Vegan cauliflower grain bowls with pumpkin, garlic, bulgur, and plenty of herbs. Winter in a bowl and using all local ingredients, this is a budget friendly weeknight dinner or lunch and so good.
I have a rule at the grocery store that I don’t buy anything that costs over 4€/kilogram. The great thing about that is that I rarely spend more than 20 bucks on groceries to fill my backpack, but the negative is that I don’t get any of the exciting stuff. 4€/kilo is pretty generous and I usually keep it lower, except for things like broccoli, cauliflower, and other leafy vegetables. We have a strict budget and we’re lucky to have pretty good variety at our local shop so I’m not making the same thing over and over. In Canada we tried to only buy organic but it was so difficult, and we ate potatoes and broccoli almost every day in the winter months, just because there wasn’t anything else available.
What I’m trying to get at here is that I know a lot of food bloggers buy foods just because they look pretty and I’m always a bit disappointed when I see other people who live in northern climates loading up on imported everything in the winter. There are plenty of inexpensive options and you can still eat well, and maybe add a bit of imported produce (like pomegranate, for example) for something extra without ignoring what’s available locally. We live pretty far north and have access to a large array of produce – potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, greens, apples, pumpkins, and onions, among others. I do buy oranges in the winter and don’t feel bad about it, but it’s all about balancing. I’ve been thinking a lot about how distance is relative depending on where you grew up. For me, a 3-4 hour drive isn’t far to go, and we considered food from BC (to Manitoba) to be about as local as possible in the winter. Now, I question whether I should be buying something from Italy, even though it’s likely less of a distance than it is to send food within Canada.
This is a good, simple grain bowl made with local winter vegetables. Roasted cauliflower, pumpkin, and garlic are mixed with chickpeas and spices, then served over a herby bulgur and greens. I topped it off with my main lemon and dijon dressing, this time with the addition of roasted garlic. The garlic is roasted with the other vegetables. If you want to switch things up a bit, I’d try subbing out the bulgur for something like quinoa, which would also make this gluten free, using your favourite dressing, or changing up the greens. I like it the way it is but grain bowls are inherently adaptable, so go nuts. I love using roasted cauliflower as it just makes everything a bit cozier.
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Roasted Cauliflower Grain Bowls
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 1 small pumpkin*
- 170 grams / 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic skin on**
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sumac
Roasted Garlic & Lemon Dressing
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of a lemon
- 2 cloves roasted garlic
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
To build your bowl:
- 250 grams / 1 cup cooked bulgur***
- 20 grams / 1/2 cup fresh herbs finely chopped (oregano, mint, parsley)
- 70 grams / 2 cups greens****
- Sunflower or other seeds for topping
Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F. Cut the cauliflower and pumpkin into chunks of approximately the same size, and place them along with the chickpeas, onion, garlic, and spices onto a large baking sheet. Add the olive oil and spices, then mix, using your hands, until the vegetables are fully coated. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
To make the dressing, place the garlic into a small bowl and use a fork to mash it. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until fully combined.
To serve, combine the bulgur and herbs. Place half of the lettuce in each bowl, add the herbed bulgur, and the roasted vegetables. Top with the dressing and seeds, and serve warm.
* I've used a hokkaido pumpkin, which doesn't need to be peeled. Butternut can be used instead.
** Just pop the individual cloves of garlic out of their skins after roasting.
*** To cook bulgur, simply place 1 part bulgur to 2 parts boiling water into a heatproof bowl, stir with a fork, and place a lid overtop. The bulgur will steam within about 10 minutes, no cooking required.
**** I chose mâche lettuce because it's cheap, local, and readily available. Rucola or baby spinach would both be excellent substitutions.