The Almighty Bowl

Karla’s post the other day combined with Julie and Jay opening the Native Bowl cart really drove the message home for me that if there is a recurring theme in Portland vegan cuisine, it’s definitely the “complete meal in a bowl.” No question. The majority of the vegan-friendly restaurants I frequent offer one or many, and why not? It’s economical and easy to prepare for the staff, and it’s delicious, healthy, and wholly satisfying for the customer. Win-win, dudes. And since Portland weather is between 50 and 70 degrees ten months out of the year, it doesn’t hurt that digging into a big hot bowl of food is heart- and body-warming.

quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, lemon-tahini sauce

quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, lemon-tahini sauce

We eat a lot of bowls here at my house, too. Just this week, I went to my favorite local grocery (the teeny-tiny grocery store inside of Proper Eats) and loaded up on ingredients to make mix-and-match bowls all week.

I bought:

  • a big bunch of swiss chard
  • a poblano pepper
  • a red bell pepper
  • garlic
  • onions
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • spinach
  • lemons
  • limes
  • asceptic tofu
  • brown rice in bulk
  • dried polenta grits in bulk
  • dried black beans in bulk
  • dried chickpeas in bulk

I came home, and while listening to podcasts, I whipped out in about an hour:

  • lemon-tahini sauce (Yellow Rose Recipes)
  • nacho sauce ( Yellow Rose Recipes)
  • tangy sour cream (Yellow Rose Recipes)
  • roasted red pepper ranch (Yellow Rose Recipes, omit chipotle and sub roasted red pepper)
  • roasted poblano-cilantro sauce
  • spicy peanut sauce (upcoming potluck zine)

With these ready to go in the fridge, and leftover white beans, quinoa, and some veg from last week, I’ve been able to quickly assemble lunches and dinners for us all week. I know that I’ve said it here before, so I’m sorry to sound like a broken record, but: you don’t need to rely on packaged and processed foods to make a quick meal. That is kind of my mantra. Consider me the anti-Sandra Lee. (Sandra, if you could just put down the cocktail, scissors, and glue gun and stop creating the elaborate tablescapes, you might have been able to find the 30 seconds it takes to chop the broccoli yourself instead of buying the shrink-wrapped stuff from the deli section, you psycho.)

nacho bowl

nacho bowl

Back to bowls! I think that my friend Julie “It’s in the mix!” Hasson would agree with me on this point: if you’re playing around with making whole bowls at home, and you want to take your bowl from a 7 to a 9.5, try multiple (complementary) sauces together. You don’t have drown your food in sauce—it will taste a lot better if you don’t—but try adding a squirt of hot sauce to your barbecue bowl, or a dollop of ranch to your baked beans bowl.


The Almighty Bowl — 5 Comments

  1. The bowl thing is in St. Petersburg as well. We even have a fairly new restaurant called Bowled and this is their concept as well. They even have a vegan bowl, which is sauteed seasonal vegetables in a seasoned vegetable broth served over rice noodles. Once of the better options in a non vegan friendly state.

  2. I love you blog, and I love your riff on Sandra Lee (she is a terrifying personality). Keep up the good work!

  3. Pingback: chickpeas are cheap: an outpouring of thoughts about the garbanzo and dried beans. « Get Sconed!

  4. I just started reading your blog and it’s great. I just had to pop in and say I totally agree on Sandra Lee, why do the curtains, table, cocktail and her outfit always need to match?

    Keep rockin!