Man, do I ever love love love cooking and baking while the food network is on! All my friends keep me company as I chop, simmer, saute, bake and all that jazz. Guy Fieri, Paula Deen, Giada, Ina – all my peeps! Of course, I cannot really eat most of the things they make, but still – there's just something about having them on while I am in the kitchen that serenade me as I multitask in the kitchen.
This morning? I'm making another batch of donuts (I almost can't keep up! The requests keep flooding in and it's so wonderful and surprising, all at the same time!!), and making lunch and breakfast simultaneously. Breakfast is a banana, strawberry, mango, blueberry shake with almond milk, water, and Vega, a vegan plant protein powder that I am mildly obsessed with. Lunch is inspired by the Dragon Bowl at The Naam in Vancouver and the I am Fortified quinoa dish at Cafe Gratitude in L.A. A country apart, these restaurants have such a similar take on creating vegan food that is not only delicious, but filling too! The Dragan Bowl that I love at the Naam is made up of quinoa, tofu, steamed veggies, beets and potatoes smothered in miso gravy and peanut sauce– so good! The I Am Fortified at Cafe Gratitude consists of seasonal veggies on brown rice or quinoa with your choice of green tahini, thai almond, or sesame ginger sauce – DE-lish!
So, feeling inspired to create something similar in my kitchen, I took a trip to the Farmer's market Sunday to arm myself with the necessary ingredients: kale, beet greens, fingerling potatoes, garlic, garlic, more garlic, cremini mushrooms, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. Not having any miso paste, but having plenty of cashews, I scoured the internet for miso gravy recipes, and cashew gravy recipes, hoping to somehow combine the two. What I came up with was a concoction a-la-Lauren that is admittedly delicious! It started out rocky – I didn't really like the taste at first – but as I adapted and added different seasonings, I ended up with a sauce I adore, and a dish that shall be named Lauren's Quinoa Bowl with sauteed greens, seasonal veggies, garlic roasted potatoes and cashew gravy. It's quite the mouth full, in more ways than one!
I tried to put the recipe together for you, but I must ask you for some leeway: I had my ingredients spread out and just kept adding and tasting until I got what I wanted. So, though I tried to remember the approximate amounts of everything, the recipe I put together for you may need to be adjusted in your kitchen. You can e-mail me for questions as you go! Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org – I'd be happy to walk you through it!
Ok, here we go.
Lauren's Cashew Gravy Bowl
- 1 package (1lb) fingerling potatoes, chopped into bite sized peices
- 1 head kale, chopped
- 1 head beet greens, chopped
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 head broccoli, cut into bit sized pieces
- 4 carrots, cut ¼ inch thick diagonally
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 6-8 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups water
For the gravy:
- ¾ cups water
- 4 cups low sodium veggie broth
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili paste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons grated ginger
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- Salt, to taste
Cook your quinoa according to the instructions on the box. I did 2 cups of quinoa for this recipe (and therefore, 4 cups of water). Once done, set aside and keep warm.
THE KALE AND THE GREENS:
Wash your kale (1 bunch) and beet leaves (1 bunch) thoroughly in cold water. I washed them twice to ensure any sand and critters are gone. Set them aside to dry – either pat them down with a paper towel, or put them through a salad spinner. Either way, you want them dry before you chop them, because you are going to sautee them in oil, and oil and water do NOT mix (water causes the oil to splash dangerously). Chop them up. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Wash and dry your fingerling potatoes (1 bag, or 1 pound). Keep the skin on. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces and place on a sheet pan. Mince 4 cloves of garlic. Place garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper over potatoes – toss to coat. Once all the potatoes are coated, place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until tender.
THE SEASONAL VEGGIES:
Wash the veggies. Cut your carrots (about 4) into ¼ inch thick pieces, on an angle. Set aside. Cut your broccoli (1 head) and cauliflower (1 head) into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Put 1 ½ cups cashews and ¾ cups water into a blender or food processor. Blend until a thick paste forms. Get it as smooth as possible. Place in a big sauce pan. Place all other ingredients in the sauce pan on medium heat. Adjust the seasonings as you go. I ended up adding a lot of salt, and playing around with Worcestershire sauce and honey as well. Once you have the flavor right, let it simmer for about 10 minutes, to cook down and thicken up a bit.
BACK TO THE VEGGIES:
Heat 2 pans: 1 for the greens, and 1 for the seasonal veggies. For the greens, cut up 4 cloves of garlic. Place them in the oil on low heat so as not to burn them, but cook them out for about 2 minutes. Then add your mushrooms. Sautee them until golden brown. Then add your greens. You need a big pan for this because the kale is like spinach: at first, you think it's a lot, but then it cooks down to ¼ of what it was to start with. Add salt and pepper until you have the taste you want. Once you are happy with the taste and the veggies are cooked down, take them off the heat and set aside. Keep warm.
BACK TO THE SEASONAL VEGGIES:
Sautee the carrots, cauliflower and broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper on medium to medium-high heat. Keep them al dente (still slightly hard). Once you achieve this, place all the veggies into the cashew gravy, and let them cook for about 7 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Place 1 serving of quinoa on a dish on in a bowl. Place desired amount of greens, mushrooms and potatoes on top of the quinoa. Top with cashew gravy and veggies. Be careful not to give yourself too much – that cashew gravy is filling!