A simple recipe for tomato rice with zucchini and carrots: vegan, healthy, quick, cheap and so delicious!
You might have noticed that we love eating rice cooked this way. Which is: one pot rice meals with lots of vegetables, sometimes a bit of meat or cheese, but not often, my rice dishes are mostly vegetarian (well, if you use vegetarian cheese when cheese is part of the recipe). You will find quite a few similar rice recipes on my blog, dishes like this Romanian Vegan Vegetable Rice or Pilaf, the Creamy Pumpkin Gorgonzola Risotto or the Spicy One Pot Vegan Pilaf with Lentils and Mushrooms.
These are easy meals, quick to make, so healthy, so cheap and more than delicious. And one thing I know for sure as well, whenever I make one of this rice pots, I can be sure that the kids will eat their food (which is full of vegetables, mind you) without one word of complain.
This tomato rice is one of my favorite versions of the vegetable rice. I like anything with tomatoes, tomatoes are my one food addiction. I actually panic slightly if I notice that there are only two or three tomatoes in my tomato bowl on the counter and I have to go shopping immediately just to make sure that that bowl is full again.
I eat raw tomatoes every day, mostly for both breakfast and dinner, sometimes for lunch too, in form of a salad. And I cook with tomatoes a lot as well. For instance, we had this wonderful Vegan and Healthy Tomato Rice with Zucchini and Carrots only yesterday. And today, here we are again: spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs.
I chose to post this recipe during this Dobrogea/Danube Series on Where Is My Spoon because like I have mentioned in the Easy Skillet White Fish Fillet in Tomato Sauce (tomatoes again), my husband and I had this sort of vegetable tomato rice on our trip in the Danube Delta ten years ago. We met this man in the local pub in Mila 23 and we got into chatting. At one point he mentioned that he had a larger boat, which he lets to tourists in the Danube Delta. He already had three French young men who had booked the boat for a couple of days and they intended to go through the channels in the evening and see the sunset.
He invited us to go as well and told me if anyone should ask, I should say I am his sister and that is why we are on the boat as well, although the boat was already booked. Nobody asked, nobody cared if two more people were there, so we went.
Before we left, he cooked for all of us: a huge pot of tomato and vegetable rice, one of the best rice meals I have ever had. Could have been the fact that it was cooked in this huge cauldron on a boat or the fact that we ate it on water in the heat of that evening, the fact that I had actually watched him cooking, throwing in the old cauldron one ingredient after another, as soon as he was finished chopping them… I don’t know, fact is it was the best rice ever!
After eating, off we went through the narrow Danube channels, waiting for the sun to set. We left the big boat where it was and hopped on a smaller boat and slowly made our way through the vegetation loaded channels until we came to this large opening where we waited for the sun to set while watching the pelicans and admiring the beauty of the water lilies. One of the best memories of my life, I am telling you! 🙂
Vegan and Healthy Tomato Rice with Zucchini and Carrots
And back to the present and this Vegan and Healthy Tomato Rice with Zucchini and Carrots. Make sure you use really tasty ripe tomatoes, I had two huge, juicy, slightly overripe tomatoes, which I bought extra for the rice, I just knew they would be perfect for it. Ignore the tomatoes in the photographs, they were super tasty as well, but they are snack tomatoes, good to eat raw, too expensive to cook them, if you ask me.
If you cannot find really nice ripe tomatoes, than I recommend using one can of whole or chopped tomatoes, they are much tastier and suitable for this kind of dish than unripe tomatoes from the greenhouse. Otherwise, not much to say: some carrots and one small zucchini, green or yellow, if you happen to have it. If not, you could leave it out or replace it with one more carrot or a small bell pepper.
I made this rice dish using long grain rice, but you could use brown rice as well, I did it many times. In that case, you should consider the cooking time, brown rice needs a bit more than 30 minutes. If using brown rice, chop the carrots and the zucchini in somewhat larger chunks, so that they will not be too mushy in the end.
We eat this tomato rice mostly as a main dish with some Green (Unripe) Tomato Pickles or gherkins on the side. A salad would be a great side for the rice as well or you could have the tomato rice as a side dish for fish or chicken. Either way, it is delicious!
And if you would like to see the other Dobrogea recipes from this series have a look at these links:
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 thin carrots
- 1 small zucchini, green or yellow
- 300 g/ 10.5 oz/ a bit more than 1 ½ cups long grain rice
- 2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste
- 450 g/ 1 lbs ripe tomatoes (or a can of whole or chopped tomatoes)
- 600 ml/ 20.3 fl.oz/ 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon sugar, optional, to taste
- salt and pepper
- some fresh thyme or parsley to garnish
Chop the onion and the garlic cloves finely. Heat the oil in pot and cook the onions and the garlic until translucent.
In the meantime chop the carrots into rings. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and slice the quarters. Give the vegetables and the washed rice to the pot, stir well and let cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, the chopped tomatoes, dry thyme and the hot vegetable broth. Add the sugar if using, about ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt and some pepper. Stir well, cover and let come to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked. I prefer the rice to be rather soft when making such a dish. Check and let cook according to your personal taste.
Stir a couple of times in between and add a bit more vegetable broth or hot water if the rice becomes too dry. Most of the liquid should be absorbed at the end of the cooking process, but the dish should not be dry, but nicely wet.
Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the fresh herbs and serve with pickles or salad.