If you want to become an ace at whipping up a quick and nutritious meal in a flash, well look no further. Today we’re talking yum bowls. Or nourish bowls, or earth bowls, or buddha bowls…………but whatever you want to call them, yum bowls are perfect for packing in all the nutrients in one satisfying and delicious meal.
There’s a few steps to achieving the perfect yum bowl, and the main one is preparation. It doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process, all you need is a little bit of forward thinking and you will go far.
And don’t despair, you won’t have to have fancy schmancy ingredients, truth be told, yum bowls are just the fancy name I give to eating all the left over veggies in my fridge!
Let’s begin the building process shall we?
First we need a base. This for me is usually a wholegrain of some type of legume or both. Always make sure you soak your grains, it really expedites the cooking process but more importantly, you are breaking down the phytic acid so that whatever grain/legume you’re eating, can be absorbed correctly for proper digestion. If I’m using legumes, I like to sprout mine. Yes, I know that sounds like a scary thought, but it honestly isn’t. Just soak them overnight in water, the next day, drain and rinse them, and placed them in a colander and on top of a bowl (to catch the water) and leave them by your kitchen window, where they will get some sunlight. Rinse them morning and night and after a couple of days, you will see them sprouting and ready to be cooked.
If you are gluten intolerant, there are heaps of great options, my favourite ones being:
Quinoa, millet, brown rice, basmati rice.
If you’re not into grains, as some folk aren’t, that’s cool, I got you. When I’m not feeling like grains, I make a cauliflower and broccoli rice. It’s easy and yummy and you can have it slightly sauteed or raw, up to you.
You could also try noodles, like buckwheat, sweet potato or mung bean noodles, which you can easily find at an Asian grocer.
Next step is your veggies: here you can do what I do and have a look at your fridge. What veggies are there that look like they will be dead in the next few days but are still ok to eat now. Zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and pumpkin bake well, as well as sweet potatoes, my absolute favourite vegetable in the world.
Veggies sorted, what about some freshness? A good handful of greens is a must so choose from the usual like baby spinach, finely chopped kale, shaved cabbage, crunchy carrots, sprouts, cucumber, the list goes on. And don’t forget herbs, they throw a new dimension of flavour into everything! My favourite is coriander, which is heavily used in Peruvian food so I grew up on the stuff, but seriously, it’s so good. Some people think it tastes like soap, yes, someone has said that to me so I know there’s some who hate it, never mind, use another one that you fancy. Dill, parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, chives, sage, taragon, oregano, marjoram, come on people, work with me!
Healthy fats? Yes please. What’s a yum bowl without some avocado? Not into avocado (you weirdo), try some raw nuts and seeds. Or if you’re like me, do both. A sprinkle of chia or hemp seeds always make an appearance in mine.
Let’s add some protein. I really like to add some legumes, and I know that some people find them boring but try and think outside the square. Chickpeas can get boring if you eat them plain all the time, but what about simmering them in a lovely tomato sauce, or some coconut milk with some curry powder? If you eat animal protein, a soft boiled egg would be a good option or if seafood is more your thing, some oil packed sardines or tuna can also work.
Okay so we now have a pretty good bowl, but we need to add something to it that will bring it all together and make each mouthful burst with flavour. Enter dressing.
A dressing can make or break a meal. Believe it! I’m going to give you one that is good and so easy to make. It’s also packed with the good stuff to keep the nasty bugs away this winter. Thank me later.
Turmeric and ginger dressing
Makes enough for 2 – 3 bowls
2 TBS tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 Tbs water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Mix it all until you get a smooth consistency.
And now you’re thinking, ‘she’s just rambled on but not shown us how?’. Ok yes, I’ve ramble on with options and ideas, so now how will you prepare, is that what you want to know?
Ok, I’ll tell you what I do, and see if you think it’s something that gels with you.
I make a cup of grains, a big batch of dressing, bake 1 pumpkin and 5-6 large sweet potatoes, every week. I usually do it all at the same time. It doesn’t take long, about 20 minutes for the quinoa, and 45 minutes for the pumpkin and sweet potato in the oven. I cut the pumpkin into wedges, and wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and bake them like that. Usually the pumpkin is ready first, so I just take them out and leave the sweet potatoes in until they are give a little when touched. This usually lasts me 5 days.
I always buy the same veggies that I like (lemons, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums, baby spinach, herbs, eggplant, zucchini, avocado) and cut them fresh. If they are getting old, I bake them and they last for a couple of days depending on how much I’ve got. I sprout 1/4 cup of legumes every week, which I add to my grains as a protein source (p.s you cook the legumes first after sprouting).
This is my base.
No, it doesn’t get boring because I mix it up.
I also like to add some seasonal veggies and try different flavours. For example, I’ll sautee some fresh mushrooms with broccolini, add that to the cooked quinoa, and then throw in a few dashes of coconut aminos. This combination goes well with some marinated and baked tempeh. All you need to do is cut the tempeh into squares, and pour over 2 TBS of maple syrup and 2 TBS of coconut aminos (or soy sauce), a tsp of freshly grated ginger and mix so it’s coated. Leave it to marinade for a few hours and then bake it.
Sometimes I mix the quinoa with some fresh tomatoes, parsley and lemon juice and serve it with some baked pumpkin on the side, baby spinach, hummus and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.
Get the idea? Having your grains/legumes/root veggies done makes life so much easier as you can just keep them in containers and use as you need. Trust me, if you prepare, you will never have to have another tasteless meal.
Hope that helps and I look forward to seeing what delicious yum bowls you create. Remeber to tag @onehungrymami #onehungrymami so that I can see what you’re up to and get some ideas.
Peas, love and mung beans