Eating clean(“ish”) has been a process for me. It’s something that I’ve slowly, over time, been building up. Little changes, one at a time.
One of those changes came in the way of how I viewed healthy eating. I used to think “healthy eating” meant depriving yourself. I looked at it as a diet filled with restrictions. It’s taken me a while to shift that view. I now see healthy eating as a diet built on the idea of abundance. An abundance of healthy, beautiful, seasonal food that is all around us.
Once you open yourself to the idea of healthy, clean eating, you magically discover a world of ingredients that you would have not normally tried. Creating dishes around simple, wholesome ingredients is one of the ways I stay inspired in the kitchen, and one of the ways I stay inspired to continue to eat “healthy”.
One dish that I turn to the most are grain bowls. Essentially a large bowl filled with seasonal veggies, a grain of your choice, all topped with a delicious dressing. In this spicy buddha bowl, I combined some of my favorite vegetables, and topped it off with a spicy peanut dressing. It’s colorful, simple and as the perfect example of how healthy eating can feel abundant.
If you’ve never played around with making a grain bowl, you are in for a treat. The options are endless. You can really use just about anything in your fridge. Sometimes I play around with beans, broccoli or cauliflower. Or I play around with different grains, quinoa, barley or just about any rice. The beauty of these bowls is that you are in control. It’s a great way to have fun experimenting with different textures and flavors.
I remember the first time JonPaul and I played around this buddha bowl recipe, I was a little worried about how it would all come together. Sweet potatoes, avocado and soy sauce, really? I just couldn’t picture it. But I promise you, cross my heart, it is out of this world delicious. We first came up with it a few years ago, and it has since become a monthly staple in our house. So much so that JonPaul (who would eat a burger over just about anything) calls me from work to request this one. It’s that good.
The sweetness of the potatoes balances so well with the bold and spicy flavors of the dressing. The forbidden rice is nutty, rich, and earthy. A wonderful base for all of the beautiful vegetables. And can we talk about the combination of textures; crunchy, creamy, smooth. It’s all in this one.
But I think the reason I love this dish so much is because it’s a wonderful example of how simple food, when made with care and intention, can be not only delicious, but also oh so gorgeous. This bowl is essentially a combination of vegetables are their best, just doing their thing. No fancy techniques. No special cooking methods. Just fresh, whole foods, left alone to shine and create something magical. Whoever said healthy eating was boring, never had the pleasure of eating this.
- 1 large (or 2 small) sweet potato
- 2 cups of cooked forbidden rice (or any rice of your choice)
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup of shredded carrots
- 1 cup of shredded cabbage
- 1 cup of bean sprouts
- 3 scallions
- ¼ cup of chopped peanuts
- 2 tbsp of sesame seeds
- For the spicy peanut sauce
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter (or tahini)
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp of roughly chopped ginger
- 1 tsp of red curry paste
- the zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cook forbidden rice according to package, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop sweet potato into roughly 1 inch cubes. Place in a cast iron skillet, Drizzle with olive oil, salt/pepper. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, toss potatoes and place back in oven to roast for another 10-15 minutes until potatoes are evenly browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
- To prepare the dressing:
- In a high power blender, place chopped ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, curry paste, rice wine vinegar, lime zest/juice, and olive oil. Mix on high until fully blended. Taste, and season with salt/pepper as necessary (can also adjust amount of red curry paste for more/less heat). Transfer to a serving dish and set aside.
- Finish preparing other vegetables. Chop scallions on an angle into ¼ inch pieces. Slice avocado, roughly chop peanuts. Rinse bean sprouts. Shred cabbage and carrots (if not already shredded).
- To prepare bowl
- Using 2 large bowls (I like to use a flatter/wider bowl with this recipe), place 1 cup of rice in each bowl, followed by 1 cup of the roasted sweet potatoes, ½ cup of shredded carrots and shredded cabbage in each. Top with sliced avocado, bean sprouts, scallions and chopped peanuts. Drizzle a generous amount of the spicy peanut dressing on top and garnish with sesame seeds.