Grain bowls are easy to make. Pick a grain, slather with some dressing and top with your favourite veggies, nuts and seeds.
Try to pick a theme: like this sushi bowl with brown rice, topped with asparagus, avocado and toasted nori sheets. Or my millet bowl, topped with cooked spinach, leek and toasted pumpkin seeds. Or my more recent Dragon quinoa bowl, topped with roasted veggies in a miso gravy.
This time, I wanted Middle Eastern flavours and picked a broccoli salad as the base and topped it with baked quinoa falafels, finished with a drizzle of a tahini-miso sauce!
Let’s dissect the anatomy of my bowl:
1) Broccoli Base. I prefer lightly steamed broccoli, so I steamed large florets for a short period of time. I cut them into small pieces after they had cooled.
2) Quinoa Falafel from Whole Foods to Thrive. These were definitely the star of the bowl. These baked falafels are made with cooked quinoa and flax and spiced with miso, tahini, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic and oregano. After broiling them, they are nice and crispy on the outside and chewy, yet soft and creamy on the inside, loaded with tons of flavours. I don’t like greasy, dense falafels, so these nuggets were perfect for me.
3) Tahini-Miso Sauce from the Cheesy Broccoli Bowl from Whole Foods to Thrive. The dressing for this salad is addictive, although I wouldn’t call it cheezy. It has a more pronounced tahini-miso flavour but still delicious. I opted to toss half the dressing with the broccoli and reserved half for the falafel. I preferred the dressing when I could taste it in large amounts, so next time I may not even dress the broccoli and simply drizzle it overtop prior to serving.
1 cup vegetable broth or salted water
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well (or 2 cups cooked quinoa)
3 tbsp ground flax
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp miso
1 tsp tahini
1 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp dry oregano
2 tbsp melted coconut oil, or less (or your favourite oil)
1. Bring broth or water to boil in a small pot, add the quinoa and bring to a boil again. Cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the pot covered for an additional 5 minutes. Strain off any excess liquid and set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the ground flax with the 1/3 cup of water and set aside for at least 10 minutes, until it congeals.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the nutritional yeast, miso, tahini, onion granules, garlic granules and oregano. Add in the quinoa and flax mixture and mix well so the dressing is well integrated.
4. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (my silpat apparently doesn’t like the broiler :P), make 1.5 tbsp-sized balls and place at least an inch apart.
5. With a pastry brush, coat the exposed side of the falafels with the melted oil.
6. Broil your falafels on high for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, flip over and brush the newly exposed area with more oil. Continue to broil for another 8 minutes until they are nice and golden. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. While they are broiling, make your broccoli and sauce (see below).
Makes 16 falafels.
Broccoli Bowl with Tahini-Miso Sauce
1 crown of broccoli (1 lb), cut into large floret (yielded 4 cups of finely chopped broccoli)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp white miso
3 tsp lemon juice (from half a lemon)
1.5 tsp ume plum vinegar
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp water, if needed
1.Place the broccoli in a steamer basket and steam for 2-3 minutes, just to get the raw edge off. Remove from heat and set aside. When cool, cut into smaller florets.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix nutritional yeast, paprika, and garlic powder together. Stir in the tahini and miso paste. Pour in the lemon juice, coconut oil, water, and ume plum vinegar, and whisk thoroughly. If a thinner sauce is desired, add extra water, a tablespoon at a time.
3. To serve, place broccoli in a bowl, top with 4 quinoa falafel and drizzle with your dressing. Alternatively, mix a portion of your dressing with the broccoli and reserve the remainder to drizzle overtop with the quinoa falafel (although I recommend the former!)