Vegetable Rice Medley
I am really lazy when it comes to side dishes. I am a big fan of plain brown rice when making something with a sauce, and I also tend to rely on roasted potato wedges or refrigerated mashed potatoes. Or I just stick with a salad and frozen vegetables. If I’m feeling crazy, I’ll make couscous or some kind of pasta. Exciting, right? I just like sides that are easy and can be thrown together quickly while I concentrate on the main course.
Well, I am also sort of embarrassed to admit how much I love Uncle Ben. Love him and his boxes of wild and brown rice blend. I’m not fond of his pouches of pre-made rice or most of the other flavors, but the wild rice blends make me very happy. Happy until I realized that one serving of this rice contains nearly 30% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium. Yikes! Since this discovery, I have avoided my dear Uncle, opting for brown rice instead. Brown rice, as much as I enjoy it, can get a little blah after a while which is why I was so excited to find Basmati Rice Medley at Trader Joe’s for only 20 mg sodium per serving (or ~1% the daily recommend allowance)! It’s described as “a blend of aged Indian Basmati rice & wild rice with garden herbs and vegetables”. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Well, it SMELLS amazing. The first time I cooked it, I was so so so anxious to try it because it smelled like heaven as it simmered away. Imagine my disappointment when it tasted like… nothing. It had some flavor, I’m sure, but all I remember was thinking “blah!”
At this point I had only used maybe 1/3 of the bag, so I was determined to figure out a way to make the next batch taste better, and that is how I ended up with this recipe. It’s a total cheater recipe because it is so easy, but it was delicious and worth sharing. Basically all I did was cook the rice in one pan and saute some veggies in another then combine them. So, nothing too ingenious there, but it will definitely be a staple here when I’m looking for a quick, easy side dish- vegetable included! Aside from the rice medley, I also used a Trader Joe’s specific spice blend, their 21 Seasoning Salute. It is a salt-free all-purpose seasoning that looks comparable to Mrs. Dash Original when I review the ingredient list. So fear not, if there isn’t a TJ’s near you, you can still make this dish! It also worked well on its own as lunch the next day.
Vegetable Rice Medley
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cups water or no salt added vegetable broth
2/3 cup Basmati rice blend
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons salt-free seasoning
In a small saucepan, combine rice, water or broth, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bring mixture to a boil, stir to blend, and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not remove lid while cooking. Remove pan from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.
Once rice is cooking, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute vegetables until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add seasoning and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. If vegetables are done before rice, set aside.
After rice has rested for five minutes, add it to the skillet containing the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Serve warm.
4 servings | 3 POINTS