There’s no denying that a diet rich in fresh, local, organic, in-season produce is a diet that will be nutritious and vitamin rich. In the summer it’s easy to eat this way, whether picking fruit or veggies from your backyard or heading to the local farmer’s market for the best your local farmer has to offer. But then winter rolls around. Of course you know what we do, right? The holidays mean more dinners, more parties, and lots more indulging.
Well, folks, welcome to the cold truth of January! If you’re reading this, it most likely means that you’ve put down that glass of egg nog, eaten the last shortbread cookie, and you’re just waking up from that big holiday dinner. And if you’re like me, you feel sluggish. I don’t think I can manage to eat one more chocolate or bite of mashed potatoes. What do I want? I want berries. And watermelon. Carrots pulled from my garden. Crisp heads of lettuce and beautiful red tomatoes. I can almost taste all the juicy goodness just thinking about it!
No offense, parsnips. I really do love you, but right now I need something hearty and refreshing at the same time!
Oh and LOW maintenance cooking at this time of year is a must, no?
*cue drum roll*
*applause and wild cheering ensue*
Oh, you’re not cheering yet? Well, that’s because you don’t realize that one of my favourite places to get inspiration during any season is the bowl. No matter what the meal, it can be taken to new levels of deliciousness by being arranged and layered just so in a bowl. At this time of year, what I need is a big bowl of layered vitamins!
This yummy vegetarian power bowl is just that. Loaded with super foods, this bowl isn’t just pretty, it’s a complete meal with carbs, protein, and an array of colourful veggies.
Speaking of, did you know you’re supposed to have at least five different colours of fruit and vegetables a day?
…I’ll pause while you take a second to tally up how much you’ve eaten today.
Arranged atop a bed of rice and quinoa (or just quinoa, if you feel like it!), avocado, gommae, grape tomatoes, roasted sweet potato, chickpeas, carrots, and cucumber, this power bowl will leave you satisfied and hooked on the bowl-life. Simple, whole, humble ingredients come together to make this bowl super-charged. The avocado provides a beautiful texture to the bowl as well as lending all those good fats we need. The carrots, tomato, cucumber, and sweet potato provide Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. And the homemade gommae is quickly made up with sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, and of course, spinach, making the gommae a great source of protein, iron, folate, and Vitamin A.
So grab a bowl and a spoon and dive into the power bowl lifestyle. Eating healthy never tasted, or looked, as good as this vegetarian power bowl!
- ½ cup rice, uncooked*
- ½ cup prewashed quinoa, uncooked*
- -In general, any variety of rice and quinoa would work here. I would stay away from the really starchy rices like Calrose or sushi rice.
- 400 g of washed and chopped sweet potato (about 2 small sweet potatoes or 1 larger)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 avocadoes, pitted and sliced
- 2 cups of grape tomatoes, whole
- 1 long English cucumber, washed, halved and then sliced
- 2 cups of julienned carrots (I like to use a julienne peeler for this)
- 2 cups cooked and salted chickpeas
- 300 g spinach, wilted (about 10 oz)
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
- ⅓ – ½ cup natural organic peanut butter (I use ½ cup crunchy, because I love peanuts. You could do less though!)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
- ½ cup peanuts
- Sriracha (optional)
- Roasted nori (optional)
- Preheat oven
- Prepare and start the rice/quinoa
- Put sweet potatoes in the oven to roast
- Make the gommae and allow to chill
- Prepare all the vegetables
- Assemble bowl
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Combine the rice and quinoa and cook according to package directions. (In general, this will usually be 1:2 rice/quinoa to water. I use a rice cooker, but however you usually cook rice will work just fine.)
- Toss the chopped sweet potato with the olive oil and arrange evenly in a casserole dish. Sprinkle sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper over top and put in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes. Turn sweet potatoes halfway through cooking time.
- Prepare the gommae by warming the peanut butter over low heat in a small pot. When the peanut butter has completely melted, add the wilted spinach, sesame oil, and coconut aminos. Once completely mixed through, transfer to a container and allow to cool. If impatient or short on time, let cool in the fridge.
- Once your rice and sweet potatoes are done, you can begin assembling your bowl. Start with ½ cup of rice/quinoa, then add your veggies and chick peas. Drizzle coconut aminos and sriracha over top and sprinkle peanuts as a final garnish.
- !I’ve listed a lot of the ingredients as they should be in the bowl (i.e. julienned). You don’t need to do this ahead of time, though.
Fun fact! Gommae is basically a Japanese salad. In Japan it is often made with other vegetables, but in North America it almost exclusively refers to a wilted spinach salad, dressed in some sort of peanut, miso, sesame, soy, & sugar dressing. Our version is just a quick and easy rendition with ingredients that everyone either has on hand or can easily get.