Lunchbox – Roasted tomato and brown rice salad

Okay, elephant in the room.

Does ‘rice and tomatoes’ count as a recipe?

Well, the other day, while cooking, I was listening to an episode on the Unravelling podcast with host, Lauren Barber, and healthy food blogger, Vicky Shilling. Vicky mentioned she had once shared a poached eggs and avocado on toast recipe on her blog and laughed, as she wouldn’t consider this a ‘recipe’ at all.

BUT! Poached eggs and avocado on toast was what Vicky was eating, and enjoying, and she wanted to share that with her readers.

Which got me thinking. Food blogs don’t have to feature complicated recipes with 3 hours prep time, a huge list of steps and the most obscure ingredients going. Instead, it should be about sharing. If it sparks some inspiration, reminds you to pick up an avocado on your way home and encourages you to have a healthy balanced breakfast the following morning then who cares whether it’s a ‘recipe’ or not!

Inspiring positive change in the world, one easy recipe at a time.

I love nothing more than spending several hours in the kitchen, cooking and prepping and baking and experimenting, but not everyone shares my passion. In fact most of you (correct me if I’m wrong) are here for quick, easy, scrummy recipes that can be whipped up in less than half an hour and taste as good as you can get in that time.

Rice and tomato salad
Ingredient number 1 = tomatoes

Minimal ingredients, minimal effort, maximum health and happiness. Right?

Right! Which is why I set up the #lunchbox series to begin with.

I want to share.

I want help you feel happier and healthier.

And I want to eat.

So, does rice and tomatoes count as a recipe?

Yes, for sure. Okay, it’s essentially 2 ingredients – aka rice of your choosing and a handful of cherry tomatoes – but it’s delicious and easy and perfect for a lunchbox when you have nothing else.

BONUS tip

If you’ve got extra bits in the fridge, get them involved! Maybe you have some spinach, kale or frozen peas? Add a handful to the pan of rice at the end of the cooking time and voila, you’ve got the greens. Maybe you’ve got some more exciting ingredients, like some fresh feta or creamy burrata. Whack those in too.

Sprinkle with pine nuts and a crunchy seed mix.

Top with grilled chicken or serve alongside steak.

Delicately garnish with an avocado rose if the mood takes you.

To the recipe!

Rice and tomato salad-4
Ingredient number 2 = rice

Ingredients

  • 100g brown rice (or your preferred alternative) rinsed and drained
  • 400ml stock
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (roughly 250g)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • A little lemon zest and juice, if you have it

 

Make it saucy

Pesto | Balsamic glaze | Coriander dressing

Make it veggie

Feta | Burrata | Olives | Avocado | Leafy greens, such as rocket or spinach

Make it meaty

Grilled chicken | Griddled steak | Seared tuna | Baked white fish, such as cod or sea bass

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan).
  2. Mix the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the rice, stir, reduce to a simmer and pop the lid on. Cook as per the packet instructions – roughly 25-35 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through but retains a little bite.
  3. Pop the tomatoes in a roasting tray or pie dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, give them a good shake to coat in the oil, then pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes. You want them to burst slightly but remain mostly intact.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, drain it and return to the saucepan. Add a glug of olive oil, a good grind of pepper and the fresh basil, plus a little lemon zest and a squeeze of juice if you have it. Stir to combine.
  5. Remove the tomatoes from the oven, shaking the tray slightly to loosen them. If eating a portion for dinner, simply pop some rice in a bowl, top with a helping of the roasted tomatoes and sprinkle with fresh basil. If stashing in your lunchbox, set the tomatoes aside and transfer the rice to a sieve. Rinse under cold running water until completely cool, then place in a container in the fridge. Once the tomatoes have cooled, place them on top.

Samantha x

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