Vegan “Dirty” Brown Rice

This is a wonderful rice dish as a vegan main course or a side dish to a piece of fish or chicken. You can spice it up with any of your favorite vegetables and or hot peppers.  For a protein-rich version add a drained and rinsed can of black or red beans along with the vegetables. (See note in directions.)


1 cup of fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup of fresh cauliflower, chopped
1 cup of sliced carrots
2 cups of long grain brown rice
5 1/2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb or herb blend (optional)
1 can of drained beans or chickpeas (optional for protein if desired)


  1. Combine 2 cups of long grain brown rice and 5 1/2 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring just to a boil. Add carrots and seasonings, stir and bring to a boil. (Add 1-2 tbsp of butter or oil if desired.)
  2. Reduce heat and cover tightly.
  3. Simmer 30 minutes, then lift cover and quickly add the cauliflower and broccoli. Don’t stir.
    Re-cover immediately. [To make this a complete meal with protein, you can add a can of drained beans or chickpeas right here as well.  Add them first, stir the pot, then add the cauliflower and broccoli on top.]
  4. Simmer 15-20 minutes longer, or until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed.
  5. Fluff lightly with a fork and serve.

Nutrition Info

Nutritional Value of Brown Rice (1 cup cooked)

216 Calories
1.8 g Total Fat
0 g Cholesterol
10 mg of Sodium
84 mg of Potassium
45 g Total Carbohydrates
5 g Protein

Nutritional Values of Vegetables (1 cup raw)

73.6 Calories
.8 g Total Fat
0 mg Cholesterol
89 mg Sodium
2607 mg Potassium
15 gr Carbohydrates
5.26 g Protein

Half & Half Comparison

Half & Half is a cream/milk blend that people use in coffee and sometimes cooking. I recently had the opportunity to compare two brands, one “Fat-Free” and the other Organic (but not marked Fat-Free).

At first glance, each type is appealing for different reasons.  The fat-free version is actually quite tasty, although I kept wondering how in the heck they got the fat out and still made it taste good.

Here are the two cartons… Which one would you buy?

It’s probably not all that hard to guess that the Trader Joe’s Organic version is healthier for you, even though it is higher in calories.  However it’s only higher by 20 calories. The “junk” they had to include in the fat-free version in order to make it taste like normal half & half is not worth 20 calories. I’d rather have a few more calories or simply use a half tablespoon less. Here are the ingredients lists, Land O Lakes on the left and Trader Joe’s on the right:

The Trader Joe’s Organic Half & Half is exactly what it’s supposed to be — half milk, half cream. And it’s organic to boot. If you don’t want the calories, use less, or use milk instead.

One final note, I chose not to include a fake “creamer” in my comparison for one single reason – I’d never have it in my house.  It’s crap.  I don’t even want to know what’s in it!

10 Minute Farro Salad

The 10 minutes is a bit misleading. It refers to the type of farro I used: Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro. The actual recipe takes about 30 minutes. It’s best if you let it sit for about an hour after you’ve made it just to let the flavors blend. You could chill it or leave it out at room temperature.


1 bag Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro
1-1/2 C frozen corn
2 large carrots
1 beet
1 large sweet onion
2 stalks of celery with leaves
1 green pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
1/4 cup EVOO
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt & fresh ground pepper
1 tsp Herbs de Provence (or other favorite herb blend)
Optional: crumbled feta, avocados, or sliced olives for garnish


Trader Joe's 10-Minute Farro

Add the bag of farro and 2 cups of water to a pan and turn to high. When it boils turned down to simmer and cover. After 10 minutes remove from heat, add the corn on top, re-cover and let sit for five more minutes.

While farro is cooking, coarsely chop celery, carrot, onion, beet, jalapeno. Add celery and beet pieces to a large bowl. Set the rest aside.

When farro is done, drain and add to the bowl with the beets and celery.

In the same pan in which you cooked the farro, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and turn heat to medium. Sauté the pile of chopped vegetables for about five minutes, then add them to the bowl along with the rest of the oil and vinegar. Season with salt pepper and seasonings and mix well.

Farro Salad

Chill in the fridge for about an hour or so and, if desired, top with crumbled feta and olives just prior to serving. Serve with grilled chicken sausages and a side salad. Or omit the sausage and add a can of drained black beans or chickpeas for a wonderful vegetarian meal.

Farro Salad with Avocados and Sausage