The start of the New Year welcomes the opportunity to reevaluate your diet and lifestyle and make modifications that allow you to feel your best. Motivation is usually extremely high in January, but by the time February comes around, the momentum surrounding change has drastically decreased. Severe resolutions and extremes are not my thing, and I believe that they lead to a cycle of restrictions and binges which result in regret and yo-yo weight changes. My belief has always been to make small, mindful tweaks that stay with you indefinitely. Whether your tweak is to go meatless for three meals a week, try a new workout once a month, or indulge in more self-care, these changes result in a healthier, happier you.
Most individuals resolve to eat healthier in the new year, and a simple way of doing so is by eating through a plant-based lens. Make plants the main part of your plate, and animal proteins the garnish or supporting role. Grain bowls are a simple way to integrate that philosophy into practice as they are loaded with colorful vegetables and plant-based protein. I always find comfort and nourishment in the simplicity of a well cooked grain, loaded with vegetables and beans and finished with toasted nuts or seeds.
Quinoa is my go-to grain for many reasons. It has a quick cooking time, a deliciously nutty taste, and is high in protein. This particular quinoa bowl features organic and naturally gluten-free quinoa from one of my favorite brands, Bob's Red Mill. It is a complete protein and contains fiber, iron, magnesium, and folate. Bob's Red Mill quinoa is also rinsed and air dried, removing the bitter saponins naturally found in quinoa. This means one less step when trying to get dinner on the table.
To be totally transparent, this rainbow quinoa bowl does require a decent amount of chopping and steps, yet it yields a delicious and hearty dish that can be repurposed for a few meals throughout the week. Not only is the bowl loaded with plant-based protein, it has antioxidants, fiber, and polyphenols from the beautiful assortment of vegetables. If you can't find an ingredient or don't want to bother with the chopping, simply leave it out. But I insist you include my favorite component, the tamari ginger braised sweet potatoes. They are bursting with flavor and are great on their own or added to this bowl.
In the continued effort to eat healthier in 2017 for a New Year, New You, I hope this rainbow bowl makes your mission all the easier.
Rainbow Quinoa Bowl
serves 4 to 6
braised sweet potatoes
- 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small wedges
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium tamari
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill quinoa
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 1/2 cups purple cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cups organic shelled edamame, (I use frozen)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 bunch kale, leaves removed and thinly sliced, stems trimmed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 tablespoons gomasio or black sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a dutch oven with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. In a large bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, paprika, cayenne, maple syrup, tamari, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and water. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to the dutch oven, cover, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove lid, baste the potatoes with the sauce, and continue cooking uncovered for 10 to 15 more minutes or until fully tender. Once cooked, transfer potatoes from the pot, pour glaze on top, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- While the potatoes cook, make the quinoa. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a 2 quart pot. Add 1 cup quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer until the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
- To prepare the kale, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the kale stems and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the kale leaves and continue cooking until soft and tender, another 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the white balsamic vinegar, tahini, dijon, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
- To assemble, add the finely chopped purple cabbage, bell pepper, carrots, edamame. scallions, and most of the almonds to the quinoa. Fluff with a fork. Drizzle in half the dressing and fluff again. Arrange the sweet potatoes, kale, and avocado into separate quadrants of the serving bowl. Top with gomasio or black sesame seeds, and a drizzle of the rest of the dressing.
This post was created in partnership with Bob's Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the brands that support crunchy radish! Check out more delicious healthy recipes, snag coupons, and find stores near you at BobsRedMill.com!