Roasted Broccoli Brown Rice Bowls and Hippie Food

Yes, it seems like we have all been sheltering at home for six months or more.  In reality it has been two months for me (since March 16).  That being said, I cannot believe that it is time to post for May’s Cook the Books.

Deb at Kahakai Kitchen is hosting this non-fiction book.  (You can read the announcement post here.)  Hippie Food is a scholarly but entertaining read.  Kauffman traces the influences of the very early health food movement, organic farming communes, macrobiotics,  and veganism.  

Can I just say “I had no idea”?    I guess I have always been aware that the 60s and 70s had influenced the way we eat, especially where health food is concerned.   This book goes way beyond the hippie movement and starts all the way back in the early 20th century with those finding the health benefits of raw food.

Hippie Food is not however about hippies exclusively.  While all the health food movements during the last century seemed to be led by colorful characters, the gamut of leaders run from Zen masters to surfers to Seventh-Day Adventists to homesteaders.

As is often the case with a Cook the Books selection, I learned a lot.  I was reminded of another featured book way back in 2012, The United States of Arugula by David Kamp.   In that book I learned what life might be like without olive oil and goat cheese.

From Hippie Food, I realized what our world would look like without brown rice, any soy products, Farmers Markets, and organic foods.    On a more frightening note, I was also given a glimpse into a world with white Wonder bread only.  (Shudder!)

Thank you, Seventh-Day Adventists for not letting whole-grain bread die and for converting many white flour recipes to graham flour in your cookbooks.  Where would we be if we only had white bread or the “staff of death” to fuel us (109)?  (Bernarr Macfadden coined this phrase back in the 1910s according to Kauffman.)  The chapter entitled “Brown Bread and the Pursuit of Wholesomeness” was fascinating.   I really want to make Adelle Davis’ Whole Wheat Bread or “Spirit of Love” bread (118).    Alas, whole wheat flour is hard to come by now so I had to pass on that idea.

Sometimes, I think I was born too late.  I can so see myself running off to join a commune or organic farming cooperative in the 70s for the sense of commuity and culture and passionate belief.  Kaufmann quotes Robert Houriet, a commune chronicler and traveler:

The self needs a community; a community needs a culture; and a culture—here’s the rub—needs spirit.  Without it, a society falls flat like bread without yeast.

Somewhere the spirit lives; through the woods, over the hills there lies some unknown pond in the lap of mountains reflecting the infinite sky.  (188)

I’ve always been a Thoreau fan and this passage left me wanting to move to his cabin on Walden Pond.

I was really surprised to find that some of the hotbeds of many of these movements were located relatively close to our area like Fayetteville and Springfield.  Definitely a college-town thing.

This should have been a no brainer, but I did not realize that farmers markets were reborn from the organic farming movements in Vermont.  And, I would never have guessed that the soy milk in my fridge can trace its roots back to hippies in Tennessee.

Kauffman also chronicles restaurants and the parts they played in moving along health food and vegetarianism like California’s The Aware Inn and the Health Hut plus The New Riverside Cafe in Minneapolis.   He also details the food cooperative rise and of course the birth of Whole Foods in Austin.

In his conclusion, Kauffman does bring it all together.   Hippie food is healthy and it’s what we all should be eating.  Even the USDA now concurs.  “Hippie food had become the gold standard for nutrition” (284).

From chapter two, “Brown Rice and the Macrobiotic Pioneers,” I knew that the dish I would present for this post would feature brown rice.   The final paragraphs of the book reinforced this decision.

The foods that the hippies, back-to-landers, longhairs and revolutionaries promoted and championed are now mainstream.  These once foreign and strange ingredients are now in our pantries.  “They slip into the meals we throw together after a long workday” (287).    That is the scenario that led to this dish:  Roasted Broccoli Brown Rice Bowls.

Roasted Broccoli Brown Rice Bowls

Debra (sauce adapted from a Hello Fresh recipe)

This may not be the most attractive dish ever (I love roasted brocolli but it really doesn’t lend itself to photo shoots), but it is delicious.  The sauce of sesame oil, soy sauce,  honey and siracha is amazing and I use it on many things.  (I’m also not sure if the yin and yang is balanced at all in this dish.)


  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 1 head organic broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic green onions, sliced and whites separated from green
  • 1 clove garlic, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 T. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 T. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. local honey
  • 1 t. siracha (plus more for drizzling)
  • 4 farm fresh fried eggs (optional), fried or poached


  1. Cook rice according to package directions (or your rice cooker’s directions).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Toss broccoli with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread broccoli on lined sheet and roast in oven for 15-18 minutes, stirring after about 7 minutes.
  4. While rice cooks and broccoli roasts, place green onion whites, garlic, vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl to marinate.
  5. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey and siracha.
  6. When rice is done, fluff with a fork. Divide into four serving bowls. Top each bowl with some of the broccoli florets and the pickled scallion whites. Drizzle with the sesame-soy sauce. If topping with eggs, place these on next. Then drizzle with more sriracha if desired. Garnish with chopped green onion tops.

Yield: 4-6

“When brown rice reminds us all of our childhoods, then the hippie food revolution will finally be won” (287).    I think that time has arrived.



Linking up with Foodies Read for May.

And, Weekend Cooking at the new host’s site, The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.

Although I am working from home, I have been reading more and more.    If you are needing things to occupy your mind (besides Netflix), please consider joining up with us at Cook the Books.  The deadline for reading Hippie Food is coming up quickly but anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate.   For the June/July edition, Claudia (Honey from Rock) has chosen Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah.   Please grab a book anc join us.

19 comments to Roasted Broccoli Brown Rice Bowls and Hippie Food

  • Eggs are definitely a must here…that’s my favourite part:-) I had 5 eggs today, but can’t remember when I last had some rice. LOL

  • Sounds like a cool book! I vaguely recall that Kellogg — or one of the cereal makers — actually got started as a whole-grain “health” food. That’s before they decided adding all that sugar was a good idea. 🙂 Anyway, this recipe sounds really good. And adding an egg to anything makes it look spectacular!

  • I enjoyed the book and learned a lot too. I remember belonging to a co-op in the 70″s but it was a short lived operation. Your broccoli and rice bowl sounds delicious.

  • So glad you enjoyed the book! You took great notes! 😉
    Your broccoli and brown rice bowls look amazing and I am loving that sauce. 😉

  • Mae

    I read that book a couple of years ago, and found the really historic parts interesting. The parts I lived through were ok too, but the end didn’t appeal as much. My review:

    be well….. mae

    • I remember that review. I enjoyed it but I did skim some parts. I do think that his conclusion may have been some of the best writing in the book, though.

  • My aunt and uncle were hippies and influenced my decision to become vegetarian. That lasted until my twenties but now I eat everything. But I still love the ethos of this generation – eating locally sourced, seasonal produce. Dave will love this recipe so shall get him to make it for us 🙂

  • Liz

    YUM!!! Definitely my kind of meal! My parents tortured us with salt free food and carob instead of chocolate for a short period in the 70s. If they would have served this, my outlook on hippie food would have been a lot different, LOL.

  • Carob didn’t work for me either. Chocolate all the way! But, and judging from all the entries with brown rice, that did stick. I still use it, but usually with a bit of wild and white Jasmine mixed in.

  • Isn’t it interesting how food trends change… Many people once turned up their noses at brown rice, but now as you say it’s mainstream. I still prefer my Italian Arborio rice though.

  • I was also pleasantly surprised to read where some of the changes occurred. Definitely an interesting book. I had never seen brown rice until I moved to California (same for wild rice). I like roasted broccoli and agree they make a challenging photo subject. And I also like to put cooked eggs on top of vegetables: great choice of recipe 🙂