Winter Bowls

Martha Stewart is one of three of my female role models. I know- she went to prison. But in my world, anything Martha Stewart does is justifiable (even insider trading) because her cakes, cards, and website are beautifully orderly.

MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA, INC.
She is perfect!!!

When Martha Stewart declared that the dish of 2016 was the bowl, I had to understand why. I started eating in bowls more, and even went bowl shopping and bowl pottery making. My life of bowls expanded beyond the territory of soup, and suddenly everything from lettuce to brown rice pasta to plain, spooned peanut butter became Martha Stewart worthy.

After a few months of mindless bowl following, however, I 64704454found that the bowl was much more useful than I originally anticipated. Ingredients could be stacked, layered, or lazily thrown in any way without messes, and as long as everything was pre-chopped, knives were unnecessary.

I also realized how boring salads were. I started my bowl phase by having gargantuan salads topped with the weirdest combinations of ingredients, but after a few months, chewing on piles of lettuce with the occasional sprouted crouton became a) boring and b)unsatisfying.

Nowadays, I am a much bigger fan of grain bowls. On Sundays, I will make a big batch of grains, sliced vegetables, and proteins so that during the week I can easily access deliciousness. Grain bowls offer much more sustenance and variety since the bland flavor of brown rice can be easily dressed up with a whole host of toppings.

I normally plan out my grain bowls based on what vegetables are in season, what grain I ate for the majority of previous weeks, and how much work I want to put into my meals during the upcoming week. Today, I share with you a couple of my favorite grain bowls, as well as a basic structure for making your own grain combinations. All of the ingredients listed are organic (for meat add free range/grass fed/from a local sustainable farm). I hope that you too can embrace the bowl and make both yourself and Martha Stewart proud!

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Step 1: Essential Bowl Structure

In order to satisfy human nutrient needs, what goes into your bowl can be summarized as follows:

  1. Grain base
  2. A variety of pre-chopped vegetables (sometimes, enough vegetables can be substituted for a grain, but I personally only do this once a week when I have a lot of vegetables on hand)
  3. Some sort of mild fruit (optional)
  4. Protein
  5. Nuts, seeds, or some other source of healthy fats
  6. Sauce or dressing
161407-camdenmarkethummus
Awesome hummus bowl from Camden Market in London.

My favorite grains to use are brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta, but you can also use barley, farro, millet, brown rice pasta, or even oats (although I honestly believe that savory oats are disgusting…)

 

For warm grain bowls, I like to roast brussels sprouts, fennel, peppers, and mushrooms, whereas for cold grain bowls, I like to slice roma tomatoes, cucumber, and then add some spinach leaves.

The mild fruit is probably the most optional, but for cold grain bowls, I’ll usually add golden raisins, a chopped granny smith apple, or sliced grapes.

For proteins, anything from meat to eggs to legumes work really well. Sometimes I just use hummus, which can be used for either a source of protein or fat.

The remaining two parts are self-explanatory.

Step 2: A list of my favorite bowls

All recipes are single serving, so multiply by however many mouths you are feeding. All recipes (except those frying eggs and mashing avocados) can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to four days.

Mushroom, egg, and olive bowl

Ingredients:

  1. 2 free range brown eggs
  2. A handful of kalamata olives, pitted and cut into rings
  3. 15 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  4. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  5. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  6. Sea salt
  7. Dried chili flakes
  8. 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the mushroom and olive slices onto the baking sheet, and salt and pepper to taste (using the chili flakes).
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil directly onto the baking sheet and, using your hands, toss the vegetables.
  4. Place the thyme sprigs on the vegetables and bake for 25 minutes, or until the mushrooms have largely reduced in size and are brown and crisp.
  5. Once the vegetables finish cooking, turn the oven off.
  6. Heat a skillet, place one tsp. olive oil into the heated pan, and crack both eggs. Fry the eggs until it is set but still runny inside and then lightly salt.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand.
  8. Remove the vegetables from the oven, pour into a bowl, and top with the egg.

Lentil, spinach, olive bowl

Ingredients:

  1. 1 handful of baby spinach
  2. 1/2 cup green lentils
  3. 1 handful of kalamata olives, pitted and sliced into rings
  4. 1 cup brown rice fusilli pasta
  5. Olive oil
  6. Lemon juice
  7. Salt
  8. Pepper
  9. Dried basil

Method:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, boil and salt 1 cup of water. To the water, add 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and dried basil. Add the lentils and boil until the lentils are soft and the water is absorbed (about 40 minutes).
  2. In a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, boil and salt water. Once the water is boiling, add the brown rice pasta and reduce the heat of the water. Cook the pasta for 7-11 minutes and drain the water.
  3. In a skillet, heat 1 tsp. olive oil. Add the spinach and lightly wilt, adding lemon juice at the end. Then add the olives, lentils, and drained pasta and mix lightly, adding pepper and dried basil to taste.

Cucumber, raisin, and mozzarella bowl

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed
  2. Several heirloom tomatoes
  3. 1 persian cucumber
  4. 1/4 cup golden raisins
  5. 1 oz. marinated mozzarella, sliced
  6. 1 tbsp. roasted pistachio meats
  7. 1/2 small lemon
  8. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  9. 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  10. Salt
  11. Black pepper
  12. Dried basil

Methods:

  1. Boil and salt 1 cup of water with 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and a couple sprinklings of dried basil.
  2. Add rinsed quinoa, cover the pot, and bring down the heat to medium. Let cook for 15 minutes, then take the pot off the heat and let stand for another 10 minutes, covered.
  3. After 10 minutes, use a fork to fluff the quinoa.
  4. Make the quinoa a day in advance and refrigerate the quinoa over night so that it becomes crunchy.
  5. Slice the tomatoes and dice the cucumber.
  6. In your bowl, add the cooled quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, sliced mozzarella, pistachio meats and raisins.
  7. Mixed 1/2 of the lemon with 1 tbsp. olive oil to make a dressing, and pour that over the bowl along with salt and pepper.

Avocado smash and feta bowl

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup cooked brown rice
  2. 1/2 avocado
  3. 6 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in room temperature water for 15 minutes
  4. 1-2 tablespoons feta
  5. Handful arugula
  6. Salt
  7. Chili flakes
  8. Paprika
  9. Dried basil

Method:

  1. Make brown rice by boiling 1/2 cup brown rice in 1 cup salted water with 1 tbsp. olive oil and dried basil. After about 25-30 minutes of boiling, the brown rice should be done and ready to fluff with a fork. Alternatively, you can use a rice cooker.
  2. Drain and slice the sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. Using a spoon, remove the flesh of 1/2 of an avocado into a bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork, and then add paprika, chili flakes, dried basil, and salt to taste. Mix the spices in.
  4. Place the arugula at the bottom of your bowl and then add the warm brown rice, letting the quinoa wilt the arugula.
  5. Add the feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado mash, topping everything with some more chili flakes.
170108-grain-bowl-1
I promise this tastes better than it looks.

Chickpea and eggplant

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium sized sweet potato, sliced in wedges
  2. 1 long and thin eggplant, sliced
  3. 1/2 of a 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  4. 2 tbsp. tahini
  5. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  6. 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  7. Dried chili flakes
  8. Sea salt
  9. Dried basil
  10. Turmeric

Method:

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with non-stick spray.
  3. Add the sliced eggplant to one side of the baking sheet and the sweet potato to another, keeping the two vegetables separate.
  4. Add salt (to taste), chili flakes,  dried basil, and 1 tbsp. olive oil to the sweet potatoes and mix with hands. Again, do not mix with the eggplant.
  5. Add salt, chili flakes, dried basil, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar to the eggplant and mix with hands. Do not mix with the sweet potato.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping the vegetables about halfway through the baking process.
  7. In the meantime, drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  8. In a hot nonstick pan, add a bit of olive oil and add the chickpeas. Season with 1 tsp. turmeric, salt, and chili flakes. Let cook until the chickpeas are slightly soft and very warm.
  9. In a bowl, add the sweet potato, eggplant, and chickpeas. Drizzle 2 tbsp. tahini over everything.

170108-grain-bowl-4

Mushroom, bell pepper, and walnut bowl

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1/4 cup cooked whole wheat or brown rice penne
  2. 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  3. 5 button mushrooms, quartered
  4. 1 large red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced
  5. 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  6. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  7. Salt
  8. Black pepper
  9. Dried oregano

Method:

  1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, bring water to a boil and lightly salt. Add the penne and let cook for 7-11 minutes, depending on how soft you like your pasta. Turn the heat off, drain the pasta, add back into the saucepan, and add 1 tbsp. olive oil so that the pasta does not stick.
  2. Add mushrooms to a hot non-stick skillet and salt. Let them cook until they have almost halved in size. Add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and stir on high until the mushrooms become fragrant. Turn off the heat.
  3. Do the same for the pepper.
  4. Add the bell pepper, mushrooms, and walnuts to the saucepan with the pasta. Turn the heat back on and mix everything, adding black pepper and dried oregano and warming the mixture through.
  5. Add everything to a large bowl.

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I really hope you guys give these recipes a try! Personally, I have been surviving on them since I can make them early in the week, guarantee the sustainability of the ingredients, and satisfy my hunger after emotionally draining days of school 🙂

Also, happy beginning to your week!

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