I have always been impressed with the rice / noodle bowl options at vegetarian restaurants. The colours, array of vegetables, and flavour combinations are not only exciting, but create beautiful vegan / vegetarian mains. However, when I recreate them at home, the rice and noodle bowls require the addition of a vegetable protein, which just adds more work to my weeknight meals. So, I’ve created a vegan bowl with quinoa, which means I don’t have to fuss with preparing tofu and such. Much faster.
There are no hard and fast rules, but most vegan / vegetarian bowls that I have eaten consist mainly of three components: the carbohydrate, the sauce / gravy, and assortment of hot and/or cold vegetables. The sauce is perhaps my favourite part of these dishes and if you are strategic about it, you can use your sauces to add not only flavour, but protein and nutrients.
My sauce doesn’t take long to make. You’ll recognize it from my “Loaded Cheezy Fries” post. I froze the leftovers not fully knowing what I would do with the extras, and here they are. The sauce is extremely versatile! I defrosted it from the night before and just heated it up over the stove while the quinoa was cooking.
I went with raw veggies entirely to reap the benefits of a salad and to avoid wasting time making a separate dish.
The combination was outstanding. Every bite was exciting. There’s something sexy about the interplay of hot and cold and this dish definitely knows how to work it. Picture… sweet, warm quinoa + the deep, rich, and slightly salty nutritional yeast-based sauce + the crunchy, fresh vegetables. Intermingling in there is also the fresh herbs, parsley, coriander, and chives and rich droplets of olive oil. Each bite differs. The crunch of the cucumber contrasts with the burst of juices provided by the tomato, which pairs beautifully, by the way, with the sauce. Then there’s the avocado; its creaminess and relatively neutral flavour seem to soak up the sauce like a sponge.
We couldn’t get enough of this dish. It’s dishes such as these that remind me how exciting the vegetarian / vegan diet can really be. I call this dish “fast and furious”. Truly, it doesn’t get any better.
|Sauce (Makes 4 cups. There will be leftovers. It freezes well.):|
|Canola oil||½ cup|
|Onion, Spanish, large, roughly sliced||1|
|Garlic, cloves, sliced||3|
|Nutritional yeast||3 tbsp|
|Mustard, Dijon||1 tbsp|
|Milk, hemp, unsweetened||3 cups|
|Olive oil||4 + 1 tbsp|
|Salt||1 and 1/4 tsp|
|Chives||20 g (half a bunch)|
|Parsley, fresh, chopped|
|Tomatoes, medium||4 (1 tomato per serving)|
|Cucumbers, small, Lebanese||4 (1 cucumber per serving)|
|Avocados||2 (1/2 an avocado per serving)|
|Olive oil||4 tbsp (1 tbsp per serving)|
|Cilantro, leaves, fresh||Garnish|
- To make the sauce, in a medium pot, heat the canola oil.
- Add the Spanish onion and cook for 10-12 minutes until onion is translucent, but not caramelized.
- Add garlic, salt, and black pepper and cook for a couple minutes more until the garlic is fragrant.
- Remove pot from heat. Scoop onion mixture into a food processor and process until thoroughly combined and smooth. This step is important to avoid a chunky sauce.
- Return onion mixture to pot over medium heat.
- Add nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, turmeric, and crumbled bouillon into onion mixture and combine well.
- After a couple minutes, add flour and thoroughly combine. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- One ladle at a time, whisk in the hemp milk until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy.
- Adjust seasoning adding salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer sauce for 3-4 more minutes or until you achieve the desired consistency.
- To prepare the quinoa, in a medium pot, over medium heat, heat 4 tbs of olive oil. Add quinoa and toast for a couple of minutes. Add water (check package to ensure you are using the right amount of water for your brand of quinoa). Bring water to a simmer. When the water is simmering, add salt and black pepper. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When quinoa is done, remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Stir another tablespoon of olive oil, the chives, and parsley into the quinoa. Fluff with a fork.
- To assemble, divide the quinoa between 4 plates. Top with a generous serving of the sauce (you’ll have leftovers which freeze very well). Arrange tomatoes, avocado, and cucumbers over the sauce. Season raw veggies with salt, black pepper, and 1 tbsp of olive oil per plate. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.