Eat the rainbow, they say. I will eat anything, I say. Don’t need to ask me twice.
Sorry…got weird for a second there…but listen, here is a bowl full of pure healing. A range of super-tasty-yet-so-good-for-you vegetables paired with nutty brown rice and a garlicky-lemon tahini sauce to slather at your own will. Lunchtime game-changer.
A lot of my recipes are inspired by different places that I have visited and the foods and ingredients that I have discovered there. This dish is the opposite. I’ve been dying to get to Israel to try out what I hear to be the most amazing cuisine. A trip that most definitely will be taken in the near future, but for now, I’m going off what I know so far with this simple tahini dressing.
If you don’t know, tahini is the peanut butter of sesame seeds. It has a bitter, nutty kind of taste that pairs very well with lemon and garlic – hence this sauce. Just whisk with some cold water until you reach a drizzlable consistency and slather, slather, slather.
The foundation of this bowl is brown rice, but you can really use any grain you like. We ARE already packing this bowl full of vegetables, so we may as well continue down the path to health and choose the far superior rice. Ahem, brown rice. Cook the rice according to package directions (brown rice takes a long time, so plan ahead)!
Tip: When your rice is done cooking and it is time to remove from the heat and “let stand for five minutes,” open the lid, toss in a handful of golden raisins and quickly close the lid again. They give this dish a sweet, juicy “pop!” Trust me. I do this every time I make rice. The little golden jewels plump up by absorbing the steam that is trapped inside of the pot and there is nothing wrong with that.
Veggies – Start with your beets, as they take the longest. I like to use a mix of red, candy striped and golden beets for that “rainbow” effect. Wash the outside of them and place them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil up like a present, making sure that there are no openings for the steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet, throw them in the oven and forget about them for an hour or so.
Chop up your butternut squash, your brussel sprouts and your kale and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. The squash goes in first – 15 minutes. Pull out and add the sprouts. 15 minutes. Pull out and add the kale. Another 10 minutes. Done.
Other rainbow prep – Other than the roasted veg, I also like to prepare the following to add: avocado, olives, green onions, pomegranate seeds and hemp hearts. Muy rainbow-esque!
Assembly – It’s BUDDHA BOWL TIME! Scoop the rice into the bottom of your bowl. Around the outside, spoon in all of the different vegetables and toppings. Drizzle with tahini sauce and take pictures to remember this ceremonious day.
Rainbow Buddha Bowl with Garlic Tahini Dressing
Serving Size: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 4-5 raw beets (I like to use a mix of red, candy stripe and golden), washed
- 1 cup dry brown rice
- one-quarter cup of golden raisins (optional)
- 2 cups butternut squash, cut into half-inch cubes
- 2 cups brussel sprouts, cored and halved (about 20 sprouts)
- 6 leaves of tuscan (black) kale, thick stem removed, roughly chopped
- 6-7 olives, sliced
- 2 scallions, sliced
- olive oil
- 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
- half cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 4 tablespoons hemp hearts (optional)
For the tahini sauce:
- one-quarter cup of tahini
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 3-4 tbsp ice cold water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place beets in the middle of a large piece of aluminum foil and wrap up like a present so that there are no open areas where the steam could escape. Place the foil package on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a fork inserts easily.
- Rinse the rice under cold water until water runs clear. Meanwhile, add one tablespoon of olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and toast for a minute in the oil. Add a pinch of salt and two cups of water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, cover and turn the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Do NOT open the lid!
- While the rice is cooking and the beets are roasting, chop up your vegetables. Drizzle the squash, brussel sprouts and chopped kale (each in their own separate bowl) with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- When the beets have been roasting for about half an hour, pull the baking sheet out of the oven and add the squash, continuing to roast for 15 minutes. Pull the baking sheet out again, add brussel sprouts and quickly return to oven to roast for another 15 minutes. Remove sheet tray one more time, toss the veggies around and add the kale, roasting for 8-10 more minutes or until kale is crisp and vegetables are cooked through. Remove from oven.
- For the sauce, start by putting 2-3 ice cubes in a bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt until combined. Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until fully incorporated. It usually takes me between 3-4 tablespoons to get the consistency that I like. Set aside.
- When the rice is finished cooking, turn the burner off, lift the lid of the pot, throw in the golden raisins and quickly place the lid back on top. Remove the rice from the hot burner and let stand with lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before assembling the bowl.
- Carefully open the foil package with the beets inside (the steam will escape and it is hot)! Use two paper towels to peel the skins off of the beets. Rinse peeled beets under cold water to remove any excess skin and diced ’em up!
- Assemble the bowl by scooping the rice and raisins into the bottom and surrounding it with the beets, squash, brussel sprouts, crispy kale, avocado, scallions, olives and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and sprinkle on some hemp hearts for an extra protein punch.