Meal bowl

Build Wellness Meal Bowls That Stretch Your Budget

Wellness bowls are a quick way to build a nutrient dense and delicious meal in a bowl.  If you plan leftover ingredients, building wellness bowls are easy and budget friendly. So save any leftover shredded greens, grilled vegetables, cooked grains and sauces and you’ll have what it takes to build a wellness bowl. Think of wellness bowls as composed meals in a bowl, made in the same fashion you would build a salad at a salad bar. It’s totally up to you how many options you put out to choose from. Consider ingredients based on a theme or flavor profile. Before shopping, take into consideration the seasonality and availability of ingredients, and of course, pick items you like. Remember, the freshest and most nutrient dense foods will be in-season and locally grown. 

To get you started, choose and ingredient from each category below and experiment with different dressings and sauces.

Plant proteins: beans, lentils, split peas, nuts, mung bean sprouts, seeds, tofu, tempeh

Grains & Starchy Vegetables: amaranth, faro, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, rice, winter squash, sweet potato, potato, whole grain and rice pasta

Greens: sprouts, micro-greens, arugula, lettuce variety, cabbage, kale, bok choy, chard, collards, spinach, watercress

Non-starchy Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, fennel, jicama, mushrooms, onions, radish, snow peas, snap peas

Non-sweet fruits: avocado, bell pepper, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini

Fresh Herbs, Spices, Toppings:  basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, chives, garlic, ginger, ground flax, nutritional yeast, toasted nuts & seeds, spice blends

Condiments & Dressings: chutney, pesto, pickles, raw kraut, salsa, tapenade, creamy or vinegar based dressing, Braggs aminos, citrus, hot sauce, tamari, balsamic vinegar, tahini dressing

To prepare each ingredient, you decide how simple or involved you want to get. For example, the protein can be as easy as opening a can of cooked garbanzo beans or as involved as boiling, marinating and pan sauteing tempeh. Greens can be raw, shredded, sauteed or even roasted or grilled. Vegetables and non-sweet fruits can also be raw, shredded or spiraled or cooked by steaming, roasting, sauteing or grilling. Adding herbs and toppings bring a bright freshness and pop of flavor to the dish. The condiments and dressings will pull the flavors together for a deliciously composed meal.

Finally, I’ll share one of my favorite Wellness Bowl combinations. First, I place a cup of arugula in the bottom of a bowl and add a scoop of quinoa that is cooked in coconut milk in the middle.  Then around the quinoa, I place scoops of sliced crimini mushrooms that I marinate in coconut aminos, sprouted mung beans or lentils and steamed broccoli and bok choy.  I top it off with cilantro and mango chutney. Yum!
Try your own combination and let me know how you like it!

bakes eggless spring quiche

Eggless Spring Quiche

Eggless Spring Quiche… because vegetable pies are a pretty addition to any table. Offering a quiche with a creamy texture and full of vegetables can make anyone feel welcome at your table. This is a great recipe to make and take along to a pot luck gathering or family gathering. Mother’s Day is coming up!  This vegan eggless quiche would be a delightful and delicious addition to the celebration.

A gluten free crust holds this quiche and is quick to stir together and press into a pie dish. However, any crust could be substituted here, or I’ve also made the quiche into mini quiches and not used a crust at all. To make minis, add filling to greased cupcake tin and bake. You will need to watch and decrease the cook time.

For a Spring quiche, include vegetables that are in season, like asparagus, spinach and fennel. Change up the vegetable variety as the seasons progress and you’ll always have something special and in season. Instead of fresh tomatoes, try adding roasted tomatoes, one of my faves.

This quiche keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, but it can also be frozen to have on hand for easy meal planning. Make two and freeze one for later. I find when making dishes that have several steps, if I plan on doubling the recipe and freezing half, I get more out of my time in the kitchen. And dinner is done for a future meal.

Quiche can be eaten at any meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add a side salad and you will reap the benefits of all the phyto-nutrients and micro-nutrients available in the variety of green and vegetables. Enjoy the nutritional benefits and a full tummy.

Eggless Spring Quiche.

A healthy alternative to eggs bursting with Spring vegetables.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: eggless, protein, quiche, vegetables
Servings: 8
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1.25 cup garbanzo flour
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 2 T melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1T water

Filling

  • 1 T flax meal with 3 tablespoons water mix in a small bowl and let sit to thicken.
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups of chopped vegetables you like asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, spinach, mushroom, cauliflower, fennel bulb
  • cup water or nut milk
  • ½ cup cashews optional if using water – adds richness
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T coconut aminos
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp oregano and thyme
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 fresh tomato (or roasted tomatoes are nice here) sliced

Instructions

Crust

  • To prepare the crust: combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Roll out between sheets of plastic wrap or press into 9” pie plate.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 350. For individual quiches, press a couple tablespoons of crust mixture into muffin tins or omit crust altogether.

Filling

  • To prepare the filling: combine flax meal and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Saute onions until soft and then add garlic for 1 minute, while stirring. When softened, spoon into a blender.
  • In the same pan, add your choice of vegetables and stir over medium heat to soften slightly.
  • To the blender add one cup of sauteed veggies, the milk (or water and cashews) along with the flax mixture, flour, baking powder, aminos and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour back into pan with remaining vegetables, mix well.
  • Spoon filling into pie dish, place more tomato slices on top.. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until set.
  • Filling can also be made into mini quiches without crust: spray muffin tins with a little oil and fill. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Three Ways to Use Your Canned or Dry Beans

We have been under stay-at-home orders for about four weeks now. Did you stock up on canned items or dried beans?  I ended up getting the last 2 pound bag of navy beans on the shelf when I was shopping a couple weeks ago.  I have since batch-cooked them all, giving me a large quantity of white beans to incorporate into snacks and meals. I froze a few bags, used some in this SOUP and came up with the following three ways to use your canned or dry beans. For a primer on cooking dry beans go HERE.For each of these recipes you can use canned beans or some you’ve cooked yourself. Any white bean will do.

The first recipe is for a snack dip or lunch spread and one of the favorites in my house, Roasted Carrot Hummus, where we load it on flatbread crackers or pita bread and pile on chopped veggies or raw kraut or kimchi.

This next recipe is a hearty salad with White Beans, Oranges and Arugula. I love fresh greens with beans. Another combination to consider is: roasted chickpeas with garlic and back pepper, or plain tossed with shredded kale, bell peppers and tomatoes with a balsamic dressing

The third bean-based recipe is a Mediterranean Skillet Meal. It’s easy to make with staples on hand. Again canned beans work just as nicely as your own cooked beans. I had artichokes and canned tomatoes in the pantry, so this came together quickly. If you make this during the summer when the tomatoes are at their peek, slow roasted tomatoes substituted for the canned tomatoes are lovely!

Try one of these recipes or all of them and make beans a common ingredient in your meals. Not only do beans taste good and have a nice supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber, they actually improve the gut microbiome, which is an important part of the immune system. At this time, during this pandemic, the immune system is vitally important. (Actually it is all the time.)

Mediterranean Pantry Skillet Meal

The Mediterranean flavors in this skillet recipe are traditional and the combination is comforting. The creaminess of the beans marries with the tang of the artichokes and tomatoes, and bursts of bitter from the olives and herbs, all make it a completely satisfying bite. This Mediterranean pantry recipe comes together with items you likely have on hand. I typically keep beans, tomatoes, and artichokes in my cupboard for several easy throw together recipes. If you batch-cook beans and have frozen cooked beans, pull them out for this recipe. If not, canned beans work great.

If you want an easy midweek meal, here it is, because it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to get it on the table. It just takes a quick saute of the onions, garlic, mushrooms and zucchini, then you add the pantry and canned ingredients and let it cook for a few minutes to blend the flavors. You may want to double he recipe and have it for lunch a couple days during the week. I enjoy it with a slice or two of crusty bread, toasted and drizzled with olive oil and garlic powder.

In the summer when the tomatoes are booming and plentiful, replacing the canned tomatoes in this recipe with slow roasted tomatoes, the flavors will be more intense.

While we are hunkered down during the quarantine, this Mediterranean meal is comfort food and so satisfying. I hope you’ll find it easy and delicious. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Mediterranean Skillet

quick pantry recipe with 5 star flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: artichokes, kalamata olives, mushrooms, pantry, tomatoes, white beans, zucchini
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups white beans or 1 can drained
  • 1 cup artichokes, canned drained and pressed to release water
  • 1 cup zucchini chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1.5 cup tomatoes, canned or roasted diced
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives sliced
  • 1 lemon, squeezed or 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme

Instructions

  • Prepare the vegetables.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion in a little oil until soft, then add the garlic, zucchini and mushrooms, stir and cook for 5 minutes until mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the beans, artichokes, tomatoes and herbs. Stir to combine and cook for about 10 minutes until heated through completely. Add the olives.
  • Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together and pour over the skillet mixture, tossing to coat.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a crusty bread and fresh green salad. Enjoy!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Have you ever tried slow roasted tomatoes? Do you know how easy it is to do yourself?  I tried it for the first time in 2014 and now will roast tomatoes whenever I find an abundance of vine ripened tomatoes during the summer. However, this technique will also bring out flavor that is often lacking in tomatoes during the winter months and makes a big difference if using tomatoes in the off season.

I’m not a huge fresh tomato fan, would never eat them as a child, and now put them sparingly on salads. My husband will eat them like an apple and loves tomato sandwiches. However, I LOVE dehydrated tomatoes and roasted tomatoes. The slow roasting and drying really brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes and reduces the gel like texture of the seeds. Raw tomatoes are quite acidic but the roasting process, concentrates the natural sugars and reduces that acidic quality. bringing a depth of flavor and umami to your dishes.

For roasting tomatoes, pick tomatoes that are more fleshy like the Romas, Plumb or San Marzano. Once you have your tomatoes, wash and dry them and cut each tomato in half lengthwise. On a baking sheet, place the tomato halves, cut side facing up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt, died thyme and oregano.

Then place the pan in a 300 degree oven on the middle rack. Bake for 90 minutes. If you’d like to continue cooking to dry out the tomatoes even more, turn down the heat to 250 degrees and cook for another hour. Roasted tomatoes will last for a week refrigerated or can be frozen and used later in soups, sauces and sautes for added flavor and umami.

Get creative and serve in various ways: on sandwiches or toast; in Eggless Quiche; chopped and stirred into hummus; sauteed with onion, garlic and peppers and added to pasta, as a topping for flatbread pizza or just as they are. I will often grab one as a snack right out of the fridge.

I hope you try it and let me know how you use them. It’s definitely a favorite when the tomatoes are abundant in summer.

Veggie Enchilada Bake

Ooh the flavors that pop in this dish are soo good!

I love the combination of sweet potatoes, black beans and spinach. If I don’t have time do this this whole recipe, I just make quesadillas in my skillet with seasoned sweet potatoes, black beans and spinach and serve with guacamole.  If I do have time to put the enchiladas together, I go for it!

You can roll or you can stack layers. the layers are faster, the rolls are traditional.

Veggie Enchilada Bake

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: back beans, red sauce, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, tortillas
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • knife
  • skillet
  • baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 bell peppers chopped
  • 2 cups sweet potato bite size
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cans black beans or three bean blend rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 8-12 tortillas organic corn or flour

Red Sauce

  • 1 15oz can tomato puree or crushed
  • 11/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp flour or GF flour
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Instructions

Prepare the sauce:

  • In a small pot, heat the oil over medium and add the flour, stirring into a paste.
  • Add the spices and stir to combine. Then add the water and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the tomato puree and stir to combine well. Allow to cook for 10 minutes at a simmer until thickened. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Prepare Enchiladas:

  • Saute onion until softened, then add the chopped sweet potato with a 1/4 cup of water and cover the pan to cook the potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • When potato is fork tender, add the peppers and beans. If your skillet is not large enough for all ingredients, transfer the potatoes and onions to a bowl, then continue to saute the peppers and beans.
  • Add the spinach in batches, stirring until it wilts, adding more as the spinach cooks.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the red sauce to the bean mixture and combine with the sweet potatoes and onion. Stir in the cilantro.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil the baking pan you're going to use. Add 1/3 cup of the red sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread evenly.
  • For traditional rolls: Add 1/3 cup of the vegetable mixture to a tortilla, roll and place seam side down. Repeat this until your pan is full. Cover with red sauce.
  • To make a layered bake: overlap tortillas slightly to line the bottom of the pan. Scoop half of the vegetable mixture over the tortillas, cover with another layer of tortillas and half of the red sauce. Repeat with the remaining vegetable mixture, layer with tortillas and remaining red sauce. You will likely need more tortillas for this method.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes at 350.
  • Serve with non dairy sour cream and / or guacamole

Chickpea Hot Pot

This is a one pot meal, easy prep and then just wait for it to cook. The cook time will depend on the grain you use. Quinoa is quick cooking in about 15 minutes total, whereas, brown rice and farro will take about 30-40 minutes.

The picture is of the dish made with farro grain. Farro is an ancient Emmer wheat, so it does have gluten; however, it  has not been hybridized like traditional wheat is. Some people with sensitivities can tolerate the ancient grains with gluten (farro, spelt, einkorn) but have trouble with the traditional wheat. It is not suitable for those who have Crohn’s or a true allergy to gluten or wheat.

Chickpea Hot Pot

Easy one pot meal. This is delicious hot or cold.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower, chickpea, farro, grain, kale, one-pot meal, quinoa, rice
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • knife
  • dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2/3 c uncooked quinoa farro, or brown rice
  • 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 4 c vegetables broth
  • ½ c orange juice
  • 1 ½ c cauliflower small florets
  • 2 c kale chopped
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  • If you use quinoa, everything can go in together at once, except kale. In a large pot, sauté onion in olive oil until the onion softens. Add the quinoa, chickpeas, broth, orange juice and cauliflower, stir well. Bring pot to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • If using farro or rice, after sauteing onion, add grain and 2 cups of broth and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Then stir in the orange juice, remaining broth, cauliflower, chickpeas and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the kale at the end and cook for another 5 minutes until wilted. If the mixture gets too thick, add a little water. Season to taste.

 

Mushroom Bolognese

Italian cuisine is a favorite for plant-based meals. When I come across ways to pack in extra veggies, I will always try. This sauce is perfect for adding in extra veggies and it can be used in so many ways.

Try it with lentil walnut loaf balls, crumble in some tofu, ladled over rice or pasta, or especially good over roasted spaghetti squash.

Mushroom Bolognese

A veggie packed sauce that is wonderful on gluten free penne pasta or roasted spaghetti squash.
Prep Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: gluten free,, plant-based, sugar-free, vegan
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • dutch oven
  • knife
  • food processor (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup carrots about 3
  • 1 cup celery 2-3 stalks
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes diced with juices
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat, when hot add 2 tablespoons of water along with the onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add carrots, celery and mushrooms stirring to combine and cook until all become a bit tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water, followed by remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  • While sauce is cooking, prepare pasta, rice or roast a spaghetti squash.
  • When sauce has thickened a bit, serve over your choice of starch.

Notes

To make light work of the chopping, cut the onion, carrots, celery  and mushrooms into similar sized chunks and place in a food processor and pulse each until finely chopped. there's no need to wipe out container between ingredients. 
If you'd like the sauce to be more "saucey" and less chunky, process half of the cooked sauce in the food processor until smooth and add back to remaining sauce.

Lentil Walnut Loaf

I’ve tried several different meatless loafs and this one that I adapted from Oh She Glows is my favorite at this point.

The lentil walnut mixture can be used to make meatless balls as well. Be sure to press the mixture together tightly when patting it into the loaf pan or into balls.  Try the balls with the mushroom Bolognese sauce or make the loaf slices into meatless loaf sandwiches, that are sure to bring back good childhood memories of grandma’s meatloaf sammy’s.

Lentil Walnut Loaf

This is a hearty plant-based loaf that really is delicious. Oats, flax and walnuts add texture and nutrient density. This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free,, nuts, vegan
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • loaf pan
  • pot
  • food processor
  • mixing bowl
  • skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup celery (2 -3 stalks) minced
  • 1 cup carrot (2-3) minced
  • 1/3 cup apple shredded
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 cup oats
  • Pinch of cayenne optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Grease a 5X9 loaf pan. Add lentils to a pot and cover with water. Cook at a simmer for 25 minutes. then drain and add to a large bowl, mash them with a fork into a chunky paste.
  • While the lentils are cooking, warm oil in a skillet and add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook stirring to prevent garlic from burning. Cook until onion and celery are tender, about 10 minutes, then stir in apple and herbs, stir for a couple minutes and remove from the heat.
  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the oats into a coarse flour, then add the walnuts and pulse on and off to break them into small bits.
  • Transfer the walnuts and oats to the lentils in the mixing bowl and add ground flax. Mix to combine.
  • Stir in the skillet veggie mixture and season to taste. If the mixture seems dry, add 2 tablespoons of water and mix well. Getting your hands into the mix can help to combine and soften the texture of the mixture, also making sure that the mixture will hold shape. Add more water if needed.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and press firmly to form a loaf.
  • In a small bowl combine tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, mix well and spoon over the top of the loaf.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until edges are brown and its firm to the touch. Serve by the slice or crumble over salad.

Notes

To mince the carrots and celery quickly, roughly chop the carrots into large pieces and chunk the celery and add to a food processor and pulse until minced.  

 

Cranberry Orange Fig Relish

  • 8 dried figs, softened and chopped
  • One 8 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1 navel orange (rind removed using a sharp vegetable peeler and chopped, peel and cut into chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar, powdered
  • 2 tablespoons or more, coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

 

Coarsely chop the figs in a food processor. Add cranberries, orange pieces and rind and pulse to chop and combine with figs. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.  Pour into container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

If the sauce is overly liquid, add a tablespoon ground chia seeds, stir well to mix evenly and let sit to thicken.

Can be made one week ahead. Keeps well in fridge and/or freezer. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy this relish with herbed hemp spread, as a tart filling with sliced fruit, as a canape topping or spooned over roasted squash! Or really any way you wish.