Autumn Bounty Bowl

Contributor: Ashley Neese
Photographer: Ashley Neese
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It finally feels like cooler weather is here to stay. To align with the season we’re eating more grounding, warm foods. Autumn is my favorite season for cooking. The drop in temperature and darker days make it fun to turn up the heat and get cozy in the kitchen. I love the wide variety of dark greens and winter squashes that start popping up at the markets. It’s such a festive time to prepare meals.

Creating bowls is my favorite way to eat. This past spring I decided to call them Bounty Bowls to reflect the seasons harvest. The beauty of these bowls is you can adapt them to suit your tastes, they make excellent meals to batch cook, and the combinations are limitless. I really enjoy having different flavors and textures in my meals and this is a way to keep things interesting.

I keep my Bounty Bowls vegan but there is no reason you couldn’t add soft cooked eggs, grilled fish, or a piece of roasted chicken. Choose those proteins wisely and always purchase the highest grade possible. Quality is something I do not compromise on when choosing to eat animal products in small amounts.

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This yummy Bounty Bowl includes some of my favorite autumn foods. The flavor or Kuri squash is like a mix of Delicata and Kabocha. It’s nutty and mild with a hint of sweetness. The peel is edible which is another reason we cook with it more than others. The flesh has a wonderful, smooth texture when cooked. Kuri squash is very grounding, warming, and helps to strengthen digestion. Kuri squash is a great source of vitamins A and C as well as calcium, fiber, and folate.

For the greens we’ve got Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K and also good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium and iron. Swiss chard has a mild and slightly bitter taste similar to spinach. Swiss chard is an essential food for bone health.

Did you know  wild rice is actually a water grass or manomen as it is often called by people indigenous to North America. It has a bitter and sweet flavor and supports our bladder and kidneys. Wild rice is loaded with B vitamins and has more protein than other rice. According to Chinese Medicine it cools our superficial tissues and helps warm our interior and lower body. A great food for cold climates and cooler seasons.

For this recipe, rinse the wild rice well, soak it over night, drain the next day and cook 1 c. wild rice to about 2 c. water with a pinch of sea salt. Simmer on low, covered until cooked.

And lastly I’m going to talk a little about miso and tahini as they make up the bulk of the dressing and are two of my favorite foods! Miso is a fermented paste most commonly made from soy. Two other common types are barley and brown rice. These days you can find all kinds of varieties of miso that ranges in color and flavor. Miso is light or dark and I prefer darker varieties in the fall and winter. My favorite is adzuki miso from South River. If you can’t get your hands on it be sure to get unpasteurized miso and store it in glass containers if purchased in plastic.

Miso has many healing properties. It contains probiotics that support gut health, neutralizes some effects of smoke and air pollutants (a must for us folks living in LA!), and also promotes long term health and wellness. Miso is a great in place of salt in some recipes and can be a helpful food for folks transitioning off of animal products.

Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and is super high in calcium and vitamin E. Paired with miso it makes an incredible sauce that you are going to want to put on all your veggies! You can purchase it raw or roasted.

 

AUTUMN BOUNTY BOWL

Serves 4

 

Ingredients //

For the bowl:

  • 1 c. dried wild rice
  • 1 medium Kuri squash seeded, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, de-stemmed
  • 2 c. pinto beans, cooked
  • Fresh micro greens, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 c. Pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. miso
  • 2 & 1/2 Tbsp. tahini (I used roasted)
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. filtered water

 

Method //

  1. Rinse the rice well. Put it in a glass bowl and cover with water to soak overnight. The next morning drain the water and rinse the rice well. Cover with water again and place in the fridge to bloom for the next 2-3 days. Rinse and change the water every 8 hours or so until the kernels have split open and it is soft enough to eat.
  2. While prepping the remaining bowl ingredients bring 2 cups of rice out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on the baking sheet and brush with coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash until tender about 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. When squash is done, remove from oven and set on counter to cool.
  4. While the squash is roasting make the sauce. Blend the miso, tahini, vinegar, ginger, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of water in a small blender. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water one at a time until you have a creamy, thick. Adjust flavors and pour into a glass jar and set aside.
  5. Roughly chop the chard then steam it for a few minutes until soft.
  6. Warm the beans if they are cold.
  7. Arrange a portion of the rice, squash, chard, and beans in four cafe bowls. Top with a generous handfuls of microgreens. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if desired.
  8. Serve with the miso tahini sauce and enjoy!

All ingredients will keep well in airtight containers in the fridge for several days. The sauce will keep at least 5 days.