Now that I am working during my daughter’s nap-time and after she goes to bed at night – I find that I don’t have nearly as much time for cooking as I’d like (need, actually). So I have been in search of some recipes that we can eat for a few meals in a row without getting sick of it. Something that can be heavily prepped the night before (when Ian, my husband is around to help cook). And perhaps unusual for many, we have friends and/or family joining us for dinner on most nights. There are a bunch of different dietary considerations (vegetarian, lactose intolerant, etc…) that I need to be able to deal all of those with in one meal. So that means a meal with options that each person can customize to their dinner to suit their needs.
For some new ideas to throw into our regular meal rotation, I asked my friends on Facebook for ideas. My friend Rachel, who lives in Portland, Oregon shared an idea for something called a yummy bowl inspired by an Oregon restaurant called Café Yumm! It was just what I had been looking for! We’ve been making and devouring yummy bowls regularly for months now.
There is a special sauce that can be made up ahead of time and stored in the fridge for weeks. The base of each dish is usually brown rice. Then each person’s bowl of rice can be topped with veggies, protein and whatever else would be good in the mix. You could do a southwest theme, an Japanese theme… but so far we tend to go with the “whatever is in the fridge” as a theme.
We (me and Ian) will chop veggies the night before. Usually while watching The Daily Show and Colbert Report. We have these great glass storage containers (Glasslock) with lids that snap on super tight. These things are the key to the veggies staying fresh forever. Seriously, I can keep chopped up cucumbers in these for almost 2 weeks. And if I put chopped onions in them, they will not stink up the fridge!
Here is the recipe for the yummy sauce:
1/2 C canola oil
1/2 C almond flour/ ground almonds
- Can be found in most grocery stores in the baking aisle.
1/3 C nutritional yeast
- can be found at: Whole Foods – bulk and in cans, Amazon, any co-op, etc…
1/2 C canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
1/4 C canned white soybeans - drained and rinsed
- These are hard to find. My co-op does not have them. 1 nearby Whole Foods had them, another did not. I have heard people substituting silken tofu for them or additional garbanzo beans when they couldn’t find them. Amazon sells a case of them.
1/2 C water
1/2 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp. dried organo
1 tsp dried cilantro
*some other versions of this recipe add 1-2 cloves of garlic. It’s good with or without it!
Combine almond meal, beans & oil in blender or food processor and blend together. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until creamy smooth. Cover and let refrigerate for one hour. Keep refrigerated between uses.
** I triple this recipe every time I make it. It just barely fits in my blender, but it works! Would fit easily in a larger food processor. Tripling the recipe means that you use almost the entire can of garbanzo beans and entire can of soy beans. I’m not sure what else I would do with the extra canned white soy beans. The sauce lasts for quite a while in the fridge. I just put the extra yummy sauce in a couple of mason jars for future lunches and dinners.
*** I have heard this is a great sauce for topping a veggie burger too. I haven’t tried it that way yet, but I will soon!
When everything is chopped, diced, grated or blended, we set out all the options for everyone to make up their own meals.
To make your yummy bowl, you should start off with a nice handmade bowl. It’ll make it taste even better. Our assorted collection of “bowl-plates” are by Bob Briscoe and Jo Severson. Then start building:
base layer: brown rice (our favorite!), white rice, jasmine or basmati rice, sauteed rice noodles (a new addition brought by friends)
next layer: yummy sauce
next layer: shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is my favorite!)
next layer: veggies! shredded carrots, shredded purple cabbage, diced bell peppers, slices of avocado, diced cucumbers, green onions, broccoli slaw, chopped tomatoes, peas, lightly steamed broccoli or sauteed greens. Whatever you have around.
next layer: - protein: we usually use chopped up rotisserie chicken and/ or sauteed tofu. black beans would be delicious… tempeh would be great… there are so many options!
top layer: ground peanuts (our favorite), sliced almonds… wasabi peas? something with crunch is a nice addition.
top top layer: salsa, teriyaki sauce. My sister just used the Spicy Peanut Vinegarette from Trader Joe’s on a yummy bowl and loved it. But we usually don’t add anything else. The yummy sauce is great by itself.
After everyone served up their bowls, I passed the camera around to capture what everyone dished up! I am getting hungry just looking at these photos… luckily I have 2 more jars of yum sauce in the fridge!