Sweet potato tahini quinoa bowls
By this time of year I'm normally well into the holiday overindulgence craze - eating and drinking far too much in the lead up to the winter holidays. This year I tried to do things a bit differently in the hopes of starting the new year on the right foot. We're heading off to New Zealand for 3 weeks at the end of January for our honeymoon, so I thought it would be prudent to hang on to those good habits for just a little bit longer, as I know it's not always easy to eat healthy while travelling.
In preparation to the lead up to the holiday period, I decided to stick to strictly plant based foods for the month of November. I like to do this every once in a while, as I find it's a really great way to do a bit of a reset and to re-center on those healthier habits. I really enjoyed my month of plant based eating, so much so that I've decided to continue up to Christmas, allowing myself a 'cheat' every once in a while (which comes in handy when going out for dinner at restaurants).
This sweet potato tahini quinoa bowl has been one of my favourite meals over the last couple months. It's vegan, it's gluten free, and it's completely satisfying. Plus, it's really easy to make ahead and travels well to work. To make the bowl, you start with some plain cooked quinoa as a base. Then you add some steamed greens (I use tenderstem broccoli and green beans), some roasted sweet potato and some toasted pepitas. If you want added protein, cooked beans also make nice additions (I like to have this with chickpeas from time to time). And then the whole thing gets topped in a lemon-tahini sauce that's slightly adapted from Gena Hamshaw's recipe for lemon tahini dressing. And that's pretty much it - perfection in all its simplicity!
Sweet potato tahini quinoa bowls
This has been my go-to office lunch lately. It keeps well for a few days in the fridge and has pretty much everything you need for a filling and satisfying lunch. Feel free to play around with the greens and use whatever you like best/is in season. I sometimes like to add different nuts and seeds as well as cooked beans (chickpeas work great). The recipe makes a really big batch which I find handy for weekday lunches, but feel free to half the recipe if you find that more convenient. The tahini dressing recipe is slightly adapted from Gena Hamshaw's recipe over on Food 52.
- 1.25 kg sweet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups | 340 g quinoa, rinsed
- 3 cups | 700 mL water
- 1 tsp salt
- 200g | 2 cups tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 200g | 2 cups green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup | 110 g tahini paste
- 1/2 -3/4 cup | 115 -175 mL water
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp garlic granules/powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but delicious)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup | 65 g toasted pepitas, to serve
For the roasted sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius | 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven until tender - 30-40 minutes.
For the quinoa: While the sweet potatoes are roasting, place the quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside and let rest 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. This yields a bit more quinoa than required for this recipe, but it keeps well in the fridge (or freezer) and can be used throughout the week.
For the greens: Place the tenderstem broccoli and the green beans in the basket of a steamer (or in a strainer placed over a medium sauce pan with about 2 inches of water over high heat) and steam the veggies for 3-4 minutes, until bright green and tender. Be sure not to over-steam the veggies - you still want a bit of crunch!
For the dressing: Place the tahini, 1/2 cup water, lemon juice, garlic granules, olive oil, nutritional yeast flakes and salt and pepper in a mason jar. Put the lid on the jar and give it a good shake to combine. Add a further 1/4 cup water if you find the sauce is a bit thick and mix again. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
To assemble the bowls: Place some cooked quinoa in the bottom of a bowl (I normally use 1/2 cup to 1 cup). Add as much roasted sweet potatoes and greens as desired, and then top with a good handful of toasted pepitas. Drizzle over as much tahini sauce as desired, and enjoy straight away! The bowl can be served warm or cold. If making ahead, store the ingredients separately in airtight containers in the fridge and assemble just before serving.
Serves 6-8, and keeps well in the fridge for a few days.