I recently teamed up with my friend Nicole over at Vestige Home to create this fresh and easy spring meal. Nicole makes gorgeous hand-carved wooden creations, like that walnut bowl pictured above.
Photographing food is always ten times easier when you have beautiful dish-ware to work with!
Inspired by a CSA bounty, we settled on a greens and shiitake saute over this brown rice mix that Nicole picked up from a local New Jersey farm. I had nooo idea that rice could be cultivated on the east coast, let alone right next door to me in New Jersey. Apparently the farm, Bloom Moon Acres, uses a dry farming technique, allowing them to produce rice on a local scale.
The rice was quite tasty and the perfect nutty and chewy compliment to the tender spinach and mustard that came to top it. I’d recommend using a black rice or a black and brown rice mix yourself if making this recipe.
Both Nicole and I were quite pleased with how quickly and easily this recipe came together. After cooking the rice, you can just about?pull this all together in 10 minutes or so.
That’s one of the perks to working with spinach, which cooks up fast in comparison to other greens, as does the komatsuna.
What is komatsuna? Komatsuna is a Japanese mustard green with a flavor profile that lays in between spinach and mustard. It’s definitely a bit milder than regular mustard greens.
Most Asian markets should carry it, as will Whole Foods. However, if you can’t find it, you could swap it for mustard greens, but definitely seek out a baby variety so that you don’t end up with something too bitter for the delicate flavors of this dish.
We chose toasted almonds to top complete the meal, adding a crunch and a subtle nuttiness that wouldn’t overpower the rest of the dish.
To toast, simply heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the almonds. Stirring regularly, cook for 5 minutes or so, until the almonds begin to brown. At this point, you’ll want to remove them from the pan so that they don’t continue to cook and end up burning.
A squeeze of lemon finishes everything off, drawing out the brightness of all of the ingredients.
Serve among two to three people for a light lunch or share among many (six) as a side. Nicole has some nice serving dishes that can help you with this step…!
- 1 cup black or brown rice (or a mix)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups komatsuna Japanese mustard greens or baby mustard greens, chopped
- 1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 lemon
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted over dry heat
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook rice according to package instructions. (For brown rice, this means 2 parts water, 1 part rice. Place in a pan, cover, and bring to a bowl. Then simmer for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.)
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic, and saute until onions are nearly translucent. Stir in mushrooms, and cook another 3-5 minutes, until mushrooms get a nice sear.
- Stir in greens, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until greens are tender, 3-4 minutes. Squeeze lemon on top, and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
- Divide rice between bowls, and top with greens. Scatter almonds across each bowl. Serve.