I blinked, and just like that, it’s December and the holidays are in full swing. My family packs a ton of holidays into these five weeks. Thanksgiving gives way to Hanukkah, which leads into Christmas, which yields to New Year’s Eve. Each of those holidays seems to revolve around delicious but rich food, be it gravy, latkes, or endless amounts of cookies. (I myself have baked four dozen cookies just in the last two days.)
As much as I love all this holiday food, it’s nice to sneak in some healthier options for everyday meals. These brown rice bowls have quickly become a favorite in my household. Even though they feature simple brown rice (duh) and roasted vegetables, they are totally crave-worthy. The nutty, chewy rice contrasts with a zingy vinaigrette, and soft roasted carrots are complemented by shatteringly crisp kale. Adding a fried egg on top takes it to the next level, as the runny yolk becomes a lovely, rich sauce all on its own. Are you hungry yet?
The only tricky part of this recipe might be tracking down the za’atar, which is a tangy Middle Eastern spice mixture of sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and dried herbs. You can find it at Penzeys or other spice stores. I promise it’s worth it, but if you really can’t find za’atar (or really can’t stand the idea of one more shopping trip) the carrots should be fine with just a sprinkle of dried thyme instead. Enjoy!
Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into pieces about three inches long by 1/2-inch thick
- about 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp. za’atar
- 8 ounces kale, stemmed and sliced into 1-inch thick strips
- 2 Tbs. red or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 small shallot, minced
- 4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 375° F with the racks in the upper- and middle-thirds of the oven. Combine boiling water, brown rice, and 3/4 tsp. salt in an 8-inch square baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake on the lower rack until rice is tender, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and let stand for five minutes, covered with a dish towel.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. On the baking sheet, toss carrots, 1 Tbs. olive oil, za’atar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Spread carrots out evenly on the sheet and cover tightly with another piece of foil. Bake on the upper oven rack for 20 minutes.
While carrots are roasting, toss kale with 1 Tbs. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper in a bowl. When the carrots have finished roasting for 20 minutes, remove the foil and spread the kale evenly on top of the carrots. Return the baking sheet to the oven, uncovered, and roast the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until the kale is crispy.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, shallot, and 3 Tbs. oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Evenly divide the rice into four bowls. Top the rice with roasted vegetables and drizzle each portion with a tablespoon or so of the vinaigrette. Cover the bowls to keep them warm while you fry the eggs.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully slide the eggs into the skillet, cover, and cook until your desired doneness is reached, about 2-4 minutes. Top each rice bowl with a fried egg, and serve.
Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”