Busy Bowls – 3 Ways

Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

Ugh. Weeknight cooking is a challenge for me to say the least. After a full day at work, a 45 minute commute (sometimes longer depending on traffic), I come home to crazy pup pumped full of energy and ready to go to the park. We work out the stress of the day with an hour and a half of play. It’s usually after 8pm when I finally get into the kitchen – I’m hungry and tired and want something fast. Following a recipe is not an option. I don’t want to waste time measuring anything so here is my basic formula for a quick and satisfying meal that you can customize based on what you have on hand:

Grain + Roasted Vegetable + Fresh or Dried Fruit + Nuts or Seeds + Herbs & Spices

I’ve shared 3 versions of this dish with you today to get you excited about cooking (without a recipe!) on a weeknight.

Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

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Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

Roasted Cauliflower & Barley Bowl

Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

Roasted cauliflower spiced with cinnamon and curry served over barley and topped with raisins, almond slivers and parsley.

 

Ingredients for Cauliflower Bowl

1/2 a head of cauliflower

1 shallot

1/2 a cup of barley

1 handful almond slivers

1 handful raisins

1 small handful parsley

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt and pepper

oil for roasting the vegetables

 

Directions: 
Roughly chop the cauliflower and slice the shallot. Toss together with oil, salt and pepper and spices. Roast on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes on 400F. While the veggies are roasting, cook the barley. Add the raisins to the barley at the last 5 minutes so they moisten and plump up. Assemble everything in a bowl. To finish, drizzle with good olive oil or walnut oil and a squeeze of of orange juice if you feel like it.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Bulgar Wheat Bowl

Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

Roasted sweet potatoes and shallot spiced with cumin and garlic served over bulgar wheat and chickpeas, topped with cranberries and pine nuts.

 

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Bowl

2 sweet potatoes

1 shallot

1/2 a cup of bulgar wheat

1 handful pine nuts

1 handful cranberries

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt and pepper

oil for roasting the vegetables

 

Directions: 
Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato and slice the shallot. Toss together with oil, salt and pepper and spices. Roast on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes on 400F. While the veggies are roasting, cook the bulgar wheat. Add the cranberries to the bulgar at the last 5 minutes so they moisten and plump up. Assemble everything in a bowl. To finish, drizzle with good olive oil or walnut oil and a squeeze of of orange juice if you feel like it.

 

Roasted Broccoli & Bok Choy with Edamame & Brown Rice

Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

Roasted broccoli and bok choy served over brown rice with edamame and pear slivers topped with fresh garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Drizzled with a bit of tamari, lemon juice and sesame oil.

 

Ingredients for Broccoli Bowl

2 generous handful broccoli florets

1 baby bok choy

1/2 a cup of brown rice

1/2 cup shelled edamame

about 1/4 a fresh pear, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 inch of ginger, minced

1 tablespoon sesame seeds for topping

oil for roasting the vegetables

sesame oil, tamari and lemon juice for finishing

 

Directions: 
Start cooking the rice. Wash and cut up the broccoli. Slice bok choy in half. Toss veggies together with oil, salt and pepper and garlic. Roast on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes (or less) on 400F.  Add the ginger to the rice during the last few minutes of cooking to make the rice really fragrant and flavorful. Assemble everything in a bowl. To finish, drizzle with with a bit of tamari, lemon juice and sesame oil.

Busy Bowls - 3 Ways

 

Some notes:

I always keep my pantry stocked with quick cooking grains like: barley, farro, bulgar wheat, brown rice, quinoa, couscous and oats.

*For the farro, barley and bulgar wheat, I buy the kind that’s dried and pre-cooked. It cooks in under 10 minutes – look for it at your neighborhood grocery.

The vegetables you use will vary based on what’s in season and what’s available at your market.
My current favorites are sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus and bok choy.

*The smaller you cut the vegetables the faster they cook.

My go-to dried fruits: cranberries, raisins, figs and blueberries.
My current favorite fresh fruits: pears, pomegranate, apples and oranges.

Nuts: walnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds
Seeds: Sunflower, sesame, chia and hemp

My go-to spices: Cinnamon, curry, cumin, garlic powder, pepper flakes

Herbs: During the summer I grow a variety of herbs in pots but parsley is the only one that has made it through the winter.

 

Preparation: 

I say 1 teaspoon of spice = a tightly cupped hand & 1 tablespoon of spice is one loosely cupped hand (good to know for speedy cooking).

I coincide my grain cooking and vegetable roasting to finish at the same time. Some vegetables like bok choy will cook quickly so I will start cooking the grain first while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. Sweet potatoes take a little longer to roast so I start peeling and chopping the sweet potato and then begin cooking the grain.

I coat the vegetables in a bit of neutral high heat oil (like rice bran) and toss them with salt and pepper. If I’m using spices I will add them here too.

If using dried fruit I will add them to the pot of grains during the last five minutes of cooking to absorb some moisture and plump up.

Sometimes I’ll add a can of beans like chickpea or black beans.

To finish the dish I top it off with a drizzle of good quality oil. Nut oils add a lot of flavor and enhance the entire dish. Try pistachio oil, hazelnut oil and walnut oil. Store them in the fridge and don’t use them for high heat cooking or roasting.

Lastly, a bit of acid will brighten up the dish. A squeeze of orange or lemon juice is my go-to, sometimes I use red wine vinegar or rice vinegar.

 

Oh and check out the bonus busy bowl I made for Food&!

 

8 Responses to “Busy Bowls – 3 Ways”

  1. Judith Q Stewart

    Hi Grace,
    Brilliant post…stunning photos. when cooks get this method down, they will always put a nutritious meal on the table. thank you for sharing…and please bring more of this type meal to us. Tour puppy is blessed to have such a good mommy.
    bye for now, Judith, Davidson, NC

    Reply
    • Grace @ Earthy Feast

      Hi Judith, I always enjoy reading your comments! Thank you! I will be sure to share more meals like this! Hope you’re enjoying this lovely weather we’re having today!

      Reply
  2. Amy McWhirter

    These look truly amazing. The combination of ingredients and flavors will be so satisfying and delicious. Can’t wait to try! Thanks, Grace.

    Reply

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