This is food that makes you want to treat your body well. This plate filled with roasted green beans and tomatoes, with plump grains of brown rice, the fresh crunch of baby kale and corn kernels fresh from the cob, topped with a molten-centred soft boiled egg is a whole-body nourishing meal.
I’m not good at deprivation. I don’t thrive in an atmosphere of austerity. My pleasures are simple, but I count on them as comforts necessary for everyday functioning, and I am lucky enough to be in a position to fulfil these everyday desires. In this time of ‘cleansing’ and ‘fasting’ and (shudder) ‘dieting’ I am offering a middle way. A thoroughly nourished life is one filled with plates of wholegrains, baskets of vegetables, luxurious eggs, and a rainbow of legumes; a thoroughly nourished life is also one with room for indulgence. I eat chocolate everyday. I’m not ashamed, I’m not bringing out a #guiltynotguilty attitude. I simply know for my version of a healthy life, there needs to be some wriggle room for a daily sweet treat. I allow myself some of my favourite Lindt 70-85% dark chocolate (my favourite since I was about 12, not a recent fad), or a serving of a sweet I am testing, and then I feel satiated, nourished and indulged.
This salad is an embodiment of a thoroughly nourished attitude to food. Brown rice is boiled and fluffed while green beans and tomatoes are roasted at high heat to soften them and deepen their natural sweetness. Baby kale leave are washed and spun dry and summer sweet corn kernels are trimmed from the cob. Everything goes into a large bowl and is coated with a honey, vinegar, and herb dressing. The eggs are the last and most timely item on the plate. Brought quickly to the boil, simmered only briefly, then peeled under running water, their centres are still soft and the runny yolks provide a decadent note.
My Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs is a vegetarian, gluten free plate of balanced flavours. The vegetables are naturally sweet, this is the peak of the season where the sun draws the sugars into the bounty of the harvest. The dressing is a play between sweet local honey, refreshingly acidic balsamic vinegar, and the floral notes of oregano. Each mouthful is filled with something different and pleasing to the taste buds. After a big plate of this for lunch and dinner yesterday I felt like I was finally on the right track for 2015. After a few squares of dark chocolate to accompany my pre-bed reading I knew that this was the way I wanted 2015 to carry on. My nourished life: one of hearty salads, sweaty runs, and chocolate everyday.
Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs
Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3-4
- 3/4 cup brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 250 grams baby roma (or cherry) tomatoes
- 250 grams green beans, ends trimmed
- 2 cobs corn
- 4 cups baby kale leaves (or baby spinach)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 large eggs at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Set aside until required.
- Place brown rice and water in a medium saucepan and set over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff grains and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While rice is cooking spread tomatoes and trimmed beans across the prepared baking sheet. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes have begun to split open.
- Cut kernels from the cob of corn and place in a large bowl. Add baby kale leaves, cooked rice, and roasted vegetables and their juices.
- Whisk together honey, balsamic vinegar, remaining oil, oregano, salt and pepper and add to the bowl.
- Gently toss everything together and allow to marinate while you cook the eggs.
- Place eggs in a saucepan (use the same one you cooked the rice in) and cover with cool water. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes (for a semi-soft centre) or 4 minutes (for a hard-cooked egg), then remove immediately from the heat. Run under cold water until cool to the touch and then gently (very gently) peel the eggs.
- Distribute salad evenly among the plates and top with eggs, cut open and allow yolks to drip elegantly through the salad. Enjoy.
Tell me, dear reader, how do you keep the balance? What does your thoroughly nourished life look like?