There is something so satisfying about eating out of a big bowl. It’s true that we eat with our eyes first, and when I see a giant bowl overflowing with steaming hot noodles, grains, veggies, broth, or any other tasty treats, my mouth waters! Besides the visual appeal, bowls are fun to make as the possibilities are endless. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Pick a grain or two as your base. This can be any type of noodle, rice, quinoa, millet, freekeh, buckwheat, couscous, etc.
- Pick 3-4 toppings with different textures and tastes. I like to make sure I have at least one crunchy item and one soft item, as well as something that is sweet and something that is salty.
- Have a great sauce to put on everything. This is where you can really get creative. Put a bunch of herbs and/or veggies in the blender with some olive oil and vinegar to make a pesto. Thin out some hummus with water and lemon juice and drizzle it over your creation. Make a salad dressing, fruit puree, spicy sauce, yogurt dip, or even a soupy broth to pour into your bowl. Do whatever your heart desires!
I call this particular bowl the Magic Bowl, because, well, the flavors are truly magical! Often times, these types of veggie bowls are made with raw ingredients. I chose to roast my toppings instead, to give them greater depth of flavor. When you’re eating vegan or vegetarian, its nice to get a good char on your food in order to get some of that smoky, rich flavor we all love.
For a dish with a name to live up to like the Magic Bowl, one sauce was just not enough! I made two sauces, just to up the impact of this meal. It worked! The red pepper sauce is sweet and spicy while the herb sauce has a real zing to it that balances everything out. Plus the contrasting colors really pop and look beautiful. To add some crunch, I also made a quick pecan topping.
Finally, for my grain base, I combined freekeh and quinoa together and was super pleased with the results. Normally freekeh takes a little longer to cook than quinoa, so in order to make it work, I soaked the freekeh briefly (20 minutes) before combining both grains in the same pot and cooking them for the normal quinoa cooking time. The end result of these ingredients put together is a bowl of healthy, roasted leafy greens, juicy cherry tomatoes, salty olives, and a perfect balance of flavors thanks to the two power-house sauces that top it all off! I hope you enjoy this bowl as much as I do. I think it would be kinda hard not to 😉
- 1/2 cup freekeh
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 16 kalamata olives (I prefer olives with pits)
Red Pepper Sauce
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
- 1 small carrot, peeled & cut into large chunks
- 1 clove garlic,
- 1 i-inch slice yellow onion
- 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Green Herb Sauce
- 2 cups flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup basil
- 4 green onion, chopped roughly
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
(Serves 4) Prep time: 30 minutes Total time: 45 minutes
- Rinse the freekeh and let soak 20 minutes. Drain the freekeh and place it in a medium saucepan. Rinse the quinoa and add it to the saucepan with the freekeh. Add 3 cups water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed and the mixture is tender. Add more water during cooking to prevent burning if necessary.
- Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400. Toss the broccoli, cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, and olives with 1 tbsp oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, and roast 10 minutes, tossing the veggies halfway through cooking time.
- While the grains and veggies are cooking, make the sauces. Put all ingredients for the red sauce in a food processor and puree until it forms a slightly chunky sauce. Empty this into a bowl, rinse out the food processor, and repeat with the ingredients for the green sauce.
- Chop the pecans and stir with the nutritional yeast and olive oil.
- To assemble the bowls: Fill a bowl about halfway with the quinoa mixture. Top with the roasted veggies, then the two sauces. Finish by sprinkling everything with some of the pecan mixture. Enjoy!