Last Updated on January 12, 2016 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD
Grain bowls were trendy last year, but I didn’t jump on board. I didn’t really understand them. It seemed like multiple steps and several cooking vessels were required to make something not very fancy.
But then last night, I was trying to plan my work for today. I intended to decide on my recipes for the day and then do an evening shop to get all the ingredients. But I was tired. And uninspired. So I decided that I would wake up and “shop” my pantry – put something together from what I had on hand.
I was craving something vibrant and nourishing. I had several jars with small amounts of grains – amaranth, millet, barley, etc. And in my fridge were just the odds and ends leftover from other meals. Then suddenly, the grain bowl clicked for me!
It’s a great way to empty out the crisper drawer. And although you might dirty a saucepan AND a baking sheet, it’s a great way to plan ahead and have healthy lunches all week. When I worked in an office, I used to make big grain salads every week. This is the same thing, just deconstructed.
Use this recipe as a guide, and use up what you have on hand. Tied together with a delicious dressing, you really can’t go wrong.
Cook up a big pot of a grain. I used millet. It’s fluffy and soft like couscous, but is actually a tiny seed. Top that with some roasted and/or raw veggies – I used some leftover butternut squash, and a couple of carrots, plus julienned raw beet and finely shredded raw kale. I added some pumpkin seeds for crunch, and drizzled it all with a delicious lemon-tahini sauce.
If you’re the plan-ahead type, you can prep a big batch of everything over the weekend – wash, dry and chop kale leaves, peel and grate or julienne beets. Store then in an airtight container lined with a damp paper towel and they’ll stay fresh for several days. Roast veggies and store in a separate container. Make a double batch of the dressing.
Toss a bit of everything into a portable container in the morning, just keep the dressing separate.
You can use the prepped veggies in other ways all week, too, if you get tired of the veggie bowl – stuff them into pitas, toss them in your dinner salad, even use them in your breakfast omelettes.
I’m finally sold on the grain bowl trend. Now try and convince me about the smoothie bowl. Because WHY would anyone pour their smoothie in a bowl and then add more fruit on top? I don’t get it.
Millet Nourish Bowl
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 cup millet
- 2 ½ cups water
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb any root vegetables carrot, squash, beets, turnips, etc.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 large leaf kale stem removed, finely sliced crosswise
- 1 medium beet peeled, grated or julienned
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add millet and stir to coat. Cook, stirring, until golden in spots and toasty-smelling. Add water and salt, stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- Peel root vegetables and cut into equal size pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt, then spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes.
- Whisk together all ingredients for dressing. Divide millet between 4 bowls and top with roasted vegetables, kale, beet and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with dressing and serve.