Baking, Bowls, Dinner, Gluten Free, Healthy, One Pot, Vegan

Fluffy Baked Rice with Chickpeas and Crispy Tofu Feta

The fluffiest baked rice with chickpeas and crispy tofu feta… the perfect healthy (but delicious!) dinner. The rice itself is pretty simple. With sweet caramelized onions, chickpeas and green olives, everything bakes in the oven for half an hour. Top it all off with some crispy pan fried tofu feta for some tang, lots of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. Oh, and don’t forget about the flaky sea salt! Vegan, gluten free and easy to make.

baked rice with chickpeas and crispy tofu feta

How to Make Fluffy Baked Rice with Chickpeas

Up until now, I’ve always been a firm believer in cooking rice on the stove. For brown rice and other grains its a pretty foolproof method once you get the hang of it, but basmati rice is a whole other story. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like every time I cook it over the stove, the grains end up mushing together. I found that baking your basmati in the oven covered by a sheet of tin foil, gives you perfect, fluffy grains every time. Add in some aromatics, herbs, and chickpeas, and you’ve got a pretty fabulous meal.

To make baked rice with chickpeas, start by sautéing an onion in a good amount of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook for as long as you’ve got time. I personally like to get some deep caramelization going, so that takes around 20-25 minutes at least. However, if you just want to get it in the oven, cook until the onions are translucent and golden. In goes a little garlic and the chickpeas, where they’ll crisp up a little before baking. At this point, I like to reserve about a 1/2 cup for garnish, but this is up to you.

I’ve found that rice bakes more evenly in a rectangular baking dish as opposed to a large skillet, but if you want to make this a one pot meal, just go ahead and add the rest of the ingredients to your pot. Make sure you have enough room, the edges should be at least 4 inches tall. The rice bakes for about half an hour then comes out of the oven and rests for another 10 minutes. Try not to open the foil for too long or all the steam will escape. While it rests, chops some herbs and a few lemon slices before digging in.

baked rice with chickpeas and crispy tofu feta

The Best Tofu Feta

This tofu feta might use be the best part of the whole meal. I adapted this recipe from Joe Yonan’s cookbook, Cool Beans. Strongly recommend checking it out. Anyway, the tofu marinates in lemon juice, olive oil, a little apple cider vinegar and miso paste for a little added umami. For maximum tang and flavor, marinate the tofu overnight in the refrigerator and then let it come to room temperature before serving. If you don’t have time, just leave it on the counter for an hour or two and it will still be delicious.

While this tofu feta is great as is, I thought crisping it up in a pan would help add some texture to the rice. This is super easy, there’s already oil in the marinade so no need to add anymore. Since tofu does have a high water content, the oil will sputter and fly everywhere if the heats on too high. Because of this, use a high sided pan if you have it and keep the heat down pretty low. The tofu can’t really get overcooked, so don’t worry if it takes a while to brown. As mentioned before, a pinch of flaky salt right before serving does wonderful things.

baked rice with chickpeas and crispy tofu feta

Tips for Making Baked Rice

  • For extra fluffy rice, make sure you rinse the uncooked grains thoroughly before adding to the dish. Swish it around in a bowl of water and drain. Repeat until the water runs clear (or relatively clear). This gets rid of any excess starch and keep the grains from clumping together.
  • If you’re not vegan or don’t like tofu, normal feta would also work here. However, this tofu feta is really quite good and adds a little more protein to the meal.
  • The crispy tofu feta is best fresh, so if you know you’re going to have leftovers, leave some of the uncooked tofu in the marinade and crisp it up the next day. You can also just serve it as it, without pan frying.

Want More Healthy Dinner Recipes? Try These!

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Baked rice with chickpeas and crispy tofu feta

Fluffy Baked Rice with Chickpeas and Crispy Tofu Feta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Easy baked rice with chickpeas, green olives and lots of fresh herbs. Served with crispy marinated tofu feta, perfect for a vegan weeknight dinner or healthy comfort meal.

Ingredients

For the tofu feta

  • 1 14 oz block extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt

For the baked rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice, thoroughly rinsed**
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 28 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Chopped herbs (cilantro, parsley and/or mint)
  • Fresh lemon juice for serving

Instructions

For the crispy tofu feta

  1. To make the tofu feta, wrap the block of tofu in several paper towels press down gently to remove excess moisture. Repeat this once or twice until the tofu has dried considerably. Cut the block into 2 inch slabs and add to a resealable container.
  1. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over the tofu, lifting up each piece so it gets covered by the marinade. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving or ideally, refrigerate overnight. Make sure you allow it come to room temperature before pan frying.
  2. Before serving: After the tofu has marinated, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place the slabs onto the hot pan, making sure not to over crowd. Cook 3-4 minutes each side, until browned and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel and (optionally) add a pinch of flaky sea salt.

For the baked rice

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until browned and lightly carmelized, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and chickpeas, cook for about 5 minutes more until the chickpeas begin to crisp. At this post you can optionally reserve a few for garnish.
  4. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a large rectangular baking dish. Stir in rice, green olives and salt.
  5. Pour over 3 1/2 cups of boiling water and tightly seal the dish with tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes, until the the rice is fluffy and just beggining to brown around the edges. Allow the rice to sit for 10 minutes before removing the foil.
  6. Serve with fresh chopped herbs, crispy tofu feta and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Notes

**For extra fluffy rice, rinse until the water runs clear. This may take a few minutes.

Tofu feta recipe adapted from Cool Beans by Joe Yonan

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1678mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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