If you saw last week’s post, you knew this one was coming. Last week I posted my recipe for a booming food trend, Vegan Buffalo “Wings” made with cauliflower florets. I’ve been meaning to make these for quite some time now, and I seriously can’t believe it took me so long because they are absolutely amazing. The push I needed came last week when Matt’s brother and fiancée, in town for their engagement party, we’re coming over for week night dinner and I needed something fun, healthy and delicious to cook up for them. So I checked my list of recipe ideas, saw buffalo cauliflower wings, and got a genius idea…Buffalo Brown Rice Bowls. Casual yet creative, tasty yet nutritious. Perfect.
The idea for a brown rice bowl topped with buffalo wings was inspired by a popular fast-casual restaurant in my hometown of St. Louis called Crazy Bowls and Wraps. CBW, as St. Louis-ans like to call it, has been around forever, even before healthy fast-casual joints became a thing. CBW offers customizable rice bowls, salads and wraps with all kinds of creative fillings and options. One of my absolute favorites is the buffalo fried tofu, so it wasn’t hard to come up with the idea for a buffalo cauliflower brown rice bowl.
I’ll admit, I was intimidated starting this dish. I’d never made baked cauliflower wings before and I was cooking for company. There are definitely times when my kitchen experiments fall short of my vision and expectations, but fortunately, this was not one of those times. The baked buffalo cauliflower wings turned out fabulously, and the bowls came together beautifully. Score!
I love the idea of layered bowls when serving a crowd. It makes it easy for each person to get exactly what they want. Plus, bowls like this are easy to eat. But I don’t need company to make bowls like this. In fact, last night for dinner I made Mexican rice bowls with roasted potatoes and peppers, cabbage, shredded cheddar and marinated tomatoes. When it comes to “bowls”, the possibilities are endless. Whenever I don’t know what to make, I start with a starch like rice or orzo pasta and simply add toppings according to a theme (Mexican, Greek, Italian, Asian etc.). That’s actually a really good tip if you’re ever struggling with what to cook. I use it all them time.
If you’re new to rice bowls, this is a great one to start with. The spicy, crispy cauliflower compliments the fresh veggies and creamy sauce perfectly. It feels so indulgent, but it’s really very balanced. And it’s also a lot easier than it sounds. These bowls are seriously so yummy and I highly recommend trying them out, STAT. I know I can’t wait to make them again.
Buffalo Brown Rice Bowls
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 1 hour 15 min
1 batch Buffalo Cauliflower (get recipe here)
1 cup Brown Rice
8-10 ounces chopped Romaine Lettuce (1, maybe 2 heads)
10 ounces Cherry Tomatoes
2 large Carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 cup Dressing (get my creamy blue cheese dressing here or use the vegan recipe below)
Creamy Vegan Dressing
1 cup Vegan Mayonnaise (I like Follow Your Heart brand)
2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk or water
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
3/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
Make rice. Add 1 cup brown rice, 2 1/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt into a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to lower summer, cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat when finished, allow to sit covered until ready to assemble bowls.
While rice simmers, preheat oven to 450 degrees and get the Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” started (get recipe here).
While cauliflower bakes, make dressing by combining all ingredients for vegan dressing (ingredients above) or make my yummy blue cheese dressing (get recipe here). Set aside in fridge.
Prep veggies. Chop lettuce. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Prep carrots. I like making “carrot shavings” for salads. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off long strips of carrots, then run your knife through the strips to make shavings.
When cauliflower and rice are finished, assemble the bowls. Divide lettuce into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with rice, tomatoes, carrots, buffalo cauliflower “wings” and 2-4 tablespoons dressing.