During the week, I’m often too tired and uninspired to whip up anything extravagant for dinner. I’ve got a handful of staples; tacos, spring rolls, kale salads, and veggie quinoa bowls – that I go to frequently. Tacos are always a super easy option, but they’re pretty much the same thing every time I make them. The veggie quinoa bowls, on the other hand, have the ability to morph and change in so many different ways depending on what veggies I have on hand, and what sauces I decide to whip up to serve them with. I’m a big believer that more people would eat vegetables if they were served with a delicious and healthy sauce too. For people who didn’t eat vegetables growing up for whatever reason, a lot of vegetables can taste bitter to them. It’s really about training your tastebuds to love vegetables. But for kids (and adults!) who aren’t so veggie-inclined, a bit of sauce can go a long way. I’ve experimented with a whole slew of sauces. From my Mexican goddess to truffled tahini to cucumber cilantro, they all bring a fresh and interesting flavor to any dish. If you’re a follower of mine on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed a few weeks back I posted that I had developed a fab new Sriracha tahini sauce. The first time I whipped it up, I wasn’t expecting much. But after I tasted it, I knew I had to make it again, snap a few photos, and give it the credit it deserves of a full-on blog post. Something interesting happens when you mix tahini with Sriracha – it almost gets cheesy. Like a fake nacho cheese you’d get at a ball park or stadium. The creaminess of the tahini keeps the sauce nice and thick and actually mellows out the spice from the Sriracha a lot more than I expected. I added a bit of lime for some tang (you could also use lemon) and a little water to thin out the tahini a bit and voila – weeknight dinner kicked up a notch. For veggies, I had a little pepper laying around from the farmers market, some portobello mushrooms, spinach and some broccoli rabe that I thought would all be interesting with a slightly spicy sauce like this one. I also added a can of chickpeas for some more protein and texture. Part of what I love about veggie bowls is that it’s entirely up to whatever you happen to have laying around. Chop it all up, sauté, throw it over quinoa and dinner’s ready in about 15 minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than that. I started with the broccoli rabe and peppers because I figured it would take them a bit longer to cook. Then added in the mushrooms and at the last minute added chickpeas (just to warm them) and spinach until it was just wilted. For serving, I like to layer everything up. I put the quinoa down first, then the veggies, then top with the sauce. But when I’m eating, I really like to mix everything up together. This recipe makes about 4-5 servings, and if you’re a small household like ours, the leftovers are perfect for packing for lunch the next day. Dinner and lunch in 15 minutes? Yes, please!
Veggie Quinoa Bowl with Sriracha Tahini Sauce
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 2 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 small green peppers or 1 medium/large green pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, fresh
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
What You’ll Do:
- Start by adding 2 cups of water to your quinoa in a pot over high heat. Once it starts to boil, turn down to simmer and cover. The quinoa will be ready when the water is absorbed and the little seeds look like they’ve sprouted.
- Add olive oil, garlic, peppers, and broccoli rabe to a pan on medium heat. Sauté until broccoli stems are starting to get tender.
- While the broccoli is cooking, make the sauce by adding the water, tahini, lime juice, and sriracha and mixing with a fork or whisk. Set aside.
- Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until they release their juices.
- Turn the heat down to low, add chickpeas and spinach to the pan and mix until chickpeas are warm and spinach has wilted.
- At this point your quinoa should be done. Put a serving size of quinoa into a bowl, top with veggies and top again with sauce. Mix and enjoy!