Friday, February 15, 2013

Lunchbox challenge: Vegetable-packed stir fried rice with beans

Cate's February challenge for 'Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food', over at Cate's Cates, is lunchboxes. When I saw this at the start of the month, I was quite excited. As you might guess from my obsession with small Tupperware-like containers, my personality aligns nicely with lunchboxes. They are organised, structured, and contain food. What more could one want?

It is actually a minor source of regret that I don't have anyone to pack a lunchbox for. Mr Bite makes his own work lunches, and doesn't take a lunchbox per se. Also, he pretty much has the same thing every day. The closest I can get to excitement is baking him biscuits to swap in for the commercial biscuits that he would otherwise take for afternoon tea.

Packing lunch for myself isn't as fun as making up a package for someone else...unless I have a lunchbox challenge to think about, and then it becomes a little more enjoyable.

So, thank you, Cate, for providing me with a lunchbox focus for this month at least!



My lunchbox challenge recipe is a vegetable-packed stir fried rice with peas. To round this out, I packed up a lunchbox with fruit (a plum and a nectarine), raw almonds and goji berries, and some of that vegan pebble road.



The stir fried rice recipe was made up as I went along, so it is fortunate that it turned out as well as it did. There is star anise in the mix. It is easy to make. It is delicious cold. In all, it is perfect to make ahead and then take to work, school, or just have at home for lunch the next day.


Ideally, this would be made using rice that has been cooked ahead and cooled. However, if you're like me, that may not be possible or you may not be organised enough to manage it. I didn't, and this still worked fine.

Vegetable-packed stir fried rice with beans
Makes 2 lunch-sized serves
Vegan

Print recipe

Ingredients
Generous 1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 star anise flower
~1 tsp olive oil
2 shallots (or spring onions, or 1/2 a brown onion)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 small capsicum, diced
1 small carrot, diced
~1/8 white cabbage, finely chopped or shredded in a food processor
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, black eyed peas and/or white beans (I used 1/4 cup each of chickpeas and black eyed peas)

Method
Cook the rice according to packet instructions, but with the addition of the star anise to the saucepan. When cooked, set the rice aside to cool (if time permits) or to sit while you cook the vegetables.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and saute the onions until tender. Add the capsicum and carrot and stir fry briefly, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, soy sauce and rice and mix through well. Stir fry over low heat for a further 3 - 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas / black eyed peas, mix through, and then remove from heat.

This can be served immediately, but is delicious served cold.


Submitted to Cate's February lunchbox challenge for 'Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food'. 

Do you make work lunches or packed lunches for anyone else? If so, do you take a lunchbox or just random assortments of food? 

Despite my enjoyment of this challenge, I will confess to my work lunches more usually being of the random assortment variety than the neatly packed lunchbox variety!


34 comments:

  1. Oh, this looks lovely! I must admit, being back in the thick of things at work has meant I haven't participated in my own challenge yet - shameful! And now I just want to cook everyone else's lunches instead of my own...

    Thanks so much for joining this challenge!

    Catherine

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    1. Thanks for hosting Catherine :-) It was really fun to do, although I relate to the challenges of making time for lunch consideration when work is full on!

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  2. I love the look of your lunchbox! Yumm. I'm more of a leftovers and whatever won't get squashed in my bag kind of lunch girl. I've been known to grab whole carrots and cucumbers.. fruit and nuts/seeds are a usual addition but anything's fine with me. This is making me think I should put more thought into it though!

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    1. To be honest, my lunches are often a lot like yours ;)

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  3. I use my six pack cooler to carry all my meals and use the containers that come with it. I tend to throw and mix together all the foods and not have anything really separated to look all nice and neat. I'm a messy girl..lol

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  4. I just love stir fry, and the star anise sounds like the perfect addition.

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    1. Thanks Colynn - I really loved it :)

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  5. I have one of those lunchboxes but don't use it now. Your post reminded me that I had some salads to bring for lunch and forgot because it was a crazy morning. I used to make great soups for lunch but now just take leftovers or some baked beans or canned soup. Sigh! But I do love fried rice - often make extra rice just so I have some leftover for fried rice - and Sylvia has been asking for tofu bacon so maybe some fried rice will feature in my kitchen soon

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    1. I actually don't use this lunchbox all that often either - it is a bit too big and I don't like that I have to get the whole thing out if I want to eat just one component! I normally take multiple small containers instead, but this has at least proved useful for this post.

      I haven't made tofu bacon for a while but this made me think I need to make it again promptly. Sylvia has the right idea!

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  6. I pack four school/work lunches everyday! I try hard to make them interesting and yummy because when I was at school I had vegemite sandwiches for 14 years straight :0!

    My kids would love whats in your lunchbox... and so would I, delicious and healthy.

    I will have to try this challenge, it will make me think a little harder about the lunches I am packing the family ;)

    I am updating my blogroll over the next week and I noticed that I had someone how missed you lovely blog :0! All has been corrected now and you are included in my foodie friends xx

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    1. You reminded me that my own blog roll was a little out of date, and didn't include you, so thanks for your comment so I could rectify that :)

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  7. That is the cutest lunch box I have ever seen! I have packed my lunches and snacks to work everyday for over two years now. I used to make my husband lunch, but I caught him one too many times eating his lunch for his midnight snack!

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    1. Bahahah...that is very funny :-) I am glad you stopped, he can make his own midnight snacks I think!

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  8. I'm a bit over packed lunches for myself! The rice looks totally lovely though.
    I still enjoy packing my daughters lunch though - and she does have the same lunchbox ;-)

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    1. I guess I am child-like in lots of ways ;)

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  9. Oh my goodness that looks amazing! I love packing my lunch up! I mostly do it at night and then put it in my lunch bag before I head out the door to start my day! :) I really love doing it too! :)

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    1. Doing it at night is a really good idea! I try and make enough at dinner to have for lunch, but still pack everything up in the morning. I might try switching :)

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  10. I bought Alfie the exact same lunch box. It takes it to school every day. Your lunch looks a lot more interesting than what he gets though! xx

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    1. That is at least two children whose lunch box I share :-) I find it hard to believe that with the food coming out of your kitchen, his is less interesting than mine!

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  11. You should try making Bento Boxes (Japanese-style lunchboxes where they go crazy and make the food into a beautiful vignette)... then you can use those cute, tupperware containers, and you'll have a reason to pack up a lunchbox! ;)

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  12. I definitely don't make stir fries enough! They reheat so well and make for great lunches.

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  13. Ummmm, I think I need you as my personal lunch box-packer.... pronto!

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  14. Kari, you can come and make my lunch any day - this looks amazing!

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    1. With pleasure :-) Although, the distance might be a challenge...

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  15. What a yum looking lunch! S doesn't eat lunch (I know, he is rather mad) so I only get to make it for myself. Being summer I'm locked in a cycle of salads with tuna. Come winter I get more interesting as I prefer a hot meal but every summer day I'm perfectly happy with salad.

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    1. Salad is an easy match for summer, especially if you have one you can make up in advance. I was eating spinach with lentils and sweet potato all of last week and I didn't get sick of it even after 4 days! I'm glad you have a good routine, even if S's is questionable :P

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  16. I've never seen star anise called a "star anise flower" before. It's pretty.

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    1. I honestly had no idea what to call it. Is there another name?! Or do you just say "1 star anise"?! Google was no help and I figured flower was accurate in appearance if nothing else :P

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  17. I love cute lunch boxes! I'm excited to have kids and pack lunches, ha ha, lame as that sounds. :) I don't usually use a lunch box, usually just a bunch of different pyrex containers. Should probably get a bento box one of these days!

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    1. I know what you mean re. the packing lunch boxes - if only I could have that part of motherhood and not the more messy aspects!

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