This year has been weird, so far. We have reached a level of Deep Weird.
To get out of the Weird, I decided to dive into some new ingredients. In the spirit of my admittedly imperfect movement toward a more plant-based diet, I looked at my pantry and pondered my options. I wanted to explore some new flavors while also boosting the nutritional value of my meal.
I fired up the oven and got to work on a whole-foods, oil-free recipe. This recipe is a triple-whammy: Vitamin B12, probiotics, and some funky ingredients.
To incorporate some vitamin B12, I included nutritional yeast, which can sometimes be lacking in a plant-based diet. A healthy dollop of white miso (who knew miso was fermented?) in the dressing lends the recipe its dose of probiotics. As for the funky ingredients, I framed this meal around the two purple sweet potatoes and maroon carrots I had ordered from my local farmer's market delivery service, and improvised with flavors like Za'atar and cilantro.
Tahini-Miso Purple Sweet Potato Bowl
Serves 4, with leftover dressing
1 cup of dry Bulgur Wheat
2 large Purple Sweet Potatoes (or any color of Sweet Potatoes)
2 large Maroon or Orange Carrots
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth, adjusting depending on size of root vegetables
2 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
1 cup fresh Spinach
1/2 cup of Tahini
1/2 cup of Water
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 stalk of Cilantro, stems removed
1 tbsp White Miso paste
1 tsp Za’atar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 hefty pinch flaky Maldon sea salt
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
More Cilantro, for garnish
- Cook bulgur according to package instructions, then allow to cool. While this is on the stove, peel and chop sweet potatoes and carrots into rounds (Rondelle-style).
- Put root vegetables into a bowl with a generous soaking of vegetable broth. Alternative for a non-oil-free version: Drizzle with a light layer of olive oil.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- For the root vegetable medley: Bake sweet potato and carrot rounds and unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Prepare Tahini-Miso Dressing, as described below.
- Chop bell pepper into a large dice cut.
- Make a bed of spinach in 4 bowls, and top with cooked bulgur. Top with bell pepper and roasted root vegetables, and drizzle with dressing.
- Garnish with a few cilantro leaves.
For Tahini-Miso Dressing:
- Combine tahini, water, nutritional yeast, cilantro leaves, miso paste, za'atar spice blend, lemon juice and sea salt in food processor. Blend until smooth, with green flecks.
- Peel roasted garlic, once cooled, and add to food processor. Blend once again.
Note: If you don't have a food processor, omit the cilantro leaves in the dressing and whisk by hand. This may take some elbow grease.
The before and after images of the purple sweet potatoes was a little underwhelming, to be honest. They go a bit more grey-light brown when cooked than I expected, but they're quite delicious.
I also expected the maroon carrots to be maroon all the way through. They were not. But they were quite nice, flavor-wise. Next time, I'll scrub the skin and use some for garnish.
This is a highly customizable, stirrable, messy bowl, and it's everything I like in a meal. Use this as an exact recipe, if you have the resources at hand, or just as a template if you want to adapt it. All you need is your base grain, some root veggies, and something crunchy for contrast. Add a legume! Use a funky pseudo-grain like Amaranth or Buckwheat! Top with some flavorful sauce and a little garnish, and you've got everything you need. A nutritious and sustainable plant-based meal.