Have you ever wondered what rice pudding taste would like if it were savory? Well, I was pondering that very question this morning. And hence this hearty, satisfying dish was born. I have always loved leeks, so when I saw them at the farmer’s market I knew they were destined for this recipe. I also happened to have some pesto I’d made a few days earlier (I promise to post my pesto recipe sometime soon!) which adds a wonderful herby flavor. Sauteed bell peppers add both color and sweetness. This makes a wonderful light dinner entree (and is also easy to pack in your work lunchbox). This recipe makes enough for two tarts, which could easily feed 6-8 people depending what else you’re serving. My version has eggs but it would be pretty easy to make this vegan by using silken tofu, and increasing the amount of flour or cornstarch you add to help it hold together.
- 1.5 cups brown rice (I used short grain)
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tbsp or 1 cube of vegan broth powder/boullion (I used Seitenbacher or Rapunzel brand)
- 3 small leeks (when chopped, should yield 3-4 cups)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sized bell pepper (red or yellow) or two small sweet heirloom peppers
- 1/2 cup basil pesto (I make a vegan version, will share the recipe with you soon!)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk or almond milk or real milk
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch or gluten-free flour
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Daiya mozzarella style vegan shreds, but if you want to use real cheese I bet Gruyere would be amazing)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
First things first: Get the rice cooking, since brown rice takes a while! Add the rice, water and broth mix to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil, stirring very occasionally. To accelerate the rice cooking, I kept it at a pretty good boil for most of the time, lowering the temp when needed to avoid it overflowing (took about 25 min – as opposed to 45 min if you cook it the official way, lowering the heat to a simmer after it boils).
While the rice is cooking, wash the leeks thoroughly and slice into thin (about 1/4 inch) slices. Use the whole leek, not just the white part! Just remember leeks tend to be very muddy inside, so I actually peel off the outer layers in order to get all the dirt out before chopping.
Saute the leeks in the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat until tender. Meanwhile, chop the peppers and add, cooking until just tender. Now is the time you want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
When the rice is fully cooked, add it directly to your veggies (honestly, you could just stop here and have a delicious dish to eat if you are short on time!).
Now mix in the pesto. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and cornstarch together. Add the cheese, salt and pepper. Add the rice and veggie mixture to your mixing bowl and give it a good mix.
Grease two 9-inch pie plates. Pour half of the mixture into each one. Bake for about 25 min until the edges brown and the tarts are cooked through. Slice and serve warm.