Happy New Year, dear friends! As completely amazing as 2013 was, I am excited to start fresh and begin a new chapter. There sure is a lot in the works for the coming 12 months and I look forward to sharing it all with you!
But first off, let’s embrace the new year with something simple. Something delicious, yet realistic and achievable. So many of you have asked me if there is going to be another “action plan” or detox coming up this month to help purge the garbage we’ve undoubtedly filled ourselves with in December, and ring in the new year with a clean body and mind. I’ve also been asked countless times what my “go-to” meals are, and what I eat on a daily basis. Surely I’m not whipping up Butternut Squash Lasagna and Wild Mushroom Lentil Burgers every weeknight with a newborn baby, right? Right. I suppose I’ve just never blogged about my regular meals before because they really aren’t very “sexy”. They are real. And even though my simple dishes are a far cry from the fancy stuff I try to post here to entice the non-converted to plant-based foods, what the heck, I still think that they are special enough, and I am so grateful every time I sit down to eat. I call them, Abundance Bowls.
I can’t even remember the first time I made an Abundance Bowl, but it was many, many years ago for sure. When I discovered that you could cook almost an entire meal in one pot, I got very excited and began creating all kinds of seasonal combinations. It’s the kind of healthy, hearty dish that is just so do-able for every kind of person, especially those that are hungry and busy and still care about what they put in their mouths (isn’t that all of us?). Indeed. And even if you’ve never tackled a dish from My New Roots due to lack of kitchen confidence, I assure you, you can do this!
And why are they called Abundance Bowls? Well, I guess because when I hold this meal in my hands I feel pretty darn lucky. Looking down at a bowl so colourful, tasty, full of appealing textures and overflowing with life, I wonder what more I could ask for? Abundance to me doesn’t mean extravagance – it simply means feeling thankful for all the things that I am fortunate enough to have. I hope when you tuck in to this meal you’ll feel the same way.
And in the spirit of making a fresh start, I am going to create and share an Abundance Bowl for every season this year, starting now. Each one will be simple to make, seasonally inspired, and feature a tasty addition that you can use in something beyond the bowl itself. For example, this Winter Abundance Bowl includes a luscious Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce that can be used to dress all matter of tasty things, like salads, roast veggies, and cooked whole grains. It’s easy to blend up with very simple ingredients, yet elevates the rather basic quality of the meal into something special. Plus, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love drenching food in sauce?! Sheesh, call me if you find ‘em.
Like I said, the beauty of making this meal is its simplicity. Did you know that you could cook all these things in one single pot? It’s like a miracle. The rice and lentils are boiled together and right before they are done, you can toss in the veggies to steam on top. While all that is going on, whip up the sauce, then shred the cabbage and toss it in citrus, olive oil, and a little salt. This raw portion adds enzymes to the dish, which help with digestion, and gives the bowl a delicious crunch. If you’re not into cabbage, toss in some massaged kale or spinach.
Winter Abundance Bowl
2/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup green lentils
¼ – ½ tsp. sea salt
1 head broccoli
1 medium sweet potato (leave the skin on if it’s organic!)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
juice of ½ lemon or lime
drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil
1. Combine rice and lentils in a medium bowl, cover with water and wash well, rubbing grains and legumes together. Drain and repeat until water is clear. Cover with water again and soak overnight / for up to 8 hours, if possible. Drain and rinse.
2. In a medium saucepan place the rice and lentils, plus 1½ cups water (if soaked – add 2 cups water if un-soaked), and sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered until water has been absorbed and rice and lentils are cooked through (about 30-45 minutes depending on if you soaked the grain or not).
3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, chop the broccoli into florets and the sweet potato into bite-sized cubes. About ten minutes before the grains have cooked (check the water level before adding veggies – if it’s dry, add a little more liquid), add the sweet potato. After five minutes, add the broccoli on top of the sweet potato.
4. While the rice and lentils are cooking you can also blend together the sauce (see below) and prepare the cabbage: Shred cabbage using a mandoline or sharp knife. Toss with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. Toss to combine.
5. To assemble the bowl, simply spoon in the cooked rice and lentils with the steamed veggies, add the cabbage on the side and pour sauce over. Give thanks for the abundance and enjoy.
Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce
Makes 2 cups
1 cup/150g pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic
knob of fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
¾ -1 cup /175- 250 ml water
¾ tsp. fine grain sea salt
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
cayenne pepper to taste
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pumpkin seeds, stirring every so often, until they begin to pop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, pulse to mince garlic and ginger. Add cooled pumpkin seeds and blend on high until sand-textured. Add remaining ingredients (start with ¾ cup water) and blend, scraping down the sides periodically. Add remaining water as needed to suit your desired consistency. Season to taste. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce, but as it keeps for five days it’s a wonderful thing to have on hand to dress salads, roast veggies and cooked whole grains. You can easily make half the amount if you know you won’t eat it all in before it spoils.
You can also make a raw version of this sauce. To do so, soak the pumpkin seeds for 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well. Skip step 1 in the instructions and carry on with the others. Enjoy!
Here’s to a year of inspired health, playing in the kitchen, and total abundance. Thank you for the last 365 days of magic! Looking forward to another trip around the sun with you all.
With love and a full belly,