Welp. This always happens. I chug along, blogging when I can, and then–BOOM! Life gets crazy. The blog falls to the wayside.
I'll spare you the I've-been-busy spiel (haven't we all?). Let me just get right into what's inspiring me right now: Time Magazine's 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time.
For the last decade, I've been on a quest to figure out how we should be eating (I'm using the royal "we" here–I simply want to know how I should be eating; if you agree, come along on my journey; if not, you do you). I've read all of Michael Pollan's books. I've researched eating organically, sustainably, and vegan. I've looked into Paleo diets, the Whole 30 diet, gluten-free diets, juice cleanses, low-carb diets–you name it, I know what it means and what the rules are.
In my quest to unearth The One True Way To Eat, I've found an enormous amount of conflicting information. The "Forks Over Knives" Fan Club eschew animal protein in favor of a fully plant-based diet; the Paleo Pack takes grains and dairy out of the equation; the Anti-Carb Collective is busy chowing down on bacon and eggs... How is anyone supposed to know what's truly healthy? And where does that leave me, a lifelong member of the Everything In Moderation Society?
Well, it leaves me where I am today, which (as I've mentioned before) is a label-less, conscientious omnivore. When I stumbled upon the 50 Healthiest Foods list, I was really excited to see almost every variety of food represented–grains, veggies, fruits, dairy, meat. The list looked a lot like the inside of my fridge on a good day (let's not discuss those leftover-cold-pizza and Pinot Grigio days).
Lately, inspired by the 50 Healthiest Things Ever, I've been making what I call "Nourish Bowls." They're exactly what they sound like: big bowls of nourishing, good-for-you ingredients that you'll actually want to eat. Below, I'll give you a specific recipe, but here's the basic formula, so you can create your own:
1. Cook a whole grain of your choice: wheat berries, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, barley, etc. until chewy. Drain any excess water and place in a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, saute onions/shallots/leeks/allium of your choice in olive oil/coconut oil/butter/fat of your choice for a few minutes.
3. Peel and dice a sweet potato (1/2" dice) and add to the onions, then add 1 cup water, turn the heat up, and boil the potatoes until tender (adding more water as needed if the pan gets dry before the potatoes are tender).
4. Chop 1-2 green veggies of your choice: broccoli, kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, etc., and add them to the sweet potatoes and onions.
5. Pick a nut of your choice (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.) and a dried fruit of your choice (prunes, cranberries, apricots, cherries, etc.) and add them to your drained grains along with a fresh chopped herb of your choice (cilantro, parsley, dill, etc.).
6. When your veggies/potato mixture is cooked till everything is tender, drain any excess liquid from the pan, then toss all those ingredients into your grain/nut/fruit bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
7. Top your Nourish Bowl with a protein of your choice (tofu, chicken, boiled egg, steak, seitan, etc.). Top with a homemade or store-bought sauce, and enjoy!
Here's the specific recipe you see in the photos today:
WHEAT BERRY NOURISH BOWL WITH TOFU & SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
1 cup wheat berries
2 T. coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small sweet potato,diced
1/2 head of broccoli plus some stem; cut into small florets and stem diced
2 handfuls kale, sliced
7-8 dried prunes, sliced
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T. smooth natural peanut butter
squeeze of Sriracha sauce
about 3 T. soy sauce
about 2 T. rice wine vinegar
juice of one lime
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook wheat berries according to package directions (my package said it would take an hour; mine took more like and hour and 20 minutes; my wheat berries didn't soak up all their liquid, so when they were tender, I just drained them through a sieve). Drain if needed and return to cooking bowl.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil, then add onions and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add 1 cup water, turn the heat up, and boil so the potatoes get tender (you may need to add more water as you go if the pan gets dry before potatoes are done).
3. In a separate pan, heat a little more oil over medium high heat. Drain and pat a half a block of extra firm organic tofu dry, then cut into 1-inch blocks. Sear the tofu on all sides until it's golden brown. Set aside.
4. When potatoes are nearly tender and most of the water has evaporated from the sweet potatoes pan, add the broccoli and kale. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan, turn the heat down a bit, and cook until all veggies are tender.
5. Add the prunes, walnuts, and cilantro to the wheat berries bowl. When the veggie mix is done, drain any excess water from the pan, then toss the veggies with the grains.
7. To make sauce, combine peanut butter, Sriracha, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk till smooth.
6. Plate your Nourish Bowl and top with the tofu. Pour the sauce over the bowl and enjoy!