Try Matt Preston's Aleppo herb rice salad bowl

Gone are the grey-meat-and-potatoes menus of the past. Each of these recipes capture the happiness that good food can bring. More combines Matt Preston's passion for simple, hearty recipes with his love of the humble veggie to bring the whole family to the table for a delicious meal. This is a book of delicious recipes, starring vegetables, with more of everything: more flavour, more texture, more colour.

  • Total time


  • Prep time


  • Amount


  • Ingredients
    • 400 g (2 cups) long-grain brown rice
    • 875 ml (3 ½ cups) vegetable stock
    • 6 small beetroot bulbs
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 garlic clove
    • crushed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (or Aleppo pepper
    • which is available online)
    • 6 Lebanese eggplants
    • halved lengthways
    • _esh scored in a crisscross
    • 235 g (1 cup) walnut halves
    • 260 g (1 cup) thick natural yoghurt
    • 1 tablespoon tahini
    • ¼ cup _nely shredded mint sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 100 g baby spinach leaves
    • 2 zucchini
    • peeled with a peeler into ribbons
    • 1 x 75 g punnet pomegranate arils (which is what posh correct people call those gemlike seeds)
    • extra virgin olive oil
    • sumac and lemon wedges
    • to serve

Place the rice and stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, then cover and leave the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff up the grains with a fork, then set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line two large baking rays with baking paper.

Trim the stems off the beetroot, leaving a little still attached to the bulb. Reserve the stems and leaves. Wrap the bulbs in foil and place on one of the baking trays.

Whisk together the honey, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and paprika in a bowl. Put the eggplant on the remaining tray, cut-side up, and brush with a little of the honey mixture.

Place the eggplant and beetroot in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven. Scatter the walnuts over the beetroot tray, and brush the eggplant with the remaining honey mixture. Roast for a further 10 minutes or until the walnuts are lightly toasted, the beetroot is tender and the eggplant is golden.

Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, tahini and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. If you can, wear gloves to peel the beetroot or you will end up with purple hands. Carefully use the foil to rub off all the skin, then cut them in half.

Divide the rice among serving bowls. Top with the eggplant, beetroot, spinach and zucchini. Place a dollop of tahini yoghurt on top and sprinkle with the walnuts and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, then serve with lemon wedges.

MEATY ADDITION: Add some slow cooked shredded lamb to your bowls.