Signs of fall: changing leaves, shorter days, pumpkin spice everywhere, and the desire to eat hearty root vegetables with every meal. This fall rice bowl recipe centers maple-roasted parsnips in a hearty, cozy dinner with a medley of flavor. And everything—even the rice—is cooked on a sheet pan.
Here, parsnips are roasted with shallots until caramelized and spoon-tender, then finished with a drizzle of maple syrup that pairs beautifully with the spicy crunch from the pumpkin seeds, and the slightly sweet orange-mint vinaigrette. Parsnips, whose peak season starts around September and continues through spring, are the star, but any kind of root vegetable would work, including carrots, rutabaga radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, or a mix of what’s in season.
Then, there’s the rice. It may sound improbable, but James Beard-nominated cookbook author, and the developer of this recipe, Raquel Pelzel, has learned how to cook rice in a pan that’s perfectly fluffy. (And she taught us a few other things we didn’t know about how to use sheet pans.) Pelzel calls her discovery “unexpectedly wonderful” and “surprisingly straightforward.” She
The sheet pan rice in this recipe is cooked with chopped dates, which help balance the savory, earthy flavors. All you have to do is spread the rice, dates, and water evenly on the pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake.
Everything in this brown rice bowl is cooked on a sheet pan (even the rice)
Brown Rice With Maple-Roasted Parsnips and Shallots
For the spicy pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
For the rice bowl
- 3 medium-sized parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and quartered lengthwise
- 3 medium-sized shallots, halved and thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks removed, halved, cored, and thinly sliced (chop some fronds for serving, optional)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the spicy pumpkin seeds: Whisk the cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, paprika, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil until combined. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Turn the seeds out into a small square of aluminum foil, transfer the foil to a rimmed sheet pan, and toast the seeds until they are slightly puffed looking and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
To make the rice bowls: Place the parsnips and shallots in a medium-sized bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Turn them out onto a rimmed sheet pan and roast until tender, 17 to 20 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large plate and toss with the maple syrup; reserve the sheet pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wearing oven mitts, add the rice to the sheet pan, spreading it in an even layer. Pull the oven rack out partway, place the pan back onto it, carefully add the boiling water, and sprinkle in the dates. Cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil (you may need 2 sheets), crimping it tightly around the edges to seal. Bake until the rice is tender and the water is evaporated, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and set it aside (keep it covered).
Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the orange juice, rice vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons and pour the rest over the rice. Add the mint and fluff the mixture with a fork.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Place the sliced fennel in a small bowl, add the reserved vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Top each rice bowl with equal amounts of fennel. Divide the parsnips and shallots among the bowls and garnish with the spiced pumpkin seeds and fennel fronds (if using).
Excerpted from Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Ken Carlson, Waterbury Publications, Inc., Des Moines, IA