Roasted Vegetable & Chimichurri Buddha Bowl
by Brenda Kong
2017 is definitely the year of Buddha Bowls. The dish gets its name from its resemblance to the round belly of a Buddha. Overflowing with yummy healthy goodness, it can contain any or even all of the following: protein, vegetables raw or cooked, grains, sauce/dressing, nuts and seeds. I'm sure you've seen Buddha Bowls all over recipe sites these days because they have become super trendy and popular at the moment. What it all boils down to is it's a big bowl of goodness. Food seems to be much more fun when it comes in a big bowl, right?
The base of a Buddha Bowl usually consists of grains. I like a mix of grains and leafy greens, in this instance, I have Israeli Cous Cous cooked with Quinoa and Barley for a nuttier texture. I let it cool to room temperature and mix in handfuls of raw baby Kale. I dress the whole thing with Chimichurri for flavor before piling on my roasted vegetables. If you're gluten-free, only use quinoa or if you're grain free, omit all grains and just use leafy greens as a base.
Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce of Argentinian origins that consists of parsley, oregano, garlic, oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. It's traditionally served with meats but I personally love it on fish and vegetables. It's so easy to put together, the bright green sauce turns into an army green as you let it sit and the flavor deepen. A batch can last for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator but mine never lasts that long because it is so yummy. My brother and I have been known to slather it on anything and everything. My Chimichurri is a little less traditional with the addition of Cilantro. I love the flavor of cilantro and find that it works well in chimichurri. It's bold, acidic and so easy to put together, chop, mix and enjoy.
If the weather were better, I would've grilled my vegetables, which was the initial plan, but since I can't have what I want, I decided to lightly broil them instead. The winter is for hearty vegetables but the spring is when all the lovely soft vegetables come out, vegetables that don't need to be cooked too long or can be eaten raw. I dressed each vegetable with the barest amount of olive oil, salt and pepper before broiling them for just 5 minutes. Except the mushrooms, I like my mushrooms sautéed. The main flavor is that lovely chimichurri sauce that you'll slather on top for bright mouth awakening moment of food Zen. Vegans, delicious, exciting and filling, Buddha Bowls are a must in your 2017 diet!
Make 4 Hearty Buddha Bowls with left over chimichurri sauce.
- 1 cup Parsley, tightly packed and finely chopped
- 1 cup Cilantro, tightly packed and finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh Oregano, tightly packed and finely chopped (can also use 3tbsp dried oregano)
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
- 1 tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes, or to taste
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp. Black Pepper
- ⅓ cup Red Wine Vinegar
- ⅓ cup Olive Oil
- 2 Zucchinis, ½ inch dice
- 2 Yellow Squash, ½ inch dice
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper, 1 inch pieces
- 6-8 oz. Asparagus, cut on a bias
- 8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, cut into halves and quarters
- 2 ½ cups cooked Grain mix, cous cous/quinoa/barley or your favorite grains
- Baby Kale
- 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Add all Chimichurri ingredients together, mix well and set aside. This makes a chunkier/leafier sauce, if you'd like a smoother pesto-like sauce, throw it all into a blender or food processor and blend for 30 second to 1 min or until desired texture.
- Set oven to broil with rack on the 2nd from the top position.
- Dress cut vegetables (except for mushrooms) with 2 tbsp. Olive oil plus salt and pepper. Mix well and place on baking sheet. Place in oven and broil vegetables for 4-5 mins. Toss vegetables once halfway in.
- Over high heat, add remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and mushrooms. Sauté until liquids have evaporated and mushrooms are caramelized. Add Salt and Pepper, remove from heat.
Assembling Buddha Bowls:
- Mix cooked grains and baby kale with 3 - 4 tbsp. Chimichurri sauce. Toss to combine and divide into 4 portions.
- Add broiled vegetables on top.
- Spoon 1 tbsp. Chimichurri on top of vegetables or to taste.
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