Niki Webster's gochujang veggies with crispy tofu and cashews

Rainbow Bowls: 3 colourful plant-based recipes to try this January

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These colourful vegan recipes will see you through Veganuary and beyond.

You’re not alone if January is already proving to be a struggle. Grey days coupled with getting back into the swing of a daily routine after the frenzy of Christmas is always a challenge. And after weeks of eating nothing but chocolate and cheese, you may also be feeling the need to pack your meals with some extra veg. While we’re not ones for new year diets or depriving ourselves of comfort food when we most need it, we are all about nourishing our bodies with a rainbow of goodness to keep us feeling our best all year round. 

If you’re feeling the same way but lacking inspiration for nourishing and satisfying recipes, look no further. Since starting her blog Rebel Recipes in 2016, Niki Webster has been bringing vibrant, veg-focused recipes to our homes – and with her new book, she’s making it easier than ever to eat the rainbow. Featuring 40 plant-based, colourful and wholesome recipes, Rainbow Bowls, is just what the doctor ordered to see us through Veganuary and beyond.  

Rainbow Bowls by Niki Webster
Rainbow Bowls by Niki Webster

Going beyond serving up lacklustre salads that have us raiding the snack cupboard within 10 minutes of eating, Niki’s recipes all include a range of vegetables, grains and pulses to guarantee satisfaction. Featuring sweet and savoury breakfast bowls, hearty soups and more, we’ve selected three speedy recipes that deserve a spot on your weeknight repertoire.

Lovers of Mexican flavours need look no further than Niki’s herby rice and black bean salsa burrito bowl. A can of black beans is taken to new heights with the addition of tomatoes, lime, mint and chilli flakes to create a speedy salsa. Serve with the herby rice as suggested, or if you’re looking for extra comfort, load onto a freshly baked potato. 

Next up is Niki’s recipe for griddled aubergine and peanut salad. The easiest way to make veg more exciting is to introduce a mouth-watering dressing, and that’s exactly what Niki does here. Featuring sriracha, coconut milk, peanut butter miso and lime, we’re going to be dousing everything in this going forward.

Rounding up the trio of nourishing bowls is Niki’s gochujang veggies with crispy tofu and cashews. Promising to be hearty, warming and full of spice, it’s exactly what we need for cold January nights. 

  • Herby rice and black bean salsa burrito bowl

    Niki Webster's herby rice and black bean salsa burrito bowl
    Niki Webster's herby rice and black bean salsa burrito bowl

    Niki says: “Both fresh and substantial, this burrito bowl is packed with fresh herbs which elevate the rice to something special. The black bean salsa just needs to be mixed and it also makes a great jacket potato topper. Feel free to serve the sugar snaps raw if you like, but charring them adds extra flavour.”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • Splash of olive oil
    • 100g sugar snap peas
    • 1 avocado, flesh sliced

    For the rice:

    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 250g cooked basmati rice
    • Juice of ½ lime
    • 1 tsp maple syrup
    • 40g fresh herbs, such as coriander, flat-leaf parsley, mint and/or dill, chopped
    • Sea salt and black pepper

    For the black bean salsa:

    • 240g canned black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
    • 100g cherry tomatoes, chopped
    • Juice of ½ lime
    • 4 tbsp fresh mint, shredded
    • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
    • Pinch of chilli flakes

    Method

    To make the rice, add one tablespoon of the oil to a frying pan with the cooked rice, lime juice and maple syrup. Fry for one to two minutes on a medium heat, then add the fresh herbs. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

    Set a small frying pan or griddle pan on a medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil and the sugar snaps and fry for two to three minutes until a little charred.

    To make the black bean salsa, add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

    To serve, load two bowls with the rice mixture, black beans salsa, sugar snaps and sliced avocado.

  • Griddled aubergine and peanut salad

    Niki Webster's griddled aubergine and peanut salad
    Niki Webster's griddled aubergine and peanut salad

    Niki says: “This dish has all my favourite flavours – smoky griddled aubergine, fresh and juicy cucumber, salted peanuts and lashings of gorgeously nutty sauce. Don’t skimp on the dressing! And if you do have any left over, use it to drizzle on roast veg to make them even more delicious.”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 2 small aubergines, sliced lengthways
    • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 250g cooked basmati rice
    • 4 mini cucumbers or ½ cucumber, crushed and roughly chopped
    • 2 spring onions, sliced
    • Handful of fresh coriander
    • Handful of salted peanuts

    For the peanut dressing:

    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sriracha
    • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • 5 tbsp coconut milk
    • 2 tsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp brown rice miso paste
    • 2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
    • 1 tsp garlic granules
    • Juice of ½ lime

    Method

    Add the sliced aubergines, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce to a bowl and toss to combine.

    Heat a griddle pan on a medium heat and place a few slices of the aubergine in the pan. Turn a few times until charred and cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining slices.

    To make the peanut dressing, add all the ingredients to a jar and stir to combine.

    Serve the cooked rice topped with the charred aubergine slices, crushed cucumbers, spring onions, coriander, salted peanuts and lots of the dressing.

  • Gochujang veggies with crispy tofu and cashews

    Niki Webster's gochujang veggies with crispy tofu and cashews
    Niki Webster's gochujang veggies with crispy tofu and cashews

    Niki says: “So many glorious flavours and textures here: crunchy veg, crispy tofu and toasted cashews in the most delicious creamy spiced sauce. You can serve it with rice or noodles if you like, but I think it’s more than substantial enough just as it is. What’s gochujang? Gochujang or red chilli paste is a savoury, sweet and spicy fermented condiment popular in Korean cooking. A brilliant ingredient for your store cupboard.”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 5 spring onions, sliced
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil, plus
    • 1 tsp for the tofu
    • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
    • 1 carrot, cut into batons
    • ½ courgette, sliced
    • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
    • 380g firm tofu, drained well and cut into 2cm cubes
    • 3 tsp cashews, toasted
    • Handful of fresh coriander

    For the sauce:

    • 3 tsp gochujang paste
    • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari
    • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 200ml light coconut milk

    Method

    Fry the spring onions in one tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan for four to five minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute. Add the veg and stir for four to five minutes until just tender. Turn off the heat while you fry the tofu and make the sauce.

    Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan or wok. Fry the tofu for one to two minutes on each side until brown and crispy, then transfer to a plate and keep warm.

    To make the sauce, add all the ingredients to a jar and mix to combine.

    Add the sauce to the pan with the veg, stir to combine and turn the heat to medium. Cook for one to two minutes to warm through.

    To serve, top the veg with the crispy tofu, toasted cashews and coriander.

    Rainbow Bowls by Niki Webster (£12.99, Pop Press) is out now

Photography: Niki Webster

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