We sit down to bowls of food most often in our house. On the porch with beers, in front of the TV in sweats, at the dining table, or leaning up on the kitchen counter while also hunched over an iPad or some other non-ideal dining companion (probs looking at this). We have these wide, shallow bowls that I purchased a few years ago that are just spot on. They seem to help every ingredient nestle into the other with perfect ease–every tangle of salad, every grain of rice, every slump-y spoonful of ice cream, the forkfuls of pasta, the clumpy granola, the slippery noodles in broth. One of them is chipped, both are cracked, and I’m still reluctant to replace them.
That vessel, its potential for nourishment, and the million ways it can bring us all together is the subject of a particularly wonderful new cookbook from the Sprouted Kitchen crew. I’ve admired Sara’s approach to nourishment for as long as I’ve had conscious associations with the term “food blog.” Her food feels at once special, approachable, and wholesome in a way that won’t have you running to a little hippie health shop for non-dairy probiotic to start a 3 day fermentation spectacular. It’s honest food transmitted by way of her thoughtful reflections and Hugh’s eye-widening photographs. Saying I loved the heck out of their first book would be a huge understatement.
When I was first approached by an editor to think about a cookbook of my own, I emailed Sara pretty much within the week. Even though she was totally removed from the process of making her first book at that point, I knew any advice she had to offer up would be helpful. And boy, it really was. I can’t remember exactly what she told me, but I do remember going back to the email a bunch of times and saying to myself “Not yet.” Her tone didn’t discourage at all. She was forthcoming, positive, and gracious to the point where I began to see little (but actually huge) points of consideration underneath that glossy shell of “Ohmygosh someone likes me and wants to slap my grinning mug on a book jacket GUUUUYYYS!”
My point is that her encouraging, but simultaneously #realtalk, message gave me the tools I needed to assess my situation a bit more seriously. Because of it, I waited and I’m in a way better position to take on this kind of project now. Sara had mentioned in that email that she had been working on a proposal for book 2 and now, all these seasons later it’s here. Those very positive intentions wrapped up in grace and warmth embody what it’s like to cook from her culinary point of view. There’s never an instance of a recipe in Sara’s repertoire that can be explained with: “Because kale!” You know what I mean? It’s not healthy food for the sake of health alone. You’re still eating for pleasure first. The recipes have their wholesome virtues along with their comfort, style, and brilliant flavour/textural combinations.
This tahini dressing of hers with citrus and miso really is amazing–probably the best I’ve had. It leans towards slightly sweet with just the right amount of brightness and umami-ish interest from the miso. It tastes delicious on everything and I know this because I’ve actually been eating it on everything. I also loved that it was mostly just a measure + whisk number. No mincing or fine grating or additional mess-making. For today’s post, I poured it on top of a very relaxed interpretation of her Hippie Bowl, which spoke to me for obvious reasons. There’s sprouts, avocado, whole grains, delicate little carrot ribbons and plant protein by way of chickpeas. Sara’s version in the book calls for some roast-y marinated tofu, which sounds pretty great.
Some other recipes I have bookmarked for the future: coconut sorbet with strawberry rhubarb sauce, kale caesar with cornbread bits, curried sweet potato soup with crispy lentils, strawberry tabbouleh, and did you see these mustardy croutons? Lots of gorgeous and delicious things to make anyone, at any level, feel great. I have a decently stocked fridge and pantry, no more than the average person that prioritizes eating fairly well. I love it when a book like this one turns a bunch of ingredients on hand into a cohesive and satisfying whole without too much heavy lifting. It’s a winner, pals.
Oh, and a little click if you’re interested. I was interviewed on Nutrition Stripped, one of my favourite sites, this week. You can check it out here :)
Sara’s amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl recipe
from The Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl + Spoon
print recipe here!
notes: I’ve printed Sara’s instructions here pretty much as is where applicable, with my own adjustments in parentheses. I use raw tahini almost exclusively now and I can’t tell you what a difference this has made for my dressings, sauces, and other savoury applications. It’s just so much creamier without that bitter edge. I buy this brand.
tahini dressing ingredients (makes extra):
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp mellow miso
2 tbsp honey (I used brown rice syrup to keep it vegan)
1 tbsp sesame oil (I was out and used olive oil)
2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 1 large orange, about 1/3 cup (I only had blood oranges around)
salt + pepper
lemon juice, to taste
water, as needed
spiced sunflower seeds ingredients (also makes extra):
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp maple sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
healthy bowl ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small bunch of kale, stemmed + chopped
lemon juice, to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice
1-1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
2-3 carrots, peeled into ribbons
2 big handfuls sunflower sprouts (or other sprouts/shoots you like)
1 ripe avocado, peeled + quartered
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, miso, honey, oil, and hot sauce to combine. Then, whisk in the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary. Thin the dressing with water or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Dressing will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
For the sunflower seeds, heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sunflower seeds to the pan and toast them, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the maple sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir the seeds to combine and keep stirring them until spices/sugar lightly coat/stick to each kernel, about 8-10 minutes. Cool and set aside.
Lightly wipe out the sauté pan that you used for the seeds and return it to the heat with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the chopped kale and stir immediately. Season kale with salt and pepper. Keep stirring the kale until it’s all evenly wilted. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice and stir to distribute. Remove pan from the heat.
In two big, shallow bowls, evenly divide the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, carrot ribbons, sunflower sprouts, avocado, and cooked kale. Top bowls with tahini dressing and spiced sunflower seeds.