Once upon a time, I spent wayyyyyyy too much money on lunch.
I spent the morning working out and studying my booty off. It was cold and nasty and I couldn’t envision any food at home that seemed to meet any parameters in terms of hunger satisfaction or delivery of nutrients. And I was (kind of) in the neighborhood of the new Mom’s, which I’d yet to check out. It was thoroughly, thoroughly mind boggling, and had a terribly convenient (albeit ludicrously overpriced) little take out market where they’d make you a steamed bowl of joy. I managed to restrain myself from paying another $5 for fresh juice, and came home with this:
The Peruvian Bowl! (Note: that is what they call it. I can just imagine someone Peruvian looking at this and going “…”). Anyway, it was DARN good. Brown rice, black beans, avocado, tempeh, and the thing that made it awesome times 1,000: chimichurri! Crazy flavorful, tons o fat chimichurri.
It was also warm and stick to your ribs-y on this icky, icky day I ate it. So basically we were best friends.
It was a rather large meal, and had also cost me $$$, so I was delighted when I was pretty full and there was still a decent amount of the bowl left.
The next day I set about revamping it into Grain Bowl: Take 2. Somehow all of the avocado and tempeh had mysteriously vanished (… weird) so I jazzed it up with:
- crispy kale (loved the textural dimension this added to it!)
- roasted mushrooms
- hardboiled egg
STILL great! Uglier…
Obviously this meal would have been considerably more attractive had I moved it to a new bowl. But washing extra dishes wastes water. And also time.
So THEN I went: Self, you can’t drop that kind of bank on lunch every day. Furthermore, it is morally and intellectually ridiculous when you know how inexpensive those ingredients actually are. So, you are just going to have to MAKE YOUR OWN.
And this will make a great default meal. Oatmeal has always been my default meal for breakfast. I can make it in my sleep, it is physically and emotionally satisfying to me, I can customize it in a variety of ways to keep myself from getting bored, etc. A salad with a poached egg on top serves the same purpose for me for dinner.
So the grain bowl. Breaking down its components:
- Grain (duh)
- Vegetables (for some reason it is much easier for me to eat vegetables in this form than in a salad. I think it’s all weather related. I’ve started to notice an alarmingly strong correlation between the weather and my mood- yet another reason I should never live in Siberia- and the same seems to be true for the weather and my appetites)
- sauce for jazz that ideally incorporates a healthy fat
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
To make the grain bowl happen, I recommend making a megabatch of whole grains at the beginning of the week. Quinoa was my jam this week: complete protein, holla!
This bowl had grains; scads of roasted mushrooms; chickpeas; egg for protein; walnuts for crunch, healthy fat, and awesomeness; and finally, some sort of green sauce that I cannot for the life of me remember. I actually can’t remember making this meal and was baffled to find it on my memory card. Always reassuring, memory loss at the age of 24.
It’s good that this had walnuts. Walnuts= omega 3’s= memory. Clearly I need them.
This one I ate yesterday, and I do remember it.
Grains, roasted carrots ‘n broccoli, avocado, egg on top. And for the piece de resistance, homemade cilantro pesto! Mark Bittman’s recipe. Just cilantro, oil, garlic, and salt. Lovely.
Sooooooo many cooooooooolors!
And this one was my absolute favorite, due mostly to methodology, because I made everything stovetop and I think it amped up the flavor.
I began by cooking some mushrooms just in cooking spray. Then I added leftover roasted carrots ‘n broccoli (from the day before: win!), a few leftover grilled peppers from a meal out, and 1/2 a cup of Trader Joe’s fat free refried black beans. And the quinoa. And then that got sticky and I added the cilantro pesto to help unstick stuff from the bottom of the pan… but it still got nice and crusty :)
Served atop a bad of greens for extra veggie love (and because the greens were looking rather dismal and needed using!). Topped with avocado for extra awesomeness.
Fact: quinoa is really good when it gets toasted. Less airy. More stick-to-ya-ribs.