REVIEW: Fearne Cotton’s Rice & Veggie Bowl from the Happy Vegan Cookbook
Happy Vegan Cookbook Review

Welcome to my Happy Vegan Cookbook Review! I tried out the Rice & Veggie Bowl dish to see how the steps, portion sizes and taste turn out. 

There is something really satisfying about a big, warm buddha bowl-style dish. I love curry or pizza as much as the next guy, but you just can’t beat a buddha bowl for hitting the spot when you’re hungry but not in the mood for cooking anything too adventurous.

One of my favourite things about cooking is to explore how textures and flavours complement each other, and Fearne Cotton talks a lot about this in her cookbook Happy Vegan. Her Rice and Veggie Bowl recipe really shows how easy it is to prepare a nutritionally balanced and delicious meal in no time at all.

Here’s the recipe:

For the dressing

  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

For the rice and vegetables

  • 450g cooked brown rice
  • 400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 60g kale, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • 400g smoked tofu, drained and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Guide & Review

chopped sweet potato and tofu

Before you do anything, I highly recommend dicing the sweet potatoes into 1x1inch squares. Once diced, boil in a pan or, if you’re lazy like me, in the microwave. Popping them in the microwave to cook keeps them out of the way while you prep other ingredients.

Top tip: Have the rice cooking whilst you are making the sauce. I did not do this and it would have saved about 10-15 minutes.

I followed Fearne’s instructions to dry-fry the sesame seeds for a few minutes – but be careful here, as they can burn quickly and it’s easy to forget when you’re busy in the kitchen. Once fried, I added them to a jug in which to whisk with the ginger, garlic, miso paste, soy sauce and sesame oil. I then drizzled the sauce over the cooked rice, as per Fearne’s instructions.

Tofu time…

Fearne states that the tofu is to be seasoned well, and to be honest, this is great advice for any recipe involving tofu as it starts out as a bit of a blank flavour ‘canvas’. I am a big fan of the brand Tofoo, as it’s generally already seasoned! But any non-silken tofu will work well in this dish. Start by draining the tofu, and then cut into small squares and place in a large frying pan. 

frying beans kale and tofu

As the kale is the only thing that needs to be cooked through at this point, give this a light fry – being careful not to mix the items together too much as the tofu is delicate. I found that this was an ideal time to sprinkle some salt and pepper over the ingredients to give some seasoning. I then added a bit of paprika, which isn’t in the recipe but I just love paprika with tofu!

Once the kale had started to soften, it was time to place everything next to each other, on the bed of rice and dressing. You’ll soon discover that I put sriracha sauce and sriracha mayonnaise on pretty much everything… so squiggle a little of these on top of your dish, for good measure!

My pro-tip for this recipe would be to try and multitask when you can if you are short on time. For example, boil the sweet potatoes and rice whilst you make the sauce and cook the toppings. As always, start by chopping & prepping everything at the beginning to make sure you can give the food your undivided attention once it’s cooking.

The Verdict

To conclude, I really loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again. The instructions are easy to follow and it was quick to make. The recipe says it serves 4, but I’d say if you have a big appetite like me, it’s more like 3 servings. Simply cook a little more rice and dressing to make this dish go further. I also tried the dish without the raw spring onion on top and it tasted just as good, so I’d say this ingredient is non-essential.

cooked happy vegan rice and veggie bowl

If you love the kidney beans in this dish, why not check out our Seitan Spaghetti Meatballs recipe for more?

This post isn’t sponsored. We just really love the recipe & wanted to share our honest opinion! But if you want to give this and other recipes a go, you can buy Happy Vegan here.

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