I’ve got my fingers crossed that you aren’t quite sick of Power Plates recipes yet—I know I’ve written about a few this summer—because there’s one more that I’ve been keen on sharing.
This creamy brown rice with shiitakes & peas is a dish that both Ashley and I have made again and again since we first made it together while we were shooting photos for the book. It’s so comforting and versatile, easy to pair with a big salad for an easy supper or to serve as a flavorful side. And even though slightly cooler weather is stoking my interest in cooking again, this is one of the few recipes I’ve craved and made consistently all through the summer.
The dish is risotto-like, but I think that the texture is a little lighter. I originally thought of it as being a spring dish, perfect to make when peas were in season, I’ve now made it with frozen peas at all times of year. The mushrooms give it a little earthiness to offset the lightness of the rest of the dish, and you could easily make it even more filling by adding some smoked tofu or tempeh bacon or vegan sausage. You can also try it with barley or farro or oat groats for a slightly denser texture—I love how it turns out with barley!
Creamy Brown Rice with Shiitakes & Peas
For the cashew cream:
- 3 ⁄4 cup 95 g raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
- 2 ⁄3 cup 160 ml water
- 1 ⁄4 teaspoon salt
For the rice
- 11 ⁄4 cups 250 g short-grain brown rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 5 ounces 140 g shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 cup 140 g fresh or frozen green peas
- 1 ⁄2 cup 120 ml water
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice plus more if desired
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ⁄4 cup 60 ml walnut herb parmesan, hempesan, or vegan parmesan cheese of your choice
- To make the cashew cream, combine all the ingredients in a blender (preferably a high-speed blender) and process until very smooth.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Rinse the rice under cold running water, then stir it into the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes, until the rice is tender yet chewy. Drain the rice, then return it to the pot. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes before using.
- While the rice is sitting, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms have released their juices and reduced in size.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the peas and blanch for about 2 minutes, until bright green and tender. Drain immediately.
- Add the peas to the mushroom mixture, along with the rice, Cashew Cream, water, lemon juice, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper. Stir well, then taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve right away, topped with vegan parmesan of your choice.
The method I use for the rice here is one I learned from Saveur, and it’s been my go-to ever since; I find that my brown rice is so much fluffier and more tender when I boil and drain it this way, as if it were pasta. If you’ve got a tried and true method for rice cooking, though—or a rice cooker that does a great job—don’t let me stop you!
I’ve spent a lot of time with Power Plates in the last few weeks, and it’s been a sweet, nostalgic journey. Even though the book was only published six months ago, it’s been in my life for so much longer, first as an idea and then as something I worked on incrementally as grad school began. Revisiting the recipes feels a lot like spending time with old friends at this point, and I’m having a fun time bookmarking the ones I think will be realistic/doable on weeknights with my new schedule this year.
This brown rice dish is one of them (especially if I’m organized enough to cook the rice in advance, which will be anyone’s guess), and I hope you’ll like it as much as I do. See you on Sunday with the usual weekend musings, and for now, be well.