Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year to be a farmer. The hardest part of the farm season is over now that the days are cooler, darker and quite a bit shorter. Not only are we working less, but since the harvest is in full swing we are eating like kings! The 2014 season has been very good to us and each meal we cook is better than the last. It's been amazing and these nourish bowls are becoming our go-to dinner on evenings when we don't have the energy to cook a more sophisticated meal. I adopted the name "nourish bowl" from one of my favorite vegan cafes. I think the name suits this meal because it is full of ingredients that nurture, heal and taste pretty darn good all at the same time. Farm fresh at its best! Can't beat that.
One of my favorite farm fresh veggies that we are harvesting now that the cooler temperatures have finally arrived are Brussels sprouts. I didn't grow up eating Brussels sprouts but now that we grow hundreds of them, I have grown to love this tasty brassica.
If you are interested in growing Brussels sprouts in your home garden you should start planning and researching varieties this winter so you can start sowing your seeds in the early spring. Brussels are very slow to mature and require at least 6 hours of sun per day. Unlike a lot of crops, they thrive in cooler temperatures and actually become sweeter after the first frost of the fall. If you live in an area with cool springs, mild summers and crisp falls, Brussels should grow well for you. (As always, check with local farmers or gardeners for tips and varieties that work well in your specific location.)
The best part about growing your own food is simple dinners that let the vegetables shine. This time of year I love roasting a bunch of fresh veggies from the farm and tossing them with a grain and a simple dressing. This bowl is full of so many wonderful things—roasted veggies, crispy chickpeas and a creamy dressing that ties the whole meal together. Grab a fork and dive into this simple farm-to-table meal.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa rinsed well
- 1 medium sweet potato scrubbed and diced into ¼-inch chunks
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 3 cups kale tough stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Add 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan and place it over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid and can easily be fluffed with a fork, 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
- Place the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until coated. Spread the vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet, then add the chickpeas. Bake, stirring halfway through cooking, until the veggies are lightly browned and the sweet potato is fork-tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Place the kale in a large bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the kale to the roasted vegetables, and add salt and pepper to taste. Return the baking sheet to the oven, cooking until the kale leaves crisp up a bit, 5-7 minutes more.
- While veggies roast, make the dressing. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until smooth, or use an immersion blender or food processor to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Set out four medium bowls and divide the quinoa between each. Top each bowl with an equal amount of the veggies. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.