Fajita Bowls with Cauliflower Rice {Vegan}

vegan fajita cauli rice bowl

Because of my constant need to be independent and divergent in some way I almost always choose vegetable fajitas on a standard Mexican restaurant menu. Unless I’m at a fancy taco place. Then I just eat the fancy tacos and shut the hell up.

Anyway, those veggie fajitas usually come with a pan of sizzling spiced bell peppers and onions – plus an entire plate’s worth of add-ons like guac, salsa, iceberg lettuce and a stack of warm tortillas. I’m given lots of freedom to put together my own combinations or just dig in to a pile of vegetables with tons of guacamole. Writing my own rules. Just the way I like it.

And if I find myself at Chipotle…I opt for a burrito bowl and customize the crap out of it.

Here we find ourselves somewhere in the middle with some cauliflower rice thrown in for all those fake rice enthusiasts out there. I love regular rice and especially chewy, nutty brown rice, but sometimes I find myself with a whole head of cauliflower for the fourth week in a row and I’ve gotta mix it up. Plus it’s super light and fluffy and paleo-friendly.

Let’s make cauliflower rice fajita bowls!

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Sesame Chili Soba Noodles with Kale

soba2

I’ve been a dedicated – and admittedly uncool – brown-bagger for as many years as I’ve been working a full time job. More than just the limited food options nearby, I bring my lunch to eat healthy and stretch my paycheck.

This is the sort of dish that makes it easy to bring your lunch to work. Quick to make, packed with toasty sesame and warm chili flavors, and effortlessly vegan. It’s all about making meals play double duty – you know, cook once, eat twice.

I made this soba noodle dish after a Sunday shopping excursion when I returned home ravenous. I whacked it together in a few hasty minutes and gobbled it up even quicker.

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Edamame Sushi Bowl with Wasabi Dressing

I have come to realize that 72% of the time when I think  I’m craving sushi, I’m in fact craving straight up wasabi.

It’s not that I don’t looove sushi in its many glorious forms but it’s the wasabi that really brings the whole thing together for me. I love the stuff. It’s a completely different type of spicy that I totally dig.

I even love that eye-watering moment when you’ve gotten a little too much and your sinuses are magically the clearest they’ve felt in months. Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.

I know not everyone shares my crazylove for Japanese horseradish (I mean, clearly I’m some sort of spice sadist. Whatevs.) But if you do like the flavor, you have to try this salad with wasabi dressing. The dressing isn’t at eye-watering level (I’m not a monster!) but it’s undoubtedly wasabi-flavored.

The combination of traditional sushi roll vegetables like carrots and avocado topped with sesame seeds and a wasabi and soy dressing completely satisfy my sushi/wasabi cravings from the comfort of my own home.

It’s a salad that holds up well if you want to take it as a work week lunch or on a picnic – and it’s best at room temperature.

This version of the salad is vegan-friendly, but I’m dreaming about a gorgeous medium-rare piece of grilled salmon on top of this situation sometime soon.

Edamame Sushi Bowl (serves 2)
inspired by Sushi Roll Edamame Salad from Appetite for Reduction
– 1 cup cooked brown rice
– 1 medium carrot, shredded
– 1 cup shredded kale
– 1/2 cup shelled edamame (defrosted)
– 1/2 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
– 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Place rice, carrot, kale and edamame in a bowl and toss well with 1-2 tablespoons of the wasabi dressing (below) top with avocado and toasted sesame seeds and serve with additional dressing (if desired.)

Wasabi Salad Dressing (warning: packs a punch!)
– 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
– 1 teaspoon soy sauce
– 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and mix well until everything is blended together.

PAB: Pear, Avocado and Bacon Salad

Some things just need to be done. Sometimes they need to be done because that’s just how life goes. Tough luck. Sometimes, it’s tradition. And sometimes it’s because it’s exactly what you want at that particular moment.

Like doing laundry.
Like taking out the garbage.
Like going to the dentist.
Like chocolate on Easter.
Like popcorn at the movies.
Like eating a well-balanced breakfast.
Like having a big glass of wine (or 3) with a good friend.
Like savagely tearing off and eating the end of the baguette as soon as you leave the bakery.
Like watching episode upon episode of The Bachelor even though you fear it might be negatively influencing your views on your own gender.

Like pear and bacon. Bacon and pear. And avocado. And buttermilk. It has to be done. Let’s do it!

Pear Avocado and Bacon Chard Salad
– 3 cups Swiss chard, rainbow chard, spinach or kale
– 1 pear, sliced into thin wedges
– 1/2 an avocado, sliced into this wedges
– 2-3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
– 1 large rasher of bacon or two small (American bacon) rashers, cut into small pieces

Mustard Buttermilk Dressing
– 6 tablespoons buttermilk
– 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1/2 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
– 1 clove garlic, minced or grated on a Microplane grater
– sea salt
– ground pepper

To make dressing:
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well. Add more salt and pepper as desired.

To assemble salad:
Place the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and gently toss with 2 or 3 tablespoons of dressing. Set aside.

Heat a pan over a medium high heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until browned and crispy. Place on a paper towel and blot off excess oil. Scatter over salad. Drizzle on additional dressing, if desired.

Serve with lazy girl roasted chicken legs (recipe coming soon) or crusty bread.