Julia Child’s 100th Birthday Celebration Week: Vegan and Gluten Free Rice Soubise

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August 15th would have been Julia Child’s birthday and so we are celebrating Julia Child this week the only way we know how! Turning some of her wonderful recipes into vegan and gluten free versions for all to enjoy! While some purists may think that Julia Child would roll over in her grave to know that her recipes were being altered to be both vegan and gluten-free, what we do know about Julia is her extraordinary passion for delicious food and that others enjoy it. And while some are vegan and gluten-free by choice, many are vegan and gluten-free out of necessity. We’ve seen several episodes of her famed show, “The French Chef,” where she made dishes that were specifically for vegetarian guests and we’d like to think that Julia, for all of her love of dairy, meat and bread, would be on board with delicious food for any type of diet!

Today’s recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s rice soubise. Soubise (soo-beez) is essentially white sauce with pureed onions. This delicious recipe combines rice with onions, cream, and cheese – all vegan and gluten-free, of course!

Julia Child’s Rice Soubise

Yield: makes 4 cups

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 pounds white or yellow onions (you can also use some shallots for added flavor)
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream (affiliate link) (If you don’t want to buy vegan cream, or can’t, you can make your own from cashews with the recipe below.)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite shredded vegan cheese (We like Daiya because it melts so well, but use whichever you prefer. Results may vary if using a vegan cheese that does not melt very well)
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300F.

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You will want to start by pre-slicing your onions – you want them very thin. Next, boil 2 cups of salted water in a medium saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the rice and cook for 5 minutes, then drain right away. In a 3 quart oven-proof Dutch oven, or casserole with lid, over medium heat, add the margarine and wait for it to melt and get foamy. Once melted and foamy, add the sliced onions. Saute them, and then stir in the rice, salt and pepper. From there, cover the Dutch oven or casserole and place in the pre-heated oven. You will want to cook it for one hour, being sure to stir it every so often. You want both rice and onions to be tender.

Prior to serving, add the cream and cheese and stir. Taste it to see if you need to add more salt or pepper. Once it is seasoned to your satisfaction, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

If you have decided to make this dish in advance, you can do so and then just reheat, and then add the cream and cheese. This dish pairs perfectly when accompanied by fresh sauteed green beans or asparagus.

Vegan Cashew Cream

2 cups raw, whole cashews
Cold water

Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover the bowl and place in the regrigerator overnight. In a pinch you soak them in water for less time (we’ve done as little as 20 minutes), but in general it is better if you can soak them longer for reasons of both taste quality and digestibility.

Drain the cashews and rinse them well. Put them in a blender and then add more cold water, just enough to cover the cashews by about one inch. Blend on high until very smooth – about 2-3 minutes. You may need to strain the resulting cream if you don’t have a high-performance blender, just to be sure there are no missed cashew pieces floating around in there. If you want a thicker cream, which we recommend for the rice soubise, use less water. Generally just covering the cashews with water, or only allowing 1/2 inch of water above them will work.

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