One of my favorite simple go-to weekly meals includes piling a bunch of nutrient dense foods into a bowl. This Vegan Cauliflower Black Bean and Quinoa Grain Bowl is simple, healthy, and has all the nutrients you need without the hassle of loads of time and effort. Seriously, within 30 minutes you have a delicious, beautiful, and nutrient dense bowl ready to be devoured.
What is a Grain or Nourish Bowl:
A grain or nourish bowl is a one-dish meal that includes a grain source, vegetable source, and a protein source. It’s a complete meal in one bowl that is flavored and spiced to perfection.
*A quick tip is to prep/make the different components (the grain, vegetables, and proteins) ahead of time and just scoop them into the bowl when you are ready to eat it.
How to Make a Perfect Grain Bowl
Grains: Start building the base of your bowl with a whole grain/ancient grain such as brown rice, quinoa, or barley. This will help your meal achieve a balance of macronutrients, micronutrients, fibers, and phytochemicals. Whole grains are associated with weight loss, reduced insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
Vegetables: These are the star players and what really sets up a successful bowl. Especially for an aesthetically beautiful bowl: think colors of the rainbow. The purple cabbage I added here really adds a pop of color and nutrients like fiber, vitamin K, anthocyanins, and magnesium. Some of my fav veggies to include are seasonal: I have a Seasonal Produce Guide all about how to eat according to the season here. Right now, I’m using cauliflower and cabbage. I love being versatile with my cauliflower and buying purple, orange, or white.
Protein: Adding a protein to your bowl is a must. Your options are endless here: poultry, eggs, legumes, seafood, tofu, edamame, anything that would pair well with the ingredients in your bowl. For example, I used black beans as my source of protein for a heart-healthy, plant-based meal.
Heart-Healthy Fats: Adding heart-healthy fats help with satiety. Unsaturated fats help lower your bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Some of the best paired options with bowls are nuts, seeds, tahini, and avocado. Be mindful of how much love you’re putting into it. For example, when adding in nuts, seeds, oils, and avocado, use these portion sizes:
- 1 serving of fat = 1 teaspoon oil; It’s OK to put in up to 1 Tablespoon of oil
- A well-balanced blend of heart-healthy fats would be in these portions:
- ½ Tablespoon nuts/seeds + ½ Tablespoon olive oil + ⅓ avocado
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil + 1 Tablespoon nuts/seeds.
- My all-time favorite dressing: A combination of 1 Tablespoon hummus and fresh squeezed lemon.
Step By Step Process to Make a Grain or Nourish Bowl :
Step 1: Choose a base
Step 2: Add Vegetable
Step 3: Add Protein
Step 4: Add any additional toppings
Step 5: Plate and serve!
- The Cauliflower
- 1 cauliflower, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Salt to taste
- The Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- Salt to taste
- The Black Beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1-2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- Roast the Cauliflower. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped cauliflower with the olive oil, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
- Spread the cauliflower evenly over the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
- Make the black beans. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until it simmers.
- Add the onions to the oil and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes.
- Add the chili powder and cumin. Add the black beans and the liquids with the red bell pepper to the pan and stir until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed.
- While the black beans simmer, make the quinoa. Place the quinoa into a sauce pan and cover with 2 cups water or broth and add ½ tsp salt.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
- Turn off the heat, and keep covered an additional 10 minutes.
- Prepare additional toppings. I then added pickled purple cabbage for a colorful topping. Other optional toppings are sweet potatoes, corn, avocado, and cilantro.
- Assemble the bowl.
- *The nutrient analysis includes the cabbage, avocado, and cilantro.
For more delicious vegan bowl recipes, check out:
Vegan Adzuki Beans and Rice Bowl
Vegetable Quinoa Chickpea and Avocado Grain Bowl with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Vegan Brown Rice Cabbage and Edamame Grain Bowl with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
Edamame, Amaranth, and Chimichurri Nourish Bowl
40 Plant-Based Bowls of Joy by Sharon Palmer featuring my Nourish Bowl
By Hailey Brandel, dietetic intern, @enlightenedbyfood