This is one of my all time favourite vegetarian recipes. It was a staple meal at the home of a dear friend of mine whose family are all vegetarians. I would go over to her house after school often, and I would linger until I was invited to dinner. Her parents were absolutely brilliant at making protein packed vege meals for growing teenagers. The smell of a good balsamic dressing always makes me think of their sun-filled dining area, with the enormous dining table covered in bowls of fruit, vases of flowers, newspapers, and gourmet dinners.
Recipe is as she wrote it. But I renamed it.
Grey Lynn Rice and Tofu Salad
2 cups brown rice
2 red onions
1 large kumara (sweet potato)
1/4 small pumpkin
1 bunch flat leaved parsley
1 cup torn mint leaves
1 cup almonds
6 broccoli florets chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups baby spinach or mixed green salad leaves
1 large carrot
1 large stick celery
1/2 block of firm tofu
1/4 cup seeds: sesame, pumpkin, sunflower etc
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Put rice in a pot and fill with water to 2 cm above the top of the rice. Put on a high heat with a lid on firmly until the water boils. Immediately reduce to the lowest heat and continue to cook for around 5 mins. Check to see if the water has evaporated away. If it hasn’t then keep cooking on the low temp, if it has then leave the lid on, turn the heat off and put the pot aside.
Meanwhile chop one and a half of the red onions, the kumara and the pumkin into large chunks. Make sure you take the dry skin off the onion, but don’t worry about removing the skin from the kumara or pumpkin. Toss with oil on a large oven tray and roast at 180 C for at least 20 mins, turning occaisionally, until they are all soft and caramelised on the outside.
Chop the tofu into cubes and fry for a few mins in oil and soy sauce at a medium heat.
Grate the carrot and chop the celery and parsley into small pieces. Steam the broccoli for around 2 mins (not longer) in boiling water. Chop the remaining half onion into very thin, small pieces.
Put the seeds and nuts in a clean frying pan over a low heat. As you heat them shake the pan gently and continuously to make sure they all toast evenly. Once they start to brown or make cracking/ popping noises they are ready. Chop the almonds roughly.
In a large salad bowl toss the rice, mint and tofu together then scatter over the spinach/ greens, carrot, celery, chopped onion, parsley, broccoli and roasted veges. Then top with the nuts and seeds and dress with all dressing ingredients shaken together then poured over the top.