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BROWN RICE BOWL WITH MAPLE-ROASTED PARSNIPS, FENNEL, DATES,Here parsnips are roasted until caramelized and spoon-tender, then finished with maple syrup for a hint of sweetness that works beautifully against the spicy earthiness of the pumpkin seeds and the slight citrusy sweetness of the orange-mint vinaigrette. You could totally use any kind of root vegetable instead, from carrots to rutabaga, radishes, turnips, and kohlrabi, or a wonderful root-y medley of everything.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 0.33 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 3 medium-size parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and
  • quartered lengthwise
  • 3 medium-size shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1½ cups long-grain brown rice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup pitted, chopped dates
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks removed, halved, cored, and thinly
  • sliced (chop some fronds for serving, optional)
How to Make It
  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. 2. 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 onto a small square of aluminum foil, transfer the foil to a rimmed sheet pan, and toast the seeds in the oven until they are slightly puffed looking and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. 3. To make the rice bowls: Place the parsnips and shallots in a medium-size bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Turn them out onto the 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°F.
  4. 4. 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 on 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).
  5. 5. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup olive oil with the orange juice, rice vinegar, and remaining ¼ 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.
  6. 6. 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).

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