a variety of vegetables and highlight this delicious peanut sauce.
Peanut Chicken Rice Bowls | Breaking Bland Eats

There are many versions of rice bowls or buddha bowls on the internet and they all revolve around the same principle: fill a bowl with hearty whole grains, add as many vegetables as you can fit, and top it all off with a yummy sauce.  Two things I love about this concept are, one, it revolves around vegetables and whole grains (win!) and, two, with a little bit of prep you can have lunches or meals for the whole week (double win!).  Here I used cooked chicken, roasted cauliflower, grated carrots, purple cabbage for colour and crunch, and quickly steamed greens, all topped off with this addictive peanut sauce.  It’s a wonderful mixture of textures and flavours and each mouthful is different than the last.

Spicy Peanut Sauce | Breaking Bland Eats

The cats are really loving the clicking of the keyboard as I type this and keep pouncing at my hands – I think they are telling me it’s time to quit blogging and play with them.  Enjoy!

Chicken & Veggie Rice Bowls with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
581 calories
57 g
157 g
23 g
41 g
5 g
537 g
339 g
9 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
537g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 581
Calories from Fat 199
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g
35%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Cholesterol 157mg
52%
Sodium 339mg
14%
Total Carbohydrates 57g
19%
Dietary Fiber 10g
39%
Sugars 9g
Protein 41g
Vitamin A
115%
Vitamin C
174%
Calcium
11%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Sauce
  1. ¼ cup natural peanut butter (no sugary stuff here)
  2. 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  5. 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I use sriracha)
  6. 1 teaspoon honey
  7. 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  8. juice of 1 lime
  9. 2 tablespoons water (or more to desired consistency)
Other Ingredients
  1. 2 medium carrots, grated
  2. 2 cups of sliced red cabbage
  3. 1 head of cauliflower
  4. 1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  5. 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  6. 3 cups of cooked brown rice (= 1 cup dried)
  7. Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish
Instructions
  1. Start with the brown rice as it takes the longest to cook. Use 2 cups of water for each cup of dried brown rice.
  2. Next roast the cauliflower – cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, coat with a small amount of vegetable oil, salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet at 425F for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is golden brown.
  3. Prepare the sauce – combine all the sauce ingredients in a small blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if the sauce seems too thick. If you don’t have a blender, you can make the sauce in the bowl—just be sure to grate the ginger and garlic, and mince the cilantro finely. Set aside.
  4. Cook the chicken – season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom with oil. Add the chicken thighs ensuring not to overcrowd the pan— you want the chicken to brown. If you don’t have a large enough pan you can do this in batches, or use two pans. Cook for 6 minutes on one side, then flip, and cook for another 6-8 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Steam the kale – add the kale and 1 tablespoon of water to a large pan, cook over high heat until the kale is bright green, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Now time to assemble – divide all the ingredients into 4 bowls, starting with the brown rice on the bottom. Top with all the vegetables and sliced cooked chicken, then pour over the peanut sauce and garnish with peanuts and/or cilantro. Enjoy!
beta
calories
581
fat
23g
protein
41g
carbs
57g
more
BREAKING BLAND EATS http://breakingblandeats.com/
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Black Bean Turkey Chili

Black Bean Turkey Chili {Breaking Bland Eats}

 

I’m dreaming of warm California weather today.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re on day number ‘I’ve lost count’ of clouds & rain while my friends to the East are getting the snow storm of a lifetime. Back in November, my husband and I spent an amazing week touring around southern California, which of course included a day at Disneyland. Walking around the park there were a lot of great food choices but I took note of all the people eating hot chili in what we would consider summer weather. Everyone else was bundled in warm jackets and pants while we were sweating in t-shirts and shorts! We may also have been sweating from the 30,000 steps we took while running around the park trying to avoid the line-ups, but either way our definition of cold is clearly very different.

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Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice Soup {Breaking Bland Eats}

I’m sitting here wearing my new fleece onesie (thanks hubby for the early xmas present), binge watching Netflix, with a box of kleenex at my side.  Yup,  I’m home sick today.  Luckily, I made this soup this past weekend while I still had energy.  Everything cooks together in one pot and blends the flavours of chicken stew with the earthiness of mushrooms and wild rice.  You can easily make this soup vegetarian by omitting the chicken, which I accidentally did once and only realized when I sat down to dinner and there was no chicken! It was still delicious.  I’ve also made this soup using cooked chicken or turkey, so a great recipe to keep on hand for using up leftovers post thanksgiving or christmas dinner.

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Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken with Warm Corn Salsa

Tequila Lime Chicken with Warm Corn Salsa

A few years ago, on our way back from Mexico, we decided to bring back a rather large bottle of tequila. I don’t know why we did this, maybe it was too much sun (or maybe too many drinks at the beach?), but at the time we thought it was a good idea. Fast forward 4 years and we still have a huge bottle of tequila sitting on our shelf.  In my attempt to slowly make our way through the bottle, without actually drinking it, I came up with this marinade for chicken.  It’s now my go-to whenever I need super flavourful chicken for a Mexican inspired meal.   It’s delicious on tacos, quesadillas, or as a topping for a nice salad.  I recommend getting the marinade started first, because you want to let the chicken soak up all the flavours for at least 30 minutes before you cook it.  While you are waiting, you can prep the rest of the ingredients for the warm corn salsa.

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Turkey Congee (Savoury Rice Porridge)

Turkey Congee

Sorry for the hiatus.
 
It’s been a busy past few months, including two wonderful weddings – one of which was my own!  I’m happy to be back in the kitchen and excited to use all of our new wedding gifts and matching cookware.  I feel like such a grown-up.
 
 My first introduction to congee was a few years ago at one of my husband’s bi-monthly family dinners.  A few times a year, Popo (grandma in Chinese) makes a huge vat of turkey Jook, another name for congee.   Congee is a popular Asian rice soup made by cooking rice in water or stock until it has broken down to a porridge consistency.  At first I have to say that I was not overly fond of its bland taste but saw the potential to spice it up. 
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Spot Prawn Linguine

Spot Prawn Linguine

Growing up I disliked 4 things: peppers, pineapple, pork, and prawns. Maybe I just had a thing against foods that started with ‘P’?? 

Up until a few years ago, I had only been exposed to those frozen prawn rings, you know the ones with the cocktail sauce? They seemed to make an appearance every Christmas and I just assumed that all prawns tasted like that.  Boy was I wrong.  Spot prawns are in a completely different league and are nothing like the watery prawns of my childhood. They have a wonderful firm texture and a delicate sweetness.  It’s safe to say that I have been converted.

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Thai Chicken Corn Chowder

Thai Chicken Corn Chowder | Breaking Bland EatsCold and flu season has hit our family pretty hard over the past few weeks, and they say nothing cures a cold like chicken soup, right? Well, this is my (somewhat loose) interpretation of a classic chicken soup mixed with one of my favourite dishes – red curry.  This sweet and spicy soup gives you a good dose of vegetables and is sure to help clear those sinuses! Red curry paste, frozen corn, and a tin of coconut milk make this a quick, one pot dinner. You know me, I’m always looking for ways to add more vegetables, so I used sweet potato and spinach in this soup, but you can play around with different vegetable combinations or even make it vegetarian by leaving out the chicken.

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Barley “Risotto” with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

Beet Barley Risotto {Breaking Bland Eats}

To help kick off the holiday season I thought I’d share this festively coloured beet “risotto”. This isn’t a traditional risotto, since it’s made with barley instead of arborio rice, but the result is a deliciously creamy dish with roasted beets and tangy goat cheese. The barley adds a wonderful nuttiness and it’s almost impossible to overcook, so no need to worry about a mushy risotto!

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