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!
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.
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.
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!
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter (no sugary stuff here)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I use sriracha)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soya sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons water (or more to desired consistency)
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 cups of sliced red cabbage
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed, and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 cups of cooked brown rice (= 1 cup dried)
- Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish
- Start with the brown rice as it takes the longest to cook. Use 2 cups of water for each cup of dried brown rice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!