Quinoa and I used to go steady. The ancient grain made its way into our menu rotation at least bi-weekly for months, and then for reasons unbeknownst to me, it faded from our cycle. I don’t want to say I forgot about it, because how could one possibly forget about the perfect, protein-packed goodness that is quinoa? But… I did. In the passionate rush of exploring new vegan cuisines, our old vegetarian staple got left in the dust.
Quinoa and I were reintroduced when my mom recommended a recipe for a korean barbecue tofu bowl. The tofu is served with stir-fried veggies over (you guess it!) quinoa. I looked at it in the ingredients list, almost bashfully. Oh, hi, quinoa, I know it’s been a while, but I still think you’re pretty great… maybe we can hang out again? And oh boy. Did we.
Ever since that first bowl, I’ve had quinoa on the brain. So much so that for the three weeks, I’ve made at least one quinoa bowl a week. In fact, this week, I made two! JB needs you to send help to save him from this quinoa-deluge I’ve brought upon him.
What have I been doing will all this quinoa, you ask? Making dinner bowls. The basic anatomy of a “bowl” is follows: you’ve got some sort of protein or plant-based meat alternative, a mix of vegetables, a sauce, all of which are served over a grain.
Here are the four I’ve tried:
1. Korean BBQ Tofu Bowls with Stir-Fried Veggies from Oh My Veggies
Once this bowl is made, everything about it is perfect. This was my second foray into making my own barbecue sauce, and I have to say, it turned out really well. The tang, combined with the sweetness of the pineapple, results in an incredible burst of flavor with each bite. This bowl is probably the most in-depth of the four. I used the most pots and pans to pull this off, and it left me with the biggest mess in to clean up… but it was worth it.
2. Autumn Nourish Bowls from Oh My Veggies
This meal is autumn incarnate. The chickpeas (roasted with the sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and kale) act as the protein here. You could toss some seitan or tofu in as well if you’re looking for a more robust meal, but I found this blend to be just the right amount of food. All the ingredients are tied together with a homemade tahini sauce.
3. Portobello Philly Cheese Steak Bowl from Keepin’ it Kind
I’m coming around to portobellos. When I was a vegetarian, I really resented that a portobello “patty” was often my only burger choice at restaurants. However, I’ve grown to appreciate them when they’re done right, and oh boy, these sure are. They’re sauteed in liquid aminos and vegan Worcestershire sauce, which gives them a salty, smoky kick. However, the real star of this show is the cheese sauce. The smoked paprika makes it taste cheddary (or at least how I remember cheddar tasting). When it’s drizzled over the portobello, baked sauteed veggies, and quinoa, you’re in for a real treat. This bowl is an amazing guilt-free way to enjoy the highlights of a Philly cheese steak.
4. Peanutty Quinoa Bowls with Baked Tofu from Oh My Veggies
I was so hungry last night, I didn’t stop to take a picture of this one! This recipe is so easy. Broccoli and red peppers are folded into the quinoa with a thick sauce made from peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, and brown sugar. The real star of this show is the baked tofu, which is served in thick cutlets atop the bowl.
Do you have a favorite “bowl” recipe? If so, please share in the comments below!