I’m back! I’m jumping into life with both feet again this week: back at work, back to eating (mostly) normal foods again, and back here in my special internet home! While I was watching all the Food Network I stumbled across re-runs of Five Ingredient Fix, and my brain got churning away wondering if I could take the concept of easy, five ingredient meals and translate it here into five ingredient, 30 minutes-or-under meals that are vegetarian and gluten free.Now, you don’t necessarily need to have special gluten free diet needs, or be a vegetarian to enjoy the occasional gluten free and vegetarian meal, and sometimes these meals just naturally occur on the table! One of the bonuses of vegetarian eating is that most of the time my meals are made out of things that I can have on hand in the pantry for long periods of time: canned/dried beans, grains, seeds, nuts etc paired with whatever produce I have on hand. Et voila! A meal! When I really started thinking about it so many of my go-to weekday meals are about five ingredients, and definitely take under 30 minutes. Instead of keeping these easy meals to myself I thought I would start 5 Ingredient Friday and share them with you! My aim with 5 Ingredient Friday is to give you meals that:
- Use 5 ingredients (well..duh)
- Take 30 minutes or under
- Deliver on taste and satisfaction!
My only assumptions for 5 Ingredient Friday are that you usually have on hand some sort of oil/fat; salt and pepper; water; and garlic and onion <- these are my ‘free ingredients’ that I can use outside my key five ingredients. If you make one of my 5 Ingredient Friday meals share a photo on Instagram and tag me @thoroughly_nourished_life and use the hashtag #5IngredientFriday. I’d love to see if you whip these up!So…let’s get cooking! Today I’m sharing a hearty, lunchbox-worthy salad that will last a few days in the refrigerator and will satisfy hungry work/school bellies and provide you energy to make it through the afternoon! I made this on Sunday morning and just packed a big container for my lunch the night before. No extra effort required. That’s what I need for a weekday lunch! Especially when I’m just getting back into the game.
The brown rice and chickpeas are super hearty and make my belly happy with their nutty substantial mouthfuls. This blank canvas is brightened up with sweet, roasted red peppers and crunchy baby spinach, and then sprinkled with a big handful of toasted walnuts for extra crunch and toasty flavour. There are just five simple ingredients in this salad, and then another four common, pantry-staple ingredients in the dressing, which totally makes this dish! The dressing is a simple combination of honey, balsamic vinegar, wholegrain mustard, and extra virgin olive oil. So all up there are only nine ingredients! To make things easier there are even a few short-cuts you can take:
- Use a packet of 90 second brown rice instead of boiling your own
- Use a jar of roasted peppers/capsicums and skip the roasting step
- Don’t have baby spinach on hand? Use whatever greens you have in the fridge: kale, lettuce, mixed greens
- Run out of chickpeas (or don’t like them)? Use whatever beans you have! Or if you are an omnivore shredded cooked chicken or tinned tuna go well in this salad too!
Roasted Capsicum, Brown Rice, and Chickpea Salad
gluten free | vegetarian | store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days
For the salad
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 medium red capsicums (bell peppers)
- 1 can chickpeas
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 2/3 cup walnuts
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Place brown rice in a large sauce pan with about 6 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for about twenty minutes. Stir every once in a while. Once cooked, drain well and spread out on a baking tray to cool quickly.
- While the rice is cooking preheat the grill on your oven. Cut the capsicum into large pieces and discard the core. Place the pieces of capsicum skin side up on a baking tray and place under the grill until the skin blackens and blisters. Remove, place capsicum pieces in a plastic bag for a few minutes so that the skin becomes loose and easy to remove. Carefully peel the skin off the capsicums and chop into large pieces.
- While the capsicums are resting and the rice is cooking place the spinach leaves, chickpeas, and walnuts into a large bowl.
- Add the cooled rice and chopped capsicum.
- To make the dressing whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl and add to the salad. Toss well until everything is covered. If you are storing this salad to eat during the week, keep the dressing separate and dress each portion just before serving. No soggy salad leaves this way!