Solar Baked Rice and Cauliflower

Cauliflower PIlaf

This is reminiscent of a traditional Southern Italian pasta dish; pasta con cavolfiore. Substituting rice for the pasta makes it more Sun Oven friendly but just as delicious.

Cauliflower Pilaf


3 cups vegetable broth

1 small cauliflower, florets only

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup brown rice

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Salt to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a small sauce pan. Lower the heat keep the broth very warm.

Put the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles a coarse grain.

Heat the oil and garlic in a large pot over medium heat; don’t let the garlic brown. Add in the red pepper and rice stirring to coat. Stir in the ground cauliflower then the hot broth. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.



Bright Red Solar Beet Pilaf

Beet Pilaf

Beets and butternut squash were all I had left from last week’s vegetable delivery. I’m still deciding what to do with the squash. The beets I used to make the colorful rice pilaf. The recipe is a combination of a couple I found on line, one for pasta and one for rice, plus a few touches of my own. It can be served as a side dish or topped with a spoonful of goat cheese or sour cream as main course.

Sun Oven Beet and Poppy Seed Rice Pilaf


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 onion, finely chopped

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 small beets, peeled and shredded*

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a sauce pan heat the broth until very hot. Keep the broth hot while preparing the rice.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the poppy seeds followed by the rice stirring to coat. Pour in the wine and continue stirring until it evaporates, about 1 minute. Add the beets, salt, and pepper stirring well to combine. Add the broth, stir quickly, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed, 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Stir in cheese and serve.

Makes 4 main course servings or 6 side servings.

*I used the shred disc of my food processor. If you don’t have a food processor I’d recommend using previously roasted beets that have been mashed.

Spicy Sun Oven Black Beans and Rice

Curried Black Beans

The contrast of the black beans and orange squash make this appealing to both the palate and the eye.

Curried Solar Black Beans, Squash, and Rice


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, an cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup brown rice

2 teaspoons hot curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups previously cooked black beans

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, thinly sliced


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Spay a baking pan with cooking spay. Spread the squash out in the pan in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt. Roast in the Sun Oven until tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from Sun Oven and set aside.

In a large pot, toss the remaining tablespoon oil with the onion, ginger, and garlic. Cover and sauté in the Sun Oven until the onions begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Heat the water along side the onions. Stir in the rice, curry powder, allspice, salt, beans, kale, and water. Cook, covered, until the water has all been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Remove pot from Sun Oven and stir in the roasted squash.

Makes 4 servings.


Sun Baked Black Rice

Black Rice

At the grocery store I always keep a look out for new foods. Recently a package of black rice caught my eye and my imagination. The instructions on the box said to let it simmer stovetop for 25 minutes but we all know I had to wait for a sunny day like today to cook it in the Sun Oven. The outcome was not bad. The rice had a hint of nuttiness and a slightly chewy texture. It seems to lack the high starch content necessary for a good risotto, but should work well in salads and side dishes. Here’s how I prepared it:

Sun Oven Baked Black Rice with Spinach


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup black rice

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

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Solar Rice and Lentil Loaf


I serve this vegetarian main course with vegetarian gravy (made from a mix), mashed potatoes, and a mixed salad.

Sun Oven Brown Rice and Lentil Loaf


2 cups cooked lentils, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced

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Sun Oven Black Bean Rice

The next time you make a pot of black beans save some of the cooking liquid for a batch of solar cooked black bean rice. It makes a great side dish to just about any South-of-the-border entree.

Black Bean Rice


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup medium grain rice

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

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Solar Risotto with Radicchio

In the U.S. radicchio is mostly eaten raw in salads. In Italy it is usually cooked – either grilled or mixed into dishes like this risotto.

Sun Oven Risotto with Radicchio


2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 small heads radicchio, cored and shredded

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Creamy Risotto with Turnips

The turnips and the arborio rice make this risotto creamy without adding a lot of fat. All risotto should be eaten immediately. For that reason solar cooked risotto is best for lunch. Make sure it’s a perfectly clear day. Even a small cloud means a longer cooking time and the texture of the risotto will suffer.


2 medium turnips, peeled and cubed (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 fresh sage leaves

1 cup arborio rice

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Easy Sun Oven Lunch

Sun Oven risotto is what I like to call a hybrid, half conventionally cooked and half solar. The broth is brought to a boil on the stove before being stirred into the sauteed rice and transferred to the Sun Oven. I think the texture is far superior when it’s prepared this way. Bringing any dish with a high liquid content to a boil first will cut down on the overall cooking time by up to 30 minutes. Something to keep in mind if you get a late start.

Risotto al Pomodoro (Tomato Risotto)


1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

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More Sun Oven Risotto

It wasn’t until recently that I came up with my method for Sun Oven risotto and now I can’t seem to get enough of it. Risotto con Porcini is probably my favorite, solar cooked or not. The key to success is heat. Make sure the Sun Oven has time to preheat, and the broth is simmering hot before combing all the ingredients.

Sun Oven Risotto con Porcini

(risotto with porcini mushrooms)


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