Vegetable Grain Medley with Sweet Balsamic, White Wine & Sun-dried Tomato Reduction

Last week, I got over my fear of piercings and decided to get a nose ring.

It wasn’t that bad.

Last night, I got over my fear of cooking Italian food.

It was momentous.

Vegetable Grain Medley

with Sweet Balsamic, White Wine & Sun-dried Tomato Reduction

(Serves 3-4)

•1 cup 365 brand Rice & Lentil Medley, dry (or grain of choice)

•2 cups water

•2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

•2 cloves garlic, minced

•1/4 white onion, diced

•1/3 cup white wine

•1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

•1 tbsp sundried tomatoes, finely chopped (I used preserves in oil)

•1/2 tbsp honey, if desired

•4 asparagus spears, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

•1 large carrot, sliced

•1/4 zucchini, sliced into half-moons

•1/4 summer squash, sliced into half-moons

•2/3 large portabello mushroom, sliced into thin pieces

•1 handful spinach

•1/4 block of tofu, cubed (if desired)

•1-2 sprigs of each: rosemary, sage, thyme

•Mozzarella style Daiya cheese, if desired

•4-5 cherry tomatoes, if desired

Combine 1 cup Rice & Lentil mix with 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil (or cook same about of your grain of choice). Cover with lid and simmer for 30-45 minutes. In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add white wine, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomato and honey (if desired) and cook over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced. It should steam, bubble, and reduce into a nice sauce (this smells amaaaazing on the stove!).

In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a medium to large pan. Add remaining vegetables, diced your fresh herbs, add them to the pan and cook until the veggies are tender.

Add tofu & reduction sauce when it is ready to the pan and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve with rice & lentil mix. Top with Mozzarella daiya cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes, if desired.

I tend to shy away from salty and oily dishes. I guess this is because I eat a LOT of nut butter and get my oils from other places. I let got of that hesitance with this dish and the turnout was delicious! It would have been nice to have sun-dried tomatoes that weren’t drowning in oil. You can cut out extra oil by steaming your vegetables and then mixing it with the reduction. As you can see, I don’t use a lot of salt – but I’m sure a sprinkle in the rice & lentil mix, as well as one on the vegetables would really bring out the flavor.

This was my first time trying vegan cheese, and I must say – I’m pleased. Daiya cold and fresh out of the package? Not as tasty as it melted over veggies and rice. Gotta give that stuff a little heat before it’s edible (in my humble opinion).

I also experimented with sugar-free pumpkin butter last week-

I’ll get that recipe up soon.

Until then. Eat, drink, and be merry.

And watch this marathon of the Nutcracker that’s on TV like me!