The first one is this Buddha Bowl.
I've seen versions of this dish all over the place and the way I interpret the concept is putting a variety of cooked and raw complementary but contrasting healthy vegetable dishes or ingredients together in the one bowl! I made it after feeling very inspired after watching River Cottage Veg Heroes last week. Now, I have to say that I have never really watched River Cottage before primarily because I thought it was a meat based cookery show and therefore I didn't think I would get much out of it but the latest series follows Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as he decides to spend one whole summer being vegetarian and see how it improves his cooking repertoire and appreciation for the diversity of vegetables and vegetarian food in general. This is right up my alley and I am loving this series!!
I really like how Hugh is presenting it; it's not preachy at all, just a very conscious and thoughtful challenge he's set for himself as a guy who clearly enjoys eating meat but who also cares about animals and about the planet. So far we've seen an Indian wedding where Hugh cooks dosas for the guests, a meal prepared for a Buddhist monk in training, fuel for cross country swimmers, vegetarian sushi made while on a fishing boat, recipes that make the most of homegrown seasonal vegetables from the garden and experimenting with vegetarian offerings in the River Cottage canteen. I watch it with my notebook at the ready because there have been some fantastic dishes and ideas so far!
In one episode I caught, Hugh and his vegetarian gurus David and Charlotte Bailey, who run a London vegetarian catering company, serve up a Buddha Bowl to a hoard of hungry construction workers in Kings Cross at lunchtime and the response is quite fantastic. Hugh observes that we often live up to our own cliches and daily expectations and habits by eating meat simply because it's there or because it's what we've always done, and that you don't need to be vegetarian to enjoy vegetarian food. Everyone who got a serving of the Buddha Bowl looked like they'd won the lottery and I was sitting in front of my TV, salivating, knowing what was going to be on the dinner menu later!
I had some leftover curried quinoa from lunch that day, so I whipped up my own version of their Buddha Bowl for Tom and I to enjoy in the evening. The version I saw on the show had things like pickled cucumbers and grilled haloumi in it, but I just made variations with what I had in the fridge and cupboard. It's a great dish for doing that sort of thing!
Based on an idea seen on River Cottage Veg Heroes
This is built on four main components - a grain, vegetables, protein and a garnish. What follows is what I made but there are endless variations, I'm already imagining different things to do with it next time! Use what you like to eat and what you have available and experiment! I think getting a combination of different tastes and textures that all somehow work together is the idea.
I used leftovers from a batch of Jemma's Curried Quinoa - my version includes cashews and dried cranberries. You could use brown rice, couscous, millet, barley or any other grain - use between 1-2 cups cooked grain per person, depending on how hungry you are!
Cook the grain according to packet instructions. Add any seasoning you might like (lemon juice, turmeric, etc), set aside and keep warm.
Sweet and sour crunchy carrots
4 small carrots, peeled and cut into batons
Splash of apple balsamic vinegar
Tiny bit of honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
Japanese "nanami togarashi" seasoning (optional, or you could use chilli powder or hot paprika)
Place carrot batons in a small bowl. Combine balsamic vinegar, honey and seasoning. Pour over the carrots and toss to combine thoroughly. Leave for the flavours to develop for about half an hour. Sprinkle with sesame seeds when serving.
4 large handfuls kale
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic (do not allow to burn). When soft, add the kale and place a lid on top. Shake the pan a few times and leave for one minute or until kale is wilted. Turn off the heat, set aside and keep warm.
You could use any other vegetables (cooked or raw) that you like. I'd recommend having a combination of raw and cooked if possible, it really adds to the texture! They had pickled cucumbers and kimchi (fermented cabbage) in the River Cottage version instead of kale (which was all I had!).
Maple soy Quorn or tofu
6 Quorn fillets or 1 small block tofu, cut into strips
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup soy sauce, to taste
1 red onion, cut into smallish chunks
A little fresh ginger, grated (optional)
Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to coat. Leave to marinate for about half an hour. Then heat some cooking spray or oil in a large frypan and stirfry the quorn or tofu pieces until they are cooked through and a little crispy. You can also do this in the oven if you prefer. Set aside and keep warm.
You could vary the flavours of this to be Indian, Thai, or Middle Eastern (I have a huge jar of za'taar in my cupboard that needs using!). You could use any kind of tofu you want, or you could use grilled haloumi cheese, or a veggie burger cut into chunks.
You can buy an Omega 3 seed mix or a salad seed mix from health food stores that have the three mentioned seeds in them plus a few more goodies. You could also toast some walnuts, pine nuts, almonds or cashews if you haven't already got some nuts in your grain or other dishes.
Get yourself a large bowl and layer the dishes up in it like so: grain, vegetables, protein and seed garnish.
It's such a delicious, healthy meal - everything tasted so good! We were both bowled over (no pun intended there!) by how good it was :)
Have you made a Buddha Bowl before? What are your favourite combinations?