You may have heard, California is literally on fire right now. Temperatures were over 100 degrees all weekend and the very last thing I wanted to do cook in the hot kitchen. It's times like these I'm grateful for my Big Lots crock pot find a few years ago. Crock pot cooking is great for busy days when you can put all your ingredients in early in the day and have a meal ready by dinner, but you don't have to plan that far ahead to cook with your crock pot. The recipe I'm going to give you only take about 2 hours in the crock pot.
This recipe calls for chicken (or vegetable) stock, which I love because it's lower in sodium than broth, and so much more flavorful. If you can find unsalted stock in your grocery store, go with that one, but if your grocer doesn't carry the unsalted variety just regular stock works just as well, and is still 300mg lower in sodium per serving than broth.
Greek Inspired Rice with Vegetables & Tofu
1 3/4 cups uncooked brown rice
1 T canola oil
3 1/2 cup chicken stock (unsalted if you can find it)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 carton of tofu
Heat the canola oil in a skillet and add rice, toast the rice for 2 minutes, add to crock pot. Put onions on skillet and season with oregano and pepper (use as much or as little as you'd like). Saute until translucent, then add garlic. Once garlic is just beginning to brown and onion and garlic mixture is fragrant add a cup or so of the stock to the skillet to deglaze, then add everything in the skillet to the crock pot. Add the rest of the stock to the crock pot and cook on HIGH for roughly 1 1/2 hours.
After 1 1/2 hours, add the chopped pepper. The rice will have absorbed a good amount of the stock by now. After 15 minutes, add in the olives. Let cook for 15 more minutes, while the rice finishes cooking, season the tofu with oregano and pepper and cook in the skillet until lightly browned. Mix the tofu with the rice, and serve with a tablespoon sprinkle of feta cheese on top of each serving.
Now, when you get to about the hour and a half mark the rice is going to look like it's not anywhere close to done. I tell you this from experience - Do not panic! (I panicked). When you come back to add the pepper the rice will look much closer to done, and if you panicked 15 minutes earlier you're going to feel very silly (trust me).
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.