Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl with Honey-Lime Tahini Dressing

Yeah, that sounds a little ethnographically confusing, doesn’t it? For one, what’s a Buddha bowl?

Recipes for Buddha bowls are easy to find online, and in fact, you can do one without a real recipe—except for maybe the dressing. Basically, the modus operandi here is to combine healthy, nourishing foods in a bowl and unite them with a dressing that invariably contains tahini, as Buddha bowls are usually a vegan thing and tahini packs a protein-laced punch. Some people take an anything goes approach, clearing out what they’ve got lying around and throwing it together, which makes the Buddha bowl a good candidate for end-of-the-week farmers’ market remnants, grain or protein leftovers and seeds in the pantry. However, I don’t believe the kitchen-sink approach always yields the best taste. Let’s be honest here, people: Some veggies just don’t necessarily belong together. I’ve decided to treat this more like a composed dish, inspired by the flavors of the Middle East/Mediterranean.

The bowl, before the dressing

If you like, swap out the beans for tofu, or switch out the greens for what you have on hand, or change the flavor profile altogether with different herbs and spices. I plan on making this a bunch of different ways as the growing seasons progresses, but this is one of those endlessly variable dishes that pack well (just store the dressing in a separate container) and feeds a crowd. This one more than amply fed three adults and three kids, ranging from 5-6 in age.

Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl

Serves 4-6

Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1-2 T of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • I bunch of kale, washed, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • 2 cups cooked millet
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut into thirds vertically
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of Italian leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 T. tahini
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for the Bowl:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss together the cauliflower, olive oil and garam masala, and season with salt and pepper. Spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until the tops start to brown and the cauliflower starts to soften a little. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (This can be done ahead of time; Buddha bowls take kindly to room temperature serving.)

2. Find a large, preferably wide-bottomed bowl, and fill it with the kale as the base. Starting clockwise from the top, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley, pumpkin seeds, and millet in any order of your choice.

3. Toss with the dressing, which you’ve assembled per below…..

Instructions for the dressing:
1. Combine olive oil through garlic in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add salt and pepper, pulse, and taste. Adjust ingredients according to your liking.

15

04 2014

The 10 Minute Vegan Chocolate Cake

Going to someone’s house for quick weekday dinner, especially for the first time, means you don’t show up empty-handed. At least I don’t. I have determined that I have a compulsion, nay, a pathology about this. If I am going to someone’s house, chance are I’m packing something edible or potable. It just doesn’t feel right to arrive somewhere without a consumable offering.

Yesterday, I threw together this vegan chocolate cake, which is so absurdly easy, there’s no reason why dessert should be relegated to a weekend domestic project. The ten minute moniker refers to assembly time, not baking time, which is hands off anyway.

A note about substitutions: if you don’t have coffee extract or espresso powder, swap it for 1 T of coffee, and add it to the liquid. If you have neither, no worries. Coffee related additions create depth in chocolate desserts and I almost always, with very few exceptions, bring it on. And because I’ve adapted this from the awesome book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, you can of course make these as cupcakes. Just reduce the baking time to 15-18 minutes.

10 Minute Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup almond, soy, or other nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder (I like this one from King Arthur Flour)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coffee extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (of your choice; I used light)
  • 1/3 cup oil of choice (I used coconut)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine the milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup, stir, and set aside.

3. Sift together all of the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl.

4. Add the extracts to the measuring cup with milk and ACV. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugars, milk, and oil.

5. Slowly add in the flour, gently folding it in with a rubber spatula. When it’s mostly combined, switch to a small wire whisk to get out any last minute lumps but don’t overmix it. Pour into into a well-greased and floured 8-inch round pan (I used a Springform) and bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean (a couple of small crumbs are fine) and the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan to cool completely.

You can serve this as is, with a snowy dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or actually make some frosting. Or if it’s berry season, quickly chop up some fresh organic strawberries, toss them with a squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon or so of granulated sugar, and serve them alongside the cake.

09

04 2014