Here is the recipe for my yummy Brown Rice and Tofu Salad!
Its packed with wholesome and all vegetarian ingredients, and with very little ingredients – you can create a beautiful meal!
You can totally change up the complex carb that you want to use, I have made this recipe using soba noodles and it turned out great! Also, adding the avocado on the side is just for additional healthy fats, however if you are not a fan or are avoiding fats – then simply omit this step at the end!
Brown Rice Tofu Salad
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup shelled edamame beans
1/2 red cabbage chipped
1/4 cup chopped coriander
6 stems broccolini, or 1 whole broccoli
1 avocado, enough sesame seeds to cover
1 packet firm tofu
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp Tamari (you can also use soy)
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
Cook brown rice according to packet instructions. Hint: if you are on a budget, use the brown rice cups you can buy in supermarkets – they are super cheap and the perfect portion size. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the tofu sauce. Chop tofu into small squares, and place in bowl. Stir gently (don’t break the tofu), and coat well. Leave to soak.
Prepare cabbage by chopping finely into thin strips. Finely chop coriander, and combine in a large mixing bowl with cabbage. Add cooked rice, and stir.
Prepare broccolini by chopping the stems into four chunks. Steam in a microwave or pot until just tender, this usually takes around 2-3 mins max. Hunt: if haying broccoli, chop the heads only and steam. Add to brown rice mixture.
To cook tofu, heat a pan on a medium heat with 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil. Add tofu, and cook, flipping consistently to reach a golden and crispy texture. Remove immediately after cooking.
Combine tofu with warm rice mixture, and add extra Tamari. Slice an avocado length ways, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Divide rice between plates, and add avocado! Enjoy!
I have recently been swamped with emails regarding ‘meal prep’ ideas for students living on a budget.
Naturally, these sort of recipe requests get me super excited. Though I am not someone who plans meals for the week ahead, the idea behind preparing your meals (especially at uni or work) is fantastic. Not only will it help your budget, but also prevents you from grabbing that ‘cheap’ or ‘fast’ option in the workplace.
While I’m on the topic… it’s also worth mentioning that these ‘fast’ options generally happen to be the worst for our systems. Over processed or packed with sugars, often prepared days in advance. While these foods are absolutely fine every now and then, its worth considering preparing meals ahead if you can.
Especially when they are cheap and cheerful like this one!!
This salad is something that I regularly whipped up at home over summer time. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t shared it online yet. It’s healthy, super flavoursome and also such a crowd-pleaser. Better yet, it comes together in no time at all (see notes below the recipe for even faster prep time).
Perfect for any dietary requirements, the vegetarian base for this salad works oh so perfectly on its own. If you are meat inclined however, adding some cooked chicken or beef would also work a treat alongside the pumpkin and veggies.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, the combination of brown rice and chia is a personal favourite of mine. The nuttiness of the brown rice, paired with the subtle hint of chia and all of their amazing health benefits, fills your stomach to the brim and leaves you completely satisfied.
Plus… there is something super awesome about the combo of soy with brown rice that I love, so I have incorporated that into this recipe too.
Enjoy served warm at dinner time, and reserve the left overs for up to three days in the fridge (in airtight containers). This is a super cheap option for students, and can be taken pretty much anywhere on the go with you.
Brown Rice & Quinoa Pumpkin Salad
1 medium cucumber, diced into small chunks
2 carrots, grated
2 red capsicums, cut into small pieces
250 grams cherry tomatoes, chopped into halves
1 ripe avocado, diced
400 grams pumpkin, chopped into small chunks (ready for roasting)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked brown rice (for this and the quinoa, I used 4 Rice Pots and followed the instructions on there for cooking time)
1 small handful chopped coriander
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon chopped chilli
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, prepare the pumpkin to roast. Chop pumpkin into small bite size pieces, and combine in bowl with turmeric, a good splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss so that all the pumpkin is covered, then spread evenly on the tray and cook for 30-40 mins until tender. The pumpkin should be golden and slightly crisp on the outsides. Set aside.
While pumpkin is cooking, prepare all vegetables. Chop cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, capsicum and coriander. Grate the carrots, then combine all veggies into a large mixing bowl. Add the chia seeds and sesame seeds, and toss so that all vegetables and seeds are well combined. Add cooked rice and quinoa, and toss again.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing. Give it a good stir, and make sure you add a good pinch of salt and pepper to the dressing itself, as well as the salad veggies.
Once pumpkin is cooked, allow to cool slightly. Add pumpkin to the rice and vegetable bowl and mix well. Pour over dressing, and toss again, ensuring an even spread throughout the rice.
Divide into serving bowls and enjoy while still warm. This salad can also be eaten cold, and is perfect as a bulk meal prep option for students at the beginning of the week.
To make this salad even faster, prepare and dress pumpkin as described above. Instead of roasting in the oven, place in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave on high for 7-8 minutes. Remove from microwave, and heat a medium sized fry pan with oil. Add pumpkin, and toss until cooked through and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
This salad can also be served with a protein option such as chicken or beef. Simply cook your protein as required, then stir through with the dressing phase.
Being at university, sushi is an absolute staple food for me. I probably eat a little tooooo much for any normal healthy person, but when hostel food is that bad, (for those asking) YES I am going to spend my limited money sources on sushi.
What is the advantage of this you might ask? Well… I am now an expert on what ‘good’ sushi is.
And comparably…What bad sushi is.
Sure enough, it really is much faster to purchase rolls on rolls of pre-made sushi. But I honestly would urge you to give it a go from home at least once. Yes, it will take more time. But adversely, it’s actually super affordable and completely customisable to your liking. Cause lets be honest? We are all picky eaters when it comes to sushi. Whether you prefer fish, chicken, veggies, or just plain flavours, making your own sushi means you can create your dream roll, and likewise, so can every other person in your family too.
To make this recipe you will need a bamboo sushi mat. I found mine in a supermarket; generally super affordable and can be used multiple times! Although I have tried to simplify my instructions below, sushi can seem very daunting and challenging at first. But I guess its like most things in life, you get better and better the more you practice. So cut yourself some slack if you don’t nail it first time, fill your roll with everything and anything you can imagine, and let me know how you go!
Brown Rice & Avocado Sushi
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup brown rice, rinsed to remove starch 2-3 times
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
For the rice, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and give it a quick stir, then gently lower the heat to low. Cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender. All the water is should generally be absorbed by now, but if necessary… drain off any excess if any.
In a seperate small saucepan, add vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt and heat over medium heat. Stir briefly until both the sugar and salt are dissolved, and then remove from the heat and place straight into the fridge to cool.
When the rice is done and removed from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Combine the rice with the cooled vinegar mixture, and stir with a large fork. It may appear wet at first, but this will absorb into the rice as the grains cool (so don’t stress). When ready to use, the wet texture should be gone, and the rice should appear sticky and completely dry.
Either while the rice is cooking, or before you start rolling… prep all of your veggies by chopping them into thin pieces. Make sure you cut them nice and thin, to avoid fat and un-rollable sushi rolls.
When ready to roll your sushi, grab your bamboo sushi mat and top with a sheet of nori. Dip your hand in warm water (to avoid sticking), and gently pat a thin layer of rice all over the nori. Fill the mat with a thin layer of rice, ensuring that the rice is even and not too thick (as you will not be able to roll together with veggies if so).
Once rice is flattened and even, arrange your preferred variety of veggies or protein filling in a long line near the bottom of the roll. This should be about 3/4 of the way down the roll, so that when you roll inwards, you can clasp this with your hands. When done, roll the nori and rice over the veggies (the end closest to you), and using your fingers, compress the roll while rolling away from yourself. Extend this process until it’s all the way rolled up, and just before you seal the roll, add a small touch of water to the end of the nori to help seal the end. Squeeze nice and tight, then place on a flat plate and put into the fridge.
Repeat your rolling process until all rice and fillings are used up.
To slice, use a very sharp sushi or serrated knife. Sometimes I like to wet the knife with warm water before slicing, and in between rolls again to ensure slices are clean and precise.
If you follow me on Instagram, or know me in real life, then it wont come as a surprise to you that I love food that is colourful and/or comes in a ‘bowl’. It’s also recently become my mum’s not so secret ambition to count how many different foods I can pile into one meal, mocking me as I add the 17th form of vegetable to my plate.
The whole idea of ‘burrito bowls, veggie bowls, rainbow bowls’, has become pretty popular on the social media health buzz lately. But let’s be real here, things do become popular for a reason. For those of you who aren’t aware, bowl meals are essentially an easy way to create a meal that’s varied, nice to look at, and affordable. Meanwhile, they are also incredibly balanced and nutritious.
One of the many bonuses to creating your favourite bowl, is the beauty of constructing them. Not only are you probably thinking about what it’s going to look like, and whats appealing, but also what is going to give you beneficial nutrients and balance within your meal. In short, it’s vital that you get protein, fat and carbs within your meal times, and below are my essential tips to creating your perfect bowl.
Step one is to start by selecting your veggies.
Most of my bowls generally develop on some form of leafy greens, but that’s not to say that your veggies can’t be steamed or baked either. It’s really easy to batch prepare steamed or roasted veggies, meaning that throughout the week, you can use them in pretty much any meal. Some of my faves are below.
Next select your form of carbohydrate.DON’T AVOID CARBOHYDRATES.
Avoiding carbohydrates will get you no where. Sometimes i think it helps to think of carbs as the powerhouse food of your meal, (yes I am bringing back the year nine science terms). As a personal preference, I always include sweet potato as an add-in, but aside from that, some options of both complex and non-complex carbohydrates are listed below.
CC: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Millet, Amaranth, Sweet Potato, Beans or Lentils.
C: Potatoes, White Rice, Noodles (Soya/Vermicelli/Udon), Toasted Bread (cut into croutons).
Step three of your bowl creation comes in selecting your protein source.
A great bowl has to have protein, which is beneficial for tissue repair within our muscles, healthy hair and nails, maintaining your hunger cues, and countless other processes in your wonderful body. Generally your protein source will be dependent on your diet type, but some options for protein are listed below to choose from.
P: Chicken Strips, Mince, Pork, Beef, Fish, Seafood (such as prawns or mussels).
Step four is the addition of healthy fats.
Like carbohydrates, healthy fats should not be avoided. Just like any other macronutrients in our body, fat keeps our energy sustained. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats regulate insulin levels in the body, lower cholesterol, and ensure we have healthy skin, hair and nails. Don’t think of this as eating ‘fat’, but rather adding vital nutrients to your meal. Some of my favourite ways to do so are below.
F: Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Sesame Seeds, Hummus, Avocado, Tahini, Feta, Pine nuts, Brazil Nuts, Cashew or Almond Butter.
The final step of your bowl creation is finding a nice dressing or sauce, and adding crunch.
This literally makes your meal ten times better, and the addition of crunch or some funky seeds will add some much-needed texture. Experiment with what you personally love and create yummy combos, but or those with lack of inspiration, some of my favourite sauces and crunchy bits are below.
C: Sunflower Seeds, Raw Quinoa, Cashews, Pistachios, Homemade Dukkha, Fresh Coriander, Mint, Basil, Roasted Chickpeas, Raw Ginger.
Most important step: INCLUDE ALL YOUR PERSONAL FAVOURITES.
Individualise your lunch/dinner bowl and make it your own!! Utilise any leftovers in your fridge from last nights dinner, and if you know you love roasted pumpkin in your bowl, then make a large batch and store it for weekly use. Roast veggies, buy bulk veggies and freeze them, even prepare you meat into portions to reduce your time spent cooking. The opportunities are endless with a meal like this, but take a your time and trial and error some combos.
I am by no means encouraging you to go out and get drunk just so you can make this recipe. In fact, if anyone did that just to eat some of my food, I would probably consider marrying them.
This is a combo that has over recent times, become a staple in my household. A classic twist on the ‘hungover fry-up’, I kept a few classics and modified a handful of items….
OK OK, I healthy-fied it.
Regardless of your feelings on a Sunday morning however, this breakfast is an easy and nutritious way to eat eggs and avocado together. Perfect for those on a student budget, anyone on a vegetarian diet, and can be made even better when avocados are on special; the only thing you will really be paying for is your precious time. But trust me here… It will not be wasted.
Easily adapted and added too, use this recipe below as a base starting point for your Sunday breaky feasts.
Heat a large pan with coconut oil over medium heat.
Crack eggs into a medium sized bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Add in milk while whisking, and mix until all ingredients are combined. Season well.
Place bread in toaster. Toast (stating the obvious here aren’t I)
Add eggs to pan gently, letting the eggs settle for 20-30 seconds on the bottom of the pan. Carefully dragging your spatula through the middle of the eggs, separate base from the bottom of the pan and fold consistently to create a scrambled texture.
Remove immediately once eggs are cooked through, to avoid overcooking.
Top one piece of bread with eggs, and one with the 1/4 of the avocado smash mixture. Season and serve hot.
Yes I am talking about one mighty fine specimen…. The AVOCADO.
Unless you have been living under a rock, or haven’t been to a cafe in 10 plus years, you will no doubt have been subjected to the beauty that is avocado’s at breakfast. Avocado in any way or any form; on toast, with eggs, as a side, with bacon, on a bagel… You get the picture. You name it… Avocado has probably been paired with it.
Not that I am complaining.
This creamy and subtle fruit (yes it is a fruit, i googled it), is a new found form of wonderful and un-harmful poly and un-saturated natural fats, that play a vital role in our healthy lifestyle. Not only are they also a good form of fibre, but also are filled with vitamins such as potassium, vitamin E, and D.
But before I go any further listing the many benefits, can we just take note of the ‘scary’ thought of high calorie foods. Yes, the mighty fine avocado is reasonably high in calories. Actually everyone, it’s almost the equivalent of having a bag of chips to yourself.
So Annie… why would you subject yourself to such a high calorie food? Well its simple. Filling your body to the brim with high energy, nutrient rich foods that are beneficial to nourishing your body… That’s what health is. Filling your body with equally as high calorie foods filled with additives, preservatives, fats and unnatural sugars… That’s the opposite. Your body thrives of natural produce and doesn’t like preservatives.
Simply… Your body is going to thank you for the avocado, and maybe not so much for a bag of crisps (everything in moderation).
Below is a recipe for what I like to call avocado smash. ‘Smash’ because its not perfect. It’s fast, easy and no-fuss, but oh so full of flavours. Enjoy as a spread on wholegrain toast (my favourite), topped with chilli flakes, or simply as a dip for corn chips or sliced vegetables.
Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Raw
2 small firm ripe avocados, stone removed, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus extra to garnish
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
4 large slices rye bread
4-5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Chilli flakes (optional)
Feta Cheese (optional)
Place the two avocado’s in a medium size bowl and mash roughly with a fork. Add the chopped mint (or other herbs if you so desire) and a large squeeze of lemon juice, and mash again until just combined.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding chilli flakes for some heat if you wish. Set aside.
Toast wholegrain bread until golden, or prepare a large platter of fresh vegetable sticks and corn chips.
To serve, spoon 1/4 of the avocado mixture onto each slice of bread. Top with cherry tomatoes (and feta if using). Serve immediately garnished with extra mint.
If you haven’t already guessed it, I am literally obsessed with quinoa. I love it in anything. Being such a versatile yet yummy grain, it keeps me fuller for longer and always adds a nutty flavour for any meal. Soups, Salads, Sushi – you name it, I’ve quinoa’ed it!
I even once tried to make falafels with quinoa (haha what an experience, hence why there is no recipe on here today). Regardless of previous fails however, quinoa really can be used in anything – cereal, baking, savoury or sweet! As a bonus, it also avoids the term, ‘boring’ health food. It’s not all about carrots and iceberg lettuce in a bowl for this salad, this quinoa fills you up, sustains your hunger, add texture and flavour, all without weighing you down after your meal.
This salad is hands down my favourite way to utilise this low GI grain. I love any asian flavours, and originally I made this salad and added store brought asian dressing to make it so called ‘asian’. Overtime however, I have nailed my asian dressing, and have shared it below for you to use. The perfect balance of spicy, sweet and sour.
Before you go and make this salad, be ready for a colour explosion in your bowl. Not only is this tasty, yummy and full of flavour, but also super colourful and pretty to eat. Perfect salad for warm summer nights, and with the addition of warm tofu pieces or meat protein of choice, would be a wonderful winter evening meal.
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 1/2 cups cooked edamame beans (found at any supermarket, freezer section)
1 red capsicum, chopped
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup Tamari
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp green onion, chopped finely
2 tsp sesame seeds, black or white
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Add water and quinoa to a medium saucepan or pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 7 minutes. Turn the heat lower and allow the pot to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and using a large fork or kitchen utensil, fluff the quinoa to get a light texture.
Note: you can use store brought quinoa cups for this recipe, just make sure you cook quinoa according to package instructions correctly.
Next, place the cooked quinoa in a mixing large bowl and add the chopped red cabbage, shelled edamame beans, red pepper, carrots, cucumber and spinach. Combine well, to ensure all ingredients are dispersed evenly throughout the mix. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl or dressing mixer (I often re-use a small jar), combine tamari sauce, sesame oil, green onions, cilantro, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes and salt, and pepper for the dressing. Pour the dressing into the quinoa bowl, coat well, then serve in a large bowl or serving platter.