’m just going to come out and say it – family lunches aren’t easy. I recently stumbled across this video on YouTube on the hardest thing about being vegan , and I’d say that to a certain extent I agree – people can be a handful.
I used to think I had it rough as an Arab, Muslim vegan – but the truth is, there is hardly a culture out there where veganism isn’t out of the norm. Sure, certain communities are a lot more open to and accepting of vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diets but for the most old habits die hard. People like their meat and often aren’t willing to see beyond their own plates to understand why anyone else would actively choose to avoid it (let alone dairy and other animal products).
But you know what? That’s fine because I’m no preachy vegan. I’ll gladly offer my opinion when asked, and will hastily accept a challenge to debate why humans shouldn’t consume dairy products (as a co-worker of mine recently found out) but for the most part, I keep to myself. What I do like to share however, is food. I believe in food as activism in every sense of the word. So when it was time for another family lunch – I came armed with some sweet beet and sumac hummus , and my healthy, vegan spin on an Egyptian dish usually made with coriander and calrose rice.
Broad Bean and Dill Brown Rice Pilaf
- 1 cup long-grain or basmati brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups frozen broad beans
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water (I used one of each)
- 3/4 cup of fresh dill, roughly chopped with some reserved for garnish
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp olive or flax seed oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Sautee the onions in a little bit vegetable stock or oil until slightly translucent.
- Add the rice along with the rest of the vegetable stock (or water if using) and season with a pinch of salt if desired (note that vegetable stock already has a fair bit of sodium in it). Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until almost cooked (this may vary according to what kind of brown rice you use and the cooking time stipulated on the packaging, mine was brown basmati and takes about 45 minutes to cook completely).
- At this point add the dill, and broad beans. Adjust water accordingly and simmer for a further 15 minutes until beans are cooked through and rice is fragrant.
While still hot, stir in the olive oil and lemon juice and season with black pepper. Sprinkle some fresh dill on top and serve warm.
I’m glad to report that this was extremely well received by the familia, as was the hummus which was polished off within minutes.
Nothing makes me happier than cooking a dish for friends or family to show them how delicious and satisfying a healthy vegan meal can be. Even if I don’t season with a hefty pinch of ethical reasoning, the next time someone tells them how veganism is beneficial to our health, animals and the planet – they might not be so quick to brush it off.