Treat. Yo. Self.
To a cleaner fridge and several healthy meals. I realize this might be a stretch in the “treat” category, but hear me out. I really LIKE vegetables, and I feel really good, both mentally and physically, when I eat a bunch of them. I’m not a fruit person, really. I love veg. But I’m also extremely lazy and sometimes don’t feel like cooking. I have the best of intentions when I make a meal plan and go grocery shopping. At least once a week, I fail to execute the plan because: life. So when I go to make next week’s plan, there are a bunch of random leftovers to deal with.
HERE’S HOW: grain bowls. I know these have been popular forever. Jack and I loved going to Life Alive, a Massachusetts-based, 1970s-style vegetarian restaurant that managed to stay current and super tasty, and that’s one of their specialties. Grain bowls let you use up everything in your fridge — extra rice included — so you get to feel virtuous about not wasting food AND eating your vegetables, and that is a treat for me. Your mileage may vary, but you should still try this out.
The key to a good grain bowl is to vary your textures and add just the right amount of a good sauce. The sauce in this dish is a variation on the “Say Cheez” gravy from Jo Stepaniak’s “The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.” For a crunchy topper, I’ve used roasted salted pepitas. The grain is rice, the green is mostly kale, but also leftover spinach, and I’ve specifically added “1 cup of chopped vegetables” to use up anything you have on hand. If you don’t like something in this recipe? Don’t add it. Otherwise, go wild. Turn your fridge into a satisfying meal.
- 1 large sweet potato,
- 1 small onion slivered*
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon berbere seasoning or hot spice of your choice
- 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (glutinous rice flour or chickpea/gram flour recommended)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond most of the time)
- 1/2 cup broth or water
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (apple cider would be another good choice)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 1 box mushrooms de-stemmed and broken into pieces
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 cup diced random veg
- 2 cups cooked grains (used rice here)
- 1 bunch kale chopped (plus any leftover greens)
- 1 whole avocado cut into chunks
- 4 Tablespoons pepitas or other seed or nut of your choice
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Toss chopped sweet potato and onion with olive oil and spicy seasoning -- add more or less than I've called for depending on your tastes. Spread out on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together. Cook over medium heat until boiling and thickened. Add more liquid if you need it to get the right consistency.
- With a little spritz of oil in a sautee pan, add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid. Add the garlic and stir. Add the random vegetables, and do the same. Then add the leftover cooked grains (I used rice) to soak up that liquid as they reheat.
- When the rice or grain is hot, add the greens and stir until wilted.
- In a bowl, add the rice and veg, the roasted veg, the avocado, sauce, and nuts or seeds, if using. Stir and enjoy.