Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Power Bowls with Creamy Peanut Sauce
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Those are the words from the book, In Defense of Food, that have rung in my ears for years. Whenever I make a meal. Whenever I pack a lunch box, Whenever I'm walking around the grocery store, pushing my shopping cart....I think about those words and use them to guide my food choices.
They are wise, simple words that are easy to live by. Nothing extreme. Nothing limiting. Nothing complicated. Just a kind reminder to eat (real) food. Don't overeat. And to make sure that plants take up the majority of your plate at every meal.
Those words don't ask you to give up your favorite food. They don't tell you whether you should or should not eat meat. They don't tell you to fit into whatever "food box" is currently trending. Those words simply remind you to eat nourishing food.
Those are words I can and do live by.
I think the only modification that I might make to those words is the addition of "And listen to your body."....because that is also valuable information in how/what you should eat for a healthy lifestyle.
So, with that said....getting oodles and oodles of plants in a dinner was my inspiration behind this recipe. "Mostly plants" can seem like a boring guideline for how to eat if you are limiting yourself to tossed salads and carrot sticks (which was pretty much the only way I ate veggies when I was first starting out on my healthy living journey). However, veggies are quite magical and can be transformed into so many tasty dishes that really hold their own at any meal.
Especially roasted veggies. Oh how my crew and I loooovveeee our roasted veggies. Roasting vegetables takes the bitter edge off and gives veggies a lovely flavor that is appealing to even the littlest of food critics. I learned many moons ago to always roast a new veggie before presenting it to my daughter....as it almost always makes it a winning new food.
The peanut sauce in this dish is quite mellow and kid-friendly. No punch-you-in-the-face flavors that are going to be off-putting to little developing taste buds, just lovely creaminess that kind of blends all of the veggies together with protein-rich quinoa into on lovely dish. It's quite additive. I dare you to try and not lick the blender clean!
As most of you know, I don't believe in making children separate dinners of "kid food." I believe that children learn to eat real food by observing us adults eat real food and being offered real food along side us. When we make decisions for children that "they won't like" something and don't serve it to them, we are denying them the opportunity to discover a new food and how to properly nourish their bodies.
Instead, offer your child everything that you are enjoying...and maybe a few tried and true favorites of theirs along side the new stuff. I like to serve my 5 year-old daughter her dinner in a muffin tin, so that I can portion out each element of the meal separately for her to try. You'd be amazed how much children love having their meals served to them like this....so many options! So much choice! My daughter often feels empowered by her selections and is way more open to eating new foods.
Of course, then again, there are times where she wants nothing to do with the food I'm serving. And that's cool too....because that also real life.
Makes 5-6 servings
Ingredients For Power Bowl:
1 cup quinoa
3 large carrots, washed and cut into coins
1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
2 big handful kale, washed, ribs removed and roughly chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and divided
salt & pepper to taste
Ingredients for Creamy Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter (look for a brand that is JUST peanuts)
3 1/2 tablespoon coconut aminos
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 425F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cook quinoa according to directions on package (if you are using bulk purchased quinoa, typically you rinse it well first and then combine it with 1 1/2 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook covered for 18-20 minutes)
While the oven heats and the quinoa cooks, prepare your veggies for roasting. In a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts and carrots with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and salt and pepper.
Arrange the Brussels sprouts and carrots on the lined baking sheets so that the veggies are not crowded (crowding results in veggies steaming rather then roasting).
Roast veggies for 10 minutes. Flip veggies on plan. Roast for 10 more minutes.
Toss kale with remaining coconut oil and salt and pepper in the bowl. Add to baking sheets and cook 5 more minutes.
While veggies cook, prepare the creamy peanut sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and run until smooth. You can add more water a tablespoon at a time if needed to reach desired consistency.
To serve: spoon cooked quinoa into bowls and top with roasted veggies. Drizzle with peanut sauce and enjoy warm.
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