Assemble A Quick And Easy Veggie Bowl For Dinner
Assemble a simple dinner seems like a straight-forward task, but it is easier said than done. Mainly because you’ve had a long day and the thought of preparing anything seems like a tedious task. Luckily, you can try our go-to technique to create your favorite dishes for busy weeknights.
Better yet, these dishes all depend on what you have left in your fridge and pantry. You can make them with very little planning or none at all. You can create delicious dishes with a bunch of different ingredients or even just a handful. And with a few adjustments, these bowls can cater to one person or several.
The bonus is that they are healthy, vegetarian and with the tasty sauces, a brilliant way to pack in a ton of vegetables at once.
Assemble The Necessary Tools
Before you can start getting creative, you’ll need a few things to make preparation even simpler.
Grain + Vegetables + Protein (tofu, tempeh, legumes or beans) + Garnishes + Sauce.
You’ll need to take out:
- One cutting board and knife.
- A saucepan or pot to cook your grain of choice.
- Find a blender or food processor (optional) to prepare a quick homemade sauce.
- Another saucepan with a lid and steamer basket or heat-resistant colander to cook your chosen vegetables and protein.
1. Start cooking your grain.
This is a one-bowl meal and is the best way to use leftover food. You can also reheat grains sitting in your fridge which stops you from throwing food away. If you’d like to prepare the bowl quickly, then choose a quick-cooking grain like quinoa ( cooks in about 15 minutes), bulgur (cook in about 20 minutes), or pearl barley (about 30 minutes).
2. Start processing the sauce.
If you’re health conscious then you need to place importance on the sauces you consume. Overly processed sauce sold in grocery stores are often filled with preservatives, flavorants and refined sugars. Therefore, it’s best to whip up your own while your grain is cooking. You can also make it ahead of time and refrigerate the sauce until needed. Here are a few good recipes:
- Avocado Dressing (The Kitchn)
- Carrot-Ginger Dressing (Smitten Kitchen)
- Curry-Coconut Sauce (Real Simple)
- Gandhi’s Curry Sauce (Native Foods)
- Green Tea Sesame Sauce (Native Foods)
- Spicy Peanut Sauce (The Kitchn)
- Tahini-Miso Dressing (The Kitchn)
3. Steam your vegetables and protein.
You can choose which vegetables you’d prefer to use in your bowl. Frozen veggies are perfectly fine too. It’s meant to be whatever you have in your kitchen at the time. Then, don’t forget to add some kind of protein whether it tofu or legumes. You will need to cut your tofu up into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. Then, fill a saucepan with an inch or two of water and place the steamer basket or colander inside, and bring to a boil. Layer the vegetables and protein in the basket, placing heavier, dense items (root veg, tempeh) on the bottom and lighter items (leafy greens, tofu) on top. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and steam until everything is just cooked.
4. Don’t forget about your garnishes.
I like to garnish my meals because they can add a nice bit of color, texture, and flavor to your meals. Try fresh herbs (Cilantro, Basil, Rockette), nuts and seeds (peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds), dried fruit (raisins, currants, cranberries), or chopped scallions, onions, or sweet peppers.
5. Assemble your bowl and eat.
Place a small scoop of your cooked grain in the center of each bowl. Arrange the vegetables and protein on top, and then place your garnish. Drizzle the amount of sauce you like onto the bowl just before serving.
I have not included specific quantities here, because it’s meant to serve as a general guide. You have the freedom to assemble and adjust your portions according to your preferences and needs. However, in general, I suggest about 1/2 cup of cooked grain, 2 cups of cooked vegetables, 4 ounces of tofu or tempeh, a couple of tablespoons of garnish, and up to 1/4 cup of sauce per person.
Simply steaming the tofu or tempeh is quickest, but if you have more time, you can of course marinate, bake, grill, or prepare it any way you like.
Imagine living a lifestyle where you feel 100% content. You no longer feel as if you’re missing out or wanting more. This is how you can make the jump.