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  • Karine Wlasichuk

Confessions of a Part-Time Vegan: Crunchy Peanut-Basil Rice

And before I start this yes, I see you all travellers on social media, and of course I wish I were drowning in Danishes on some beautiful Copenhagen terrasse. But wearing a mask the entire flight makes me want to scream. Not happening. Vaccines soon please and thank you! Let's get into our post shall we?

For the past few months now,I have tried really hard to cook about half of our weekly meals in a vegan-like manner (replacing every item I can and finding creative alternatives). It is not that I don't believe in the positive effects of veganism (they would be tremendous for the earth if more people paid more attention), it's just that I don't believe most people are ready to change their entire lifestyles overnight. They would, however, be ready to listen.

Hear me out: I do find it very important to reduce our meat consumption, and I believe that if everyone made small changes like this in their homes, it would truly help our environment. What I do not believe in, however, is the aggressive approach some people may use to turn people vegan. There are ways to educate people on the state of our planet without showing animal cruelty videos in big open spaces- no child wants to run into these slaughtering scenes on giant screens, it's not fair to parents who were simply out running errands with their family. Insulting people also won't create a positive change. Talking about our planet and veganism as one of many eco-friendly avenues to a long-term stability and preservation solution sounds a lot healthier.

Now that we talked about our thoughts and feelings, do enjoy this fragrant and crunchy basil bowl. I highlight Thai basil here, as it is almost the end of our harvest season for fresh herbs: the leaves are turning yellow, and the plants cultivated inside are simply not the same! So show your herbs some extra love these coming weeks. Dry them, freeze them, whatever your heart desires. You will meet again in the winter.

This entire bowl was created with one purpose in mind: using up a little cup of sauce left from a recipe from the subscription box company I am currently working with: Chef Cook It. They have been sending us boxes for many weeks now, for me to promote their concept through story posts (ahem, use code KARI40 for $40 off your first box). I noticed I had this extra little cup laying around, and being the ultra zero-waste-in-my-kitchen mom that I am, I created a recipe around it. And yes, it is utterly satisfying to do so. Strongly recommend.

You will need,

Thai or regular basil (as many leaves as you can salvage at this point)

Peanuts (a handful, 45 ml- you are welcome to crush them in part, a nice touch)

Ginger (pinch of powder)

Sesame seeds (about 2 tbsp)

Sesame oil (a drizzle, when frying the beans)

Cucumber (1/3, thinly sliced)

Garlic (2 cloves, minced- whenever I am out, I use French shallots)

Green beans (a generous handful or, 150 ml- chopped in small pieces)

Crushed pepper flakes (a pinch)

Basmati rice (roughly 150 g)

Brown sugar (1 tbsp)

As for the sauce,

Depending on how much you need, mix equal parts of soy sauce and mirin half and half, a couple of spoons of sesame oil each time, and a thick tablespoon of peanut butter, sprinkled with ginger powder and even chili flakes or oil if you want to be a little daring. If you are facing a busy week ahead, I would fill up a mason jar of this repeated mixture and enjoy quick and easy sushi bowls!

A few simple steps,

1. In a pan over medium heat, drizzle sesame oil and sautée beans with a pinch of sesame seeds. Toss for 5-6 minutes, or until tender and lightly grilled. Set aside.

2. In the pot you will use to cook the rice: sautée garlic with ginger powder and a drizzle of sesame oil for 45 seconds, until fragrant. Add rice and water, read the cooking instructions on the packaging and cook accordingly. They vary depending on the size of the grain, harvest, brand, etc.

3. In a separate bowl, mix all sauce ingredients together until you reach a smooth consistency. The whisk is your best friend.

4. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cucumber with the sugar, a few drops of oil and the crushed peanuts.

5. Place cooked rice in bowls, top with the beans, crushed peanuts-cucumber mix, chili flakes, freshly chopped basil and as much sauce as your heart desires! Enjoy the freshness and the crunch.

Note: if you have extra rice and would like to re-purpose this recipe into leftover portions, make sure to cut fresh cucumber the next day- as it is very thinly sliced, it will become mushy and quite blah. Perhaps cut larger chunks if this is your plan!

Now enjoy the same bowl at 3 different focus points because I love these types of shots. How soothing is this.

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