My new pen pal sent me the best ultimate veggie bowl recipe, and I’m a card-carrying carnivore who loved it.
The last time I had a pen pal, I was 13 years old. I found a 13-year-old girl with the exact same name as me on Prodigy (remember that? I’m dating myself here), and we started writing actual letters to each other. We quickly realized our name was all we had in common.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Sweat Pink and Eggland’s Best paired me up with a new pen pal, Nic, for a recipe exchange. She’s a Portland-based yoga teacher and blogs over at Deep Thoughts in Overalls, and her Instagram feed is the most calming, inspiring collection of photos ever. (Oh, and we’ve crowed together at BlogFest, and I can’t wait to see her in June!)
Anyway. Nic’s a vegetarian with all the gluten, and I’m a carnivore with none of the gluten. Somehow, she managed to take that and provide me with an ultimate veggie bowl recipe full of healthy carbs, veggies, and protein via the eggs. And you know what? This card-carrying carnivore was so happy. I love the flexibility of this recipe; I can use whatever grains and leafy greens I fancy. I’m not a kale girl, so I went straight for the spring mix. I also felt like quinoa for this round, but next time I might go with brown rice. I also love that it makes two servings; I might have used the leftovers the next day and added roast chicken. I could see this being a regular rotation in my lunches. It’s so versatile and delicious!
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked (or brown rice if you prefer)
- 2 cups raw greens (Kale, spring mix, spinach, or any leafy green of choice)
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- ½ head of cauliflower cut into florets, or buy pre-chopped cauliflower
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (optional)
- 1 Lime, juiced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 Avocado, halved and sliced
- 1 hard boiled Eggland’s Best Egg
- Optional toppings: Hummus, cucumber salsa, hot sauce, kimchi, roasted pumpkin seeds, cranberries.
- Set the oven to 375F
- In a bowl, drizzle olive oil on the sweet potatoes to lightly cover. Sprinkle salt and pepper and stir. Place sweet potatoes on a parchment lined cookie sheet (spread the cubes out). Roast for about 35-40 minutes or until caramelized. Be sure to stir halfway through.
- In a bowl, drizzle olive oil on the cauliflower to lightly cover. Add the garlic, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika and then mix until combined. Place cauliflower on a parchment lined cookie sheet (spread the pieces out). Roast for about 20-25 minutes or until browned. Be sure to stir halfway through. To time it well with the sweet potatoes, place in the oven once the sweet potatoes are halfway done.
- Once the veggies are cooked, allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
- While the veggies cook, in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, juice of 1 lime, cilantro, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the chilli powder
- While the veggies cool, set the oven to broil.
- In a bowl, stir chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tsp of chili powder, salt, and pepper until combined. Place the mixture of a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the oven/broiler. Check on the chickpeas after 5 mins and stir. Check on the chickpeas every minute or so after that. You want them to look golden brown and crispy, but not too dark or they will dry out. Remove from oven and allow to cool (follow the next steps while they cool).
- In a bowl, place ½ cup quinoa and fresh greens as your base layer. Then add sweet potatoes, cauliflower, one half of the avocado, and the hard boiled egg. Sprinkle with crunchy chickpeas and top it all off with the zesty salad dressing.
- Set up the second bowl in a sealable container and eat for lunch the next day!
I really loved this pen pal project. I feel like, so often, we just like and comment “good job!” on each others’ posts on social media. But connecting over recipes? I’m part Italian, so food is a huge way for me to bond with new people. Add in the Sweat Pink factor and healthy recipes, and I feel like there’s such a great opportunity to deepen our connections with each other.
(By the way, if you’re wondering what recipe I sent Nic? 30 Minute Ramen at Home – it’s way healthier and way tastier than the stuff I used to eat on my meager college budget. It has none of the meat and all of the gluten.)