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White rice and ramen

White rice and ramen

by Jenna Verhoeven

When I was at art school my fellow art students and I fully immersed ourselves in the clichéd artist role. Whilst many of us could happily afford a few bottles of oh-so-classy vino, litre bottles of vodka, or our weight in beer, we just could not justify buying real food. Instead, we chose to play the starving student, and opted to live on white rice, ramen, or mi goreng. Not the good stuff, but the two-dollars-a-packet jobs.

Tasty? Yes.

Easy? Yes

Nutritionally sound? Not so much.

There is nothing wrong with a tasty bowl of any of the above, when well-made. Living off of them, however, without adding fresh ingredients could be doing yourself a disservice.

Here are some tasty, easy, and nutritionally balanced alternatives that you might want to whip up for your housemates next time you are trying to either; a) impress them, or b) ask a favour.

Cauliflower rice

Dead easy, dead tasty. Grab a head of cauliflower, break into florets, and roughly chop the stalk. Throw the whole lot into a food processor. After a couple of pulses, the cauliflower will look like little grains of rice. From here you can heat it in a dry (no oil) frying pan on medium to high heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, spread out the cauli-rice on a baking tray lined with foil; pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes of 180C until the ‘rice’ has lost some of its moisture.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, chuck in some fresh herbs such as coriander, in the pulsing stage; it really adds a punch to curries.

Zoodles (zucchini noodles)

Requires a super fun (cheap) kitchen gadget, a spiralizer. We had been gifted one from my partner’s folks, and to be honest, I thought it was pointless; oh how wrong I was!

To make Zoodles, grab one zucchini per person, put it in the spiralizer and twist. Long, lovely, silky zucchini ribbons will appear like magic. As they are quite thin, it is best it you add these at the last minute to a pasta sauce, or to quickly blanch them. Do not boil! If you try cook them like pasta, they will end up a soggy mess.

Spaghetti Squash

Nature’s pasta. A vegetable that naturally turns to noodles when you bake it. Genius!

Head on over to your Harris Farm or a local farmers market. Buy a spaghetti squash; if it’s just you are cooking for, buy the smallest one you can find. Preheat your oven to 200C. Cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Put the squash, cut side down, onto a foil lined baking tray and bake it for 30-45 minutes, depending on how your oven cooks. Once the flesh is nice in tender, take the squash out of the oven and let it cool, just enough so that you can handle it. Using a fork, gently tease out the flesh, and Voila! Natures noodles!

Spaghetti squash is perfect for any spaghetti sauce and topping you desire!

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