A healthy, delicious meal that can’t be ‘beet’!
Have you heard of Buddha bowls? They are nourishing meals, served in bowls and typically composed of a whole bunch of delicious, bite-sized items. These delightful creations became mainstream a few years ago and it’s a trend that’s persisted, partially because they’re so photogenic and they’re healthy too. Particularly popular among vegetarians and vegans, they typically consist of whole grains and plant-based proteins plus raw and/or cooked vegetables. This version is one of my favourites and even my meat-loving husband finds it rich, flavourful and supremely satisfying. You could play around with the vegetables depending upon what’s in season; sweet potatoes and squash would be stellar. If you’re not a fan of peanut sauce, use your favourite nut butter or nut butter alternative; tahini or miso-based sauces would also be great.
- 1 cup (250 mL) uncooked brown rice
- 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces
- 2 large red beets, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces
- 1 cup (250 mL) canned low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil
- 2 cups (500 mL) fresh kale leaves, stalks removed, roughly chopped
- 2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach leaves, rinsed
- lime wedges, to garnish
- 1 cup (250 mL) smooth peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons (30 mL) soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons (30 mL) rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) sesame oil
- 1 – 2 tablespoons (15 – 30 mL) maple syrup (to taste)
- 1 – 2 teaspoons (5 – 10 mL) sriracha (to taste)
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) warm water (or more, to thin sauce to pourable consistency)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Put the rice in a medium-large saucepan and toast it over medium heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan often, until it is just starting to turn a golden brown colour and you can smell it becoming fragrant. This will help it cook faster and will result in fluffier rice.
- Add 2 cups (500 mL) of water plus a pinch of salt to the rice and bring to a boil. Cover, turn to low, and leave to cook for about 40 minutes, until tender and fluffy. Turn off heat and leave pot covered.
- While rice cooks, place prepared carrots and beets on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add drained chickpeas then toss with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until just starting to get crispy around the edges, and centres are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
- While vegetables are roasting, make the peanut sauce by whisking together all ingredients until smooth. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings accordingly; add more water if too thick to drizzle. Set aside.
- Also while vegetables are roasting, toss chopped kale in 1 – 2 teaspoons of olive oil and massage with your hands to soften the leaves. After vegetables have roasted for 25 minutes, scatter kale on top and roast for 3 – 5 minutes longer, until kale has wilted and edges are getting crispy.
- To serve, line four broad bowls with spinach leaves. Top with hot cooked rice and roasted vegetables. Drizzle peanut sauce on top and garnish each bowl with a wedge of lime. Serve hot.