Temari Rabbit Bento Bowl #22

Vegan dirty rice (recipe below), Rainier cherries, and some little cookies.

Creole food isn't something I'm completely unfamiliar with--my mother made gumbo a lot when I was little--but I've not attempted cooking it myself, aside from the occasional guilty pleasure of a box of Zataran's. But that, not being vegan, is off the table now.

I didn't actually set out to make dirty rice, so much as to find a recipe I could make that used the stuff I already had on hand. I ended up modifying this one to suit my tastes, in part because my mind boggled at that much cayenne pepper. But it awesomely used the dregs of my refrigerator with some pantry staples, including celery leaves! Plus it seemed especially virtuous, given that it used brown rice. (I'm not always so virtuous.) So here you are. Because this was freezable (I put some away for later, as a kind of do-it-yourself TV dinner), this isn't my usual small yield; this will serve about 4-6.

Vegan Dirty Rice
Serves: 4-6

1 cup water
1 cup TVP
2 cups vegetable broth (I made mine from Better than Bouillon vegetable paste)
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano

Boil the 1 cup water, pour it over the TVP in bowl, mix, and set aside.

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the rice. Add rice to boiling broth, stir, and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cover and set a timer for 40 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add garlic and a bit of salt (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) and continue to cook for another five minutes.

Add peppers and spices and cook for 2 minutes more. Taste. Add salt or any other seasonings if needed. (At this point I added a pinch more cayenne pepper, because I was slightly braver than I thought I might be.)

Add reconstituted TVP and cooked vegetable mixture to the rice pot, stir in well, and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer until your timer lets you know 40 minutes have passed.

Turn off heat, but don't open the lid. Let sit for at least five minutes. When ready to serve, fluff with a fork and dish out.


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