Mexican Vegetable Bowl with Quick Pickled Onions (Vegan, Gluten-free)

January 25, 2015

I've been struggling with recipe ideas lately because there isn't a lot of great produce available right now. Sweets are on my mind, and I can only make so much sweet stuff to post, you know? In the winter I make soup at least two or three times a week, and stew or pasta the other days. I needed some brightness, and this veggie-packed bowl delivers in a big way. Keep in mind that the onions need at least an hour in the lime juice before they're ready - if you want to make this tomorrow, prep the onions tonight and stick them in the fridge.

This is a great meal that can be thrown together with stuff you have in your fridge or pantry. You can change out ingredients to whatever you have on hand (I've included some tasty options at the end of the post) or follow the recipe as I have it here. It might seem like a lot of steps, but you can be roasting the potatoes while you cook the quinoa, prepping the raw veggies while those cook, and the kale only takes two minutes. Really, it only takes about twenty minutes to throw together. The maple roasted sweet potatoes make great hashbrowns too. It's naturally vegan, but I think a little queso blanco would be nice with it if you have some. It'll hold up really well, too, so if you want to bring it to work or school it won't fall apart on you.

My parents are good friends with a Mexican couple, and I used to spend a lot of time at their place when I was a kid, playing with their kids. They'd often use red onions pickled lime juice, salt, and hot pepper as a side to meals. I had to photograph this dish before the onions were quite ready (it was getting dark) - you'll see that they turn more pink and lose the whiteness when they're done. I took the onions off and stuck them back in the bowl to pickle for another hour before I ate them. They work as a fantastic seasoning in this dish, and you can make a bunch of it and leave it in your fridge to add it to everything else you make. Everything! Seriously, it's so good. You can just eat the onions by themselves. Even if raw onions are problematic for your digestion (and, I mean, aren't they for everyone?), these babies shouldn't make you fart. Not more than usual, at least. Nothing I can do about it if you're just naturally farty. Hehe.

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1 cup maple roasted sweet potatoes (recipe below)
2 cups kale, spinach, or a combination
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/4 cup quick pickled onions (recipe below)

Sautee the kale and garlic with olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. I usually throw them in a hot pan, stir a couple of times, and then throw a lid on and turn the heat off. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange ingredients in a bowl and top with the pickled onions. You can add some of the pickling liquid too, if you want. It's pretty tasty.

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
1/2 sweet potato, diced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Tiny pinch cayenne pepper
Pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400F. Mix all the ingredients together and then spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Quick Pickled Onions:
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Zest and juice of a lime (about 1/4-1/3 cup juice)
1/2 jalapeño pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and marinate for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, before serving. The onions will shrink down significantly and turn more pink than purple. They'll keep in the fridge, in the pickling liquid, for at least a week.

Alternative or additional ingredients:
Hemp hearts
Sliced bell pepper
Queso Blanco
Winter Squash

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