Roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, sweet potato, and beets make up these vegan bowls
Here’s something that horrifies most everyone I tell it to.
I eat the exact same lunch almost every single day. I have since I started working at my job almost two years ago.
My partner and I are dedicated batch cookers. To stay on target, we like to keep our recipes pretty same-y. Every season, we’ll have a rotation of batch cooks for our dinners: chilli, burrito bowls, and chicken tortilla soup for spring and summer; cheesy lasagna, stews, and mac ‘n’ cheese for fall and winter.
For our work lunches, we do a standard spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, and chicken that we roast in bulk every Sunday.
For the most part, this works great! Having a routine really helps keep us from eating out. We both work in Gastown, where there’s a plethora of lunchtime options to tempt our stomachs and wallets. By switching up the spices ‘n’ seasonings every week, as well, we keep the flavours interesting.
I’ve been thinking about ways to reinvent this salad routine, though, especially for fall. A big source of inspiration came when I started following Erin Ireland, vegan Vancouverite extraordinaire, of To Die For. Her bounty of colourful bowls — full of bright purples, yellows, greens, and beautiful smoky browns — have me thinking about eating better, cleaner, and maaaybe a little less meat. (No promises: while I love veg meals, I haven’t been full vegetarian for a few years now.)
We’re downright spoiled for delectable vegan restaurants in Vancouver, and “bowls” are a staple. Spots like Kokomo, Nectar Juicery, and TurF bring the killer veg bowls. Armed with plenty of inspiration, I set out to make my very own vegan bowls for my work lunches. Read on for my recipe, and feel free to adapt!
This makes two hefty servings. Feel free to double for lunches all week long, or just make enough to treat yourself on occasion!
- 1 c uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 a head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 sweet potato, chopped into small cubes
- 1 – 15 oz. can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 2 beets, sliced real thin
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Red onion, sliced thin
- 1 carrot, sliced thin
- 2 handfuls of spinach, chop-chopped
- A couple spoonfuls of hummus
- 1 avocado
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ~ 1 tsp paprika
- Olive oil
- 1/2 a lemon
Preheat oven to 400F. On a baking tray, place your cauliflower, sweet potato, chickpeas, and beets. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss it around to coat evenly. Once your oven’s ready, pop the tray in and set a timer for 30 minutes. Be sure to check in midway through to give a wee mix.
Meanwhile, set your quinoa to cook with 1 c of water. When it’s cooked through, you’ll add a small drizzle of olive oil, the minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. I also added a small squeeze of lemon juice, to keep it zesty.
Once your veggies are all roasted through, it’s time to assemble your bowl (or plate)! I started with chopped spinach and a scoop of quinoa. Then, layer your roasted veggies, and spread out your sliced carrot and red onion. Slice your avo thin, and gently place on the plate. A spoonful of hummus, a squeeze of lemon, and a lil’ fresh salt and pep — you’re done!
You’ll be Tupperware-ing it if you’re heading into work, so the presentation doesn’t matter too much. A vigorous mix gets all that good-good flavour mingling anyways!
Real talk: we all know that eating even a little less meat does wonders for our planet. The Great Natalie Portman says, “If everyone could change their eating habits a little bit, it will completely change the way animals are farmed.” Factory farming is undeniably cruel, and is devastating to our environment. We eat far more meat in our Western society than anyone really needs to. If everyone chose one meal a day, or one day a week, to eat totally veg or vegan, it would have a huge impact. I don’t eat pork or red meat, but I’m going to try to limit the poultry and seafood I include in my diet. Who knows what sort of a difference even those slight adjustments could make?