This is an example of a vegan meal that is not only packed with vegetable nutrients, but also brimming with umami and lip-smacking flavor. The variations on this rice bowl are endless. Toss brown rice in a soy lime vinaigrette and top with your pick of crunchy vegetables, spicy greens, pickles or fresh herbs. Pea tendrils appear in springtime, but I recently found this beautiful bunch from a fall harvest at the farmers market. These stunning edible shoots and flowers have a distinctly green flavor, like a cross between peas and bok choy. Avocado and toasted sesame seeds on top add creaminess and crunch.
Brown Rice Salad with Pea Tendrils, Pickled Vegetables & Avocado
For the pickles
5 medium carrots
1 handful haricots verts
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tblsp kosher salt
1 tblsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp white or black peppercorns
For the rice bowl
2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
1/4 cup fresh peas
4 radishes, thinly sliced
3 pickled carrots, thinly sliced
1 handful pickled haricots verts, chopped
1 handful pea tendrils (or spinach) thoroughly washed and dried, coarsely chopped
2 tblsp thinly sliced scallion, pale green and white parts only
1 avocado, halved, pitted, sliced lengthwise
1 tblsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet until golden
zest of 1 lime
4 tblsp fresh lime juice
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
salt & fresh black pepper
4 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tblsp finely chopped cilantro
Make the pickles ahead of time (if using)
1. Prep the vegetables. Trim the haricot verts. Peel and trim the carrots, and cut them into sticks 5 inches long. Pack the veggies tightly into a 16 oz mason jar.
2. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, until it comes to a simmer. Carefully pour the hot brine over the veggies. Cover with the lid, and let the jar come to room temperature before putting the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Eat within 2 weeks.
Make the Salad
1. Blanch the peas in salted, boiling water for 90 seconds. Immediately drain and run under cool water, or shock in an ice water bath. Drain and dry the peas.
2. Make the vinaigrette: use a fork to combine the zest, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt and pepper in the bottom of a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream. Whisk in the cilantro. Reserve 2 tblsp of the dressing.
3. Toss the cooked brown rice and the peas with the vinaigrette. Divide between two bowls. Top with sliced scallion, chopped pea tendrils, chopped pickled carrots and haricots verts, and sliced radishes. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the greens. Garnish with sliced avocado and toasted sesame seeds.