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I know. This recipe title isn’t that enticing. I tried to think of something catchier, but the name is right. When I had this for the first time it was exactly what I was craving: tons of vegetables and brown rice.

After 4 days at a conference, my brain literally ached – information overload. Then there was the lack of sunshine, speaker after speaker sunup to sundown, and, worst of all, conference food. By the time we left, I felt desperate for vegetables.

Our trip went like this: first the conference, then on to my dad’s to complete a momentous project, next driving up the California and Oregon coasts, then through The Redwood Forest toward home.

Brown Rice and Vegetables with White Bean Tahini Sauce

Within an hour of our arrival in Sebastopol, we were having lunch at East West Cafe – a restaurant that was mercifully generous with vegetables. I ordered a dish very similar to the one in this post, then returned the next day and ordered it again. After the second lunch, I felt nearly revived.

Our visit’s aim was important, epic even. My dad is a painter and we’d come to digitally capture his work. By the time we arrived, he had completed the arduous task of narrowing 50 years of work down to the 20 paintings he wanted to photograph. I swell with pride to think of it. 

We rented professional lighting, recorded details, and photographed each one. All of this to build an online gallery, complete with stories recounting what inspired each painting. His notes are in text on the site, but you can also read them from his own meticulous, hand printed notes. Here is one of my favorites:

Larissa Veronica Madonna Artists Notes

You’ll have to visit the gallery to see the painting that goes with it –

It’s hard to describe what it felt like to spend the day with my dad, working together to record his life’s work. We took a lunch break and sat in the backyard at a little table that he’d covered with a tablecloth. He’d made a salad that had green beans and a creamy dressing and we laughed and talked. It felt like wonder.

The wonder continued as we drove home: the vast, sparkling  sea, tide pools teeming with life, colossal trees that seemed sacred.

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Brown Rice and Vegetables with White Bean Tahini Sauce

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Calories: 622
Servings: 4 people
You can easily make this vegan if you like by skipping the cheese.


  • 1 cup short grain brown rice cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 zucchini squash diced
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli cut into florets
  • 2 ounces Monterey jack cheese shredded

For the White Bean Tahini Sauce:

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (or 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans drained)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • water as needed
  • salt to taste


  • Heat water over medium-high heat in a pan with a steamer insert.
  • Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add slivered almonds to skillet; cook and stir until lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Add zucchini and broccoli to steamer basket and cover. Steam for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender.
  • While the vegetables steam, make the white bean tahini sauce. Combine garlic, white beans, tahini, and lemon juice in a blender pitcher. Blend until smooth, adding water as needed to reach a creamy sauce consistency. Salt to taste.
  • To assemble the dish: divide rice among 4 serving bowls; divide vegetables among the bowls; pour white bean tahini sauce over vegetables. Top each serving with shredded cheese and toasted almonds.


Recipe cook time does not include rice cooking time.


Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 1476mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1272IU | Vitamin C: 155mg | Calcium: 336mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes says:

    Hey Verónica! It was such a popular name when I was in school! Everything about this post is wonderful, starting with your dad’s work, your pride for him, this tahini sauce – love it!- and the fact that the woman we would bring to life is in a robe and drinking a glass of wine! oh, and that star fish too

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Your dad’s work is beautiful Marissa! 😀 I love the colours that he uses! And I hear you about conference food and speakers. I recently went on one and it was interesting but I longed for simple, good food with flavour!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you Lorraine. 🙂 I’m really proud of him…

  3. Lorraine stuart says:

    I love your story, pictures, and yes, the recipe too, dear Marissa Veronica!

    1. Marissa says:

      My dear Lorraine. xoxo