One Pot Vegetable Rice
I, like all you other mums and dads, am always looking for inspiration for meals the whole family can eat, not just the little ones - they mean less preparation, less cooking and less fuss. I have three rules: meals must be nutritious, full of colour and, most importantly, enjoyed by my clean little tummies. No one likes an arduous teatime when little voices moan!
One of my all-time favourite authors on clean, healthy eating is 'Deliciously Ella'. Her site is full of inspirational recipes which simultaneously make your mouth water while ticking the "healthy, colourful and nutritious" box. As a mum, the only problem I find is that some of the meals are a little advanced for little palettes.
Undeterred, and armed with inspiration from Deliciously Ella's Every Day cook book, I have adapted one of her recipes to suit the taste buds of my clean little tummies. The ingredients are similar but I've adjusted certain things to make it quicker and gentler on little palettes. It has been a big hit with my three clean little tummies.
The great thing about this rice dish is that you can use any vegetable you like and know works for your family, or anything you have in the fridge. In fact, it's a brilliant way to use up tired-looking veggies - they come back to life in the dish. You can even add some chicken or fish if you want to add more protein. My recipe uses white basmati rice, as that is the quickest to cook, which I always find important when our one-year-old baby bear is hanging off my legs from about 4pm wanting his tea! 'Deliciously Ella' uses whole-grain rice, which is super tasty and provides extra fibre and slow release energy, but if it's speed you're after, go with basmati or a quick-cook rice. The coconut milk provides a sweetness kick, which is what I believe made this meal such a hit with the clean little tummies.
500g basmati rice
1 can coconut milk
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp paprika
6 tomatoes roughly chopped
a few saffron threads (optional- it does give a nice flavour and makes the rice a beautiful golden yellow, but it's a not a cheap ingredient)
Vegetables - for this meal I used, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, a handful of green beans, a handful of frozen peas and about 100g chestnut mushrooms. All chopped to the size you like. For baby led weaning babies, long pieces of pepper and green beans are perfect for little fingers.
How do I do it? Is it is easy? Yes!!
Start by heating some olive oil on the stove in a big dish, add the peppers, mushrooms, beans, lemon juice and paprika
Once the vegetables start to soften, add the tomatoes and saffron (if using), mix in well.
Add the rice, the coconut milk and then fill the can with water and stir well. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15/20 minutes until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are soft. If using peas, add about 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
Keep an eye on the rice, giving it the occasional stir and if it looks like it needs more liquid add some boiling water.
For me, the best thing about this recipe is the endless possibilities. Choose any vegetables you like, mix up the rice (although this will affect cooking time, wholemeal rice takes nearer 45 minutes to soften), add some chicken or fish. If it is just for myself & Mr J we will add some more paprika, garlic & some extra spices. Do what ever takes your fancy.
Love Caroline & the three clean little tummies xxx
Inspired by a recipe by Ella Woodward from her bestselling book 'Deliciously Ella Every Day'