Welcome to the enlightenment bowl. What is an enlightenment bowl? It's a name I came up with for a buddha bowl raised to the next nutritional level. In fact, it has so much nutritional value, that you won't be able to help but feel enlightened.
This is what I'm talking about:
- Quinoa - a gluten-free supergrain that is loaded with iron, fiber, manganese and is one of the only plant sources of complete protein.
- Sprouted pulses (legumes) - an excellent way to improve digestive enzymes, sprouted beans and lentils provide your body with more vitamins and nutrients than their unsprouted former selves.
- Beets - high in vitamin C and fiber, raw beets are an antioxidant and are anti-inflammatory.
- Tahini - This ground sesame paste is high in heart healthy fats and is a great source of thiamine, iron, and calcium. Most grocery stores now carry tahini in either the asian or health food aisles or right next to the peanut butter.
- Hemp seeds - An amazing little superfood from the cannabis plant that is also high in heart healthy fats and high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. They are a great plant based source of protein.
- Nutritional yeast - A yeast grown on beet sugar, nutritional yeast is high in B-complex vitamins. It is also a complete protein and is a great plant-based source of selenium and zinc. And it's cheesy tasting so sprinkle this beautiful yeast in place of grated cheese.
That's an extensive list of added nutrients and it's only a portion of the healthy ingredients packed into my enlightenment bowl. Let's move on to how to make it.
Start by making your cooked quinoa. Always rinse it first through a fine mesh strainer. Then prepare based on the directions from your package. I use my rice cooker to make large amounts of quinoa and brown rice on the weekend and then eat it throughout the week. Make enough quinoa for about 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa per bowl or 3 cups for 4 people.
While the quinoa is cooking, destem and chop up the kale. I usually buy organic kale leaves from the grocery store or farmers market, but missed getting some this week. Luckily I had to go to Trader Joe's for our favorite vanilla soy ice cream, so picked up a package of pre-cut organic kale for $3.99. I used about half a bag for this recipe and had to still cut out the stems from the pieces, but it worked in a crunch and was convenient.
Place your chopped kale in a large bowl and using your clean hands, squeeze half a lemon onto the kale, making sure the seeds don't fall in. Massage your kale for about 3 minutes to soften and tenderize it. Trust me—this makes a huge difference and is well worth the 3 minutes you just lost from your life.
Wash your carrot (but don't bother peeling) and grate. Wash, peel, and grate your raw beet. Make sure to keep the two separated so the beets don't turn your carrots red. And wear gloves and be mindful of your countertop as the red juice from the beets will stain your skin and pretty much anything it comes into contact with. Personally I don't mind beet stained hands.
Take your bag of frozen edamame out of the freezer and cook or steam based on package instructions. They only take a few minutes and you will never know they were frozen. You can find these babies in the freezer section of most grocery stores now and they are quiet lovely on their own with just a bit of sea or kosher salt and a squirt of lime.
A note on the sprouted pulses (beans and lentils) — these can be hard to find if you don't have a large farmer's market in your area. We found these sprouted beans at our farmers market, but I also decided to try to sprout my own beans and lentils and will expound more on that in next week's blog.
Add some of those sprouted pulses and you have now completed the base prep.
It's tahini sauce time!
Add all the sauce ingredients to your Vitamix or food processor, including the vibrant turmeric and cheesy nutritional yeast.
Blend for approximately 20 seconds until a smooth consistency forms. It's seriously that easy. I know I have said this before, but I really do use my Vitamix at least once a day and sometimes more than that. It was well worth my money. You can find a lower cost, refurbished model that I use by clicking on the Amazon link below.
Let's put it all together now. Remember, this serves 4 people and you can either throw it all in one large serving bowl or into individual bowls. Whatever you do, do it with creativity and finesse! Arrange your base elements, drizzle on a few tablespoons (or more) of the sauce , the chopped nuts, and hemp hearts.
And if all this enlightenment is just for you, package up a few enlightened glass containers for lunch this week.
Don't let the nutritional value of this dish put you off. It is extremely flavorful and delicious. People will be asking for the sauce recipe alone.
And next time you hear someone talk about the buddha bowl they made last night, tell them "I'll call your buddha bowl and raise you an enlightened bowl." This recipe will move your health up to a higher level.
Time: 45 minutes
3 cups of cooked quinoa
3 c. kale, destemed, chopped and massaged with the juice of half a lemon
1 carrot, shredded
1 beet, shredded
1 c. frozen edamame, steamed and deshelled
1/2 c. sprouted beans or lentils
1/2 c. tahini paste
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 c. filtered water
1/4 c. chopped nuts of choice
1/8 c. raw hemp hearts
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa per box/container instructions.
Destem the kale and chop into small pieces. Place in large bowl and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top. With clean hands, gently massage your chopped kale for about 3 minutes. This softens and tenderizes the kale.
Shred your carrot and beet separately. Use gloves if you don’t want your hands to be dyed red from the beet juice and be careful of staining your cutting board or countertop.
Steam your frozen edamame per package instructions. Fresh edamame is great, but it is hard to find. Most stores now carry frozen and deshelled packages of edamame that take 5 minutes to prepare.
In a high powered blender or food processor, add all sauce ingredients and blend until smooth, approx. 20 seconds.
In a large bowl or four small bowls, arrange your base ingredients equally. Drizzle a few tablespoons of sauce over each bowl. Garnish with the chopped nuts and hemp hearts. Sprinkle some sea salt and fresh ground pepper on top to taste.
Makes 4 servings.