Zesty Wild Rice Bowl

Raw cashews are a wonderful ingredient. As you may have noticed on my blog, I love cashews “cheese” sauces. They make a rich, creamy sauce that does not rely on dairy to get it’s creaminess. However, one night I was pondering maybe I should try and make a cashew sauce that deviates from the typical cheesy flavour. I wanted to make a cashew sauce that was light, fresh and packed an acidic punch, and I think I’ve done just that. The sauce in this dish is fantastic and makes more than required by this recipe. Leftover sauce can be used as a delicious salad dressing (it goes great with just some romaine, minced onion and parmesan). 

The other star of the bowl is wild rice, an indiginous crop to the great lakes region. Wild rice is actually not a rice but rather belongs to the cereal family. It has a great texture and I find it brings more to a dish than just using regular rice. Wild rice has long been a source of food for the First Nations of the greater lakes region and grows in fresh, flowing water. Here, it pairs nicely with the acidic punch of the sauce and the delicious roasted vegetables. This makes the perfect weeknight meal, not requiring too much effort. 

Active time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 lb parsnips
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup cashews*
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

* If you do not have a high-powered blender, it is recommended to soak the cashews. Soak them in a covered bowl the morning you’re going to make the sauce. If you soak the cashews, reduce the almond milk by a touch. 

Directions

  1. First, we will cook our wild rice. Fill a pot with 4 cups of water, the wild rice, a ½ tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Begin tasting it around that point and stop it when you like the texture (there may be extra water, don’t be shy to just drain it off).
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F. Peel parsnips and cut into 2-3 inch-long pieces. If your parsnips are large they can sometimes have a tough texture. To avoid this, cut them into quarters or halves, keeping the pieces even, and cut out the tough center. 
  3. Place on a baking sheet with a tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing at the halfway point. 
  4. Prepare the asparagus to also be roasted. Cut off the tough ends and place on a baking sheet once again with a tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Put these in the oven at the halfway point of the parsnips. They can take anywhere from 12-18 minutes depending on how thick they are. 
  5. Now we will make the sauce. Place the cashews, lemon juice, lemon zest, almond milk, honey, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and ½ salt into a blender and blend at high speed until smooth (don’t be shy, this can be a few minutes). Once smooth, with a spoon or a spatula mix in the thyme and the oregano.
  6. Finally, we will quickly toast the walnuts to top the dish. Heat a pan on medium heat and add the chopped walnuts. Toast for a few minutes turning frequently. 
  7. Once all of the elements are ready, it is time to plate. Top a serving of wild rice with vegetables and drizzle the sauce over the top. Lastly, sprinkle some toasted walnuts over the top and enjoy!

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