Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Hearty Winter Soul Food

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

We have always loved making buddha bowls—even before we even knew they were called buddha bowls. So what is a buddha bowl? It's simple. It's a big-ass bowl filled with nutritious goodness. Fill it with whole grains and vegetables and top it with a sauce. That is a buddha bowl.

Personally I think you should fill it with in-season vegetables. Root vegetables are perfect for the winter. Dark leafy greens are another healthy element you can add. Try to stick with whole grains like brown rice or quinoa.

So what is in my buddha bowl this week? Well, brown rice is a staple in my house. I had a head of cauliflower I needed to use, so I steamed that. I had some multi-colored carrots and beets from the farmers market, both of which I love roasted. I decided to bake some falafels since they are so easy and delicious. And of course, I topped it with a traditional tahini sauce—which I could literally drink (it is that good) if I let myself, but that would turn into a unwanted cleanse.

Do some prep work so that this doesn't take you all afternoon. I make large batches of brown rice or quinoa ahead of time and then heat it up before I am ready to build my bowl. I also like to make my falafels early because they are very easy to heat up. If you need assistance on making brown rice, see my 30-Days of Clean Eating: Week 2 blog on the basics.

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

Get your root vegetables started first. I do them together and then pull the carrots out of the oven earlier than the beets, which take longer to roast. The beets are in a little foil envelop, so it is easy to roast the vegetables separately.

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com
Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

Once your vegetables are roasted, get started on your falafels. Falafels are traditionally fried. And they are soooooooo good! But if you are trying to be more healthful, give baking them a try. Honestly, they are not as good. There is no crisp outside and steamy inside. But baking them cuts the fat down and makes them soft and creamy and, in my humble opinion, perfect for a buddha bowl.

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

They are seriously easy to make as well. Throw everything in a large food processor and pulse until combined. Take your handy levered ice cream scooper and scoop out even balls on a lined cookie sheet. Flatten a little into disks, drizzle with a bit of olive oil to keep them moist and bake for 25 minutes.

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

Now it's time to make the tahini sauce. Beware, this will take you a whole 2 minutes to make. I make mine in a Vitamix, but if you have a bullet or other high powered blender it will work just as well. Yes, you can absolutely make this by hand with a wisk. The high powered blender just does an excellent job of emulsifying the sauce and making it rich and creamy. If you don't have a high powered blender then you are really missing out. I use mine daily for smoothies, soups, sauces, dressings, and banana ice cream.

Now you can put your bowl together. Unless you are in need of a heavy amount of carbs (like I am during race training), try to just fill 1/4 of the bowl with your grains. The rest should be vegetables and the falafels. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and serve!

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com
Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com
Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

Have fun creating your buddha bowl and change it up for what is in-season and what you have on hand. We enjoy making mexican style ones with rice, black beans, chopped tomatoes and an avocado sauce. I also like quinoa, sweet potato and kale bowls with a sweet/spicy maple syrup, cinnamon and cayenne creamy sauce. Try to keep your bowls light (steaming is a better option than roasting) and healthy, with lots of layers of flavors to keep it satisfying and hearty.

Remember to share some of your favorite variations in the comment section below! Enjoy! xoxo

Tahini Buddha Bowl with Baked Falafel - Gluten-Free & Vegan Hearty Soul Food. By www.fernsandpeonies.com

Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
Roasted Carrots:
6 large carrots, washed, peeled (optional) and quartered lengthwise
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Beets:
3 beets, tops cut off, washed, halved or quartered per size
Drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Falafels:
1 can of garbanzo beans, strained and rinsed
1 large shallot, quartered
3 cloves of garlic, rough chop
1 c. fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. course kosher salt
1/4 tsp. course black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. quinoa flour

Tahini Sauce:
1/4 c. tahini (sesame paste)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, rough chop
1/4 c. vegan sour cream
1/4-1/3 c. unsweetened almond (or soy, hemp, etc) milk
2 tsp. tamari sauce (or soy sauce if you don’t need gluten-free)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. course black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin

Basics:
Cooked brown rice
Steamed vegetable of choice

Directions:

Prepare your brown rice and any other steamed vegetables you might want in your bowl. My 30-Days of Clean Eating Week 2: The Basics blog post has instructions on how to make brown rice.

For the rest of the bowl:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the carrots and quarter or half them lengthwise. Place on a pan lined with foil, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season. Roast for 30-40 minutes until you can easily pierce with a fork.

At the same time as you roast the carrots, roast the beets. Spray aluminum foil with olive oil. Cut green tops off beets and wash thoroughly. Wrap beets loosely in the foil and put on pan in the oven. Roast for 35-45 minutes, longer depending on the size of your beets, piercing with fork to tell when completely roasted. Leave wrapped in foil to cool. Take a paring knife and peel the skin off the beets. Slice and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the beets are ready to come out of the oven, prepare the falafels. In a large food processor, put everything in and pulse to combine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With your handy levered ice cream scooper, scoop out falafel balls onto the lined sheet. Flatten to thick disks with your fingers. Drizzle with a little olive oil to keep them moist and bake for 25-30 minutes. These are not doughy/bready,so they will still be soft on the inside, but if you bake for this recommended time they will be done. You can also fry these for a much yummier and crispier version, but they will turn from a health food into a fatty food.

When the falafels are done, make the tahini sauce in your Vitamix or other high powered blender. Combine all the ingredients and blend for about 15-20 seconds to emulsify.

To serve, find a big-ass bowl. Fill 1/4 with the rice and the rest with the veggies and 2-3 falafels. Drizzle with the tahini sauce. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Print the recipe here!