As we were exploring the streets of Boston a few weekends ago, passing numerous fast-casual health restaurants, we noticed one common theme on the menu – grain bowls. Of course, there’s always been hype around grain bowls in the past, but now more than ever, it seems as though every restaurant is jumping on that bandwagon. So what’s the craze over grain bowls anyway?
– They’re versatile and customizable! Who doesn’t enjoy building your own bowl?!
– They keep you full. You have a balanced mix of healthy carbs, fats, and proteins which help to curb your appetite throughout the day.
– INCREDIBLY tasty source for all your necessary veggies and nutrients.
If you’re sold on the concept, why not start by trying this weeks spin on my grain bowl? I was inspired by the local and in-season veggies I stumbled upon at the farmers market. I bought a few items based on what looked the tastiest then built on the “grain bowl” from there! This is the best way to switch it up each week, while staying inspired by what’s fresh and local!
- 2 bulks of Bok-Choy
- 1 bulk of Tuscan Kale
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 2 TBSP of Lemon Tahini (365 Whole Foods brand is great)
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 bell peppers
- 2 zucchinis
- Coconut Oil
- Z’atar spice, pinch of salt & black pepper
Ingredients for the Baked Falafel:
- 2 cans of organic, no-salt added garbanzo beans (well rinsed and drained)
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 squeezed lemon
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- 1 tsp of z’atar spice
- 1 -2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1-2 tsp of dried dill
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- 2 TBSP of Lemon Tahini
- 2 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup of chickpea flour
Start by preheating your oven to ~ 415 degrees. Next, coat 2 baking sheets in coconut oil. Add your chopped bell peppers, zucchini, and cauliflower to the baking sheets. Coat them in a little bit of EVOO or coconut oil and top with some z’atar spice, salt & black pepper. Place in oven and let cook for ~ 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on these as they’ll cook fast. I prefer mine slightly charred, but they should be good after 15 minutes in the oven!
Once you get your veggies in the oven, bring a pot of water (2 cups of water) w/ 1 cup of quinoa to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, you can let that simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Once the quinoa is ready, stir in your lemon tahini for flavoring.
After you’ve setup you quinoa, you can then move onto preparing your falafel. You’ll add your garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, bunch of parsley, salt, black pepper, cumin, dill, and z’atar spice. Blend this well until it reaches a smooth, yet chunky consistency. Transfer this to a bowl and layer in your chickpea flour. This should reach a doughy texture – feel free to add more flour if needed. Once your roasted veggies are done, reset your oven to 375 degrees. Next, you’ll spray a baking sheet with olive oil and form small balls or patties. Bake the patties in the oven ~ 15-20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, turn the oven to broil and let them reach a golden brown (make sure to keep an eye on these – they cook FAST)!
Lastly, while your falafel patties are cooking, saute your minced garlic, olive oil, kale, and bok-choy until well done (5-10 minutes needed).
Now that you have all your ingredients, layer in a large bowl your quinoa, sauteed greens, roasted veggies, and 3-4 falafel patties. This portion should be served warm. If you plan on eating the next day or save this for the week, heat up in microwave for about 2 minutes in a pyrex glass bowl. Then top with optional toppings such as avocado, shredded carrots, different variations of hummus (I chose to go with beet & kale pesto), and finally add in some crunch with Mary’s Gone Crackers (black pepper is my fave flavor)!