This filling & delicious meal is not only incredibly comforting and simple to throw together, but it’s also super healthy and ultra economical. Win, win, win! Thanksgiving. A time to enjoy great food with friends and family and reflect on what we are grateful for.
This year I decided to try something new. I saw an online flyer that sounded interesting: Rancho Park Vegan Potluck Picnic on Thanksgiving Day. Fun! What a great way to meet new people, share delicious food, and enjoy a beautiful day outside. So I immediately started to think of what I could cook up to bring.
As I sorted through my countless recipes I had to consider the fact that the dish would be sitting out for at least a couple of hours, so something that would taste good warm or even slightly cold would be ideal. Rice, quinoa or potatoes immediately came to mind since these types of dishes can usually taste good even when they cool off or are cold. Then the question became, “Do I stick with traditional Thanksgiving-themed vegetables? Or should I go completely off the wall and make an Indian Curry or Ethiopian Stew?” Oh the options.
So I finally decided on some simple yet delicious roasted veggies on brown jasmine rice and I added some chickpeas to make it an entree and topped it with tahini drizzle to add a little decadence.
Everyone who knows me knows that I have a major sweet tooth, so of course I had to bring one of my all time favorite desserts to share too! I made a big batch of Gooey Pumpkin Blondies and individually wrapped them in case anyone was too full to enjoy dessert right away.
I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the “VEG” sign. After wandering around Rancho Park straight through the middle of some field games (sorry guys) with arms full of food I finally found the area where the vegan potluck was located. Near the back of the park is a shaded area with several picnic tables. The event organizers and volunteers did an excellent job setting up the tables with colorful tapestries and signage specifying “cooked” versus “raw” dishes, desserts or “tables for seating.”
The event began at 11 am and participants dropped off their prepared vegan dishes and had time to mingle before the opening circle which took place at noon. The opening circle consisted of a few members sharing words and everyone expressed gratitude and happiness for being there.
And then the food. There was SO MUCH DELICIOUS, PLANT-BASED FOOD! And even better, what the even organizer specifically requested participants use when preparing their dishes to share was organic, chemical free, GMO free foods. Of course this was not a requirement. The only requirement was that foods be 100% vegan – no meat, fish, dairy, eggs, seafood – nothing that ever had a mother or was ever a mother.
Another great thing about this potluck is that the event organizer requested that each participant include all of the ingredients included in their dish so that participants knew exactly what they were eating. This was so wonderful for so many reasons whether people had food sensitivities, were on special diets for health reasons, or were simply picky eaters.
ROASTED VEGGIES & CHICKPEAS OVER BROWN JASMINE RICE WITH TAHINI DRIZZLE
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Makes: 6 servings
- 1 cup brown jasmine rice
- 2 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped, divided
- 1½ cups prepared chickpeas (1 can, rinsed & drained if using canned)
- ½ pound broccoli florets
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons organic tahini paste
- ¼ lemon, zested & juiced
- Pinch granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rinse the rice well in a colander until the water runs clear.
- Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the rice and stir. Bring back to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove lid, but do not move the pan from the heat. Let sit for 5 more minutes.
- While the rice cooks prepare the veggies and tahini drizzle.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Toss the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ tablespoon of rosemary and chickpeas with the broccoli florets and set aside.
- Toss the sweet potatoes with the remaining olive oil and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes*, stirring once halfway during cooking.
- Place the broccoli mixture onto a foil-lined baking sheet and place them in the oven with the potatoes. Bake the broccoli and the potatoes for an additional 15 minutes*.
- Whisk together the tahini drizzle ingredients, thinning out with more warm water if necessary.
- Place the rice on a plate or serving platter. Top with the roasted veggies and chickpeas. Drizzle the tahini sauce on top. Enjoy!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And I hope one day, whether you are vegan or not you will consider having a 100% cruelty-free Thanksgiving celebration of your own and have fun coming up with and preparing delicious, healthy, plant-based dishes with your friends and family.