I’m going to level with you today. I’ve hardly been able to get myself out of bed lately. It’s a real struggle, every morning, and I operate in a fog until mid-day when I finally snap out of it. Productivity has taken a definite hit, but I swear I’m not depressed—I’ve been there, and this is not that.
Maybe it’s just the winter slump? Can we chalk it up to short daylight hours? Vitamin D deficiency? Cookie and I haven’t been going on our daily walks when it’s so cold outside. Come to think of it, I ran out of multivitamins a few months ago. I’ll buy more today. Recent news events have left me deeply troubled and discouraged, which makes getting out of bed all the more daunting.
Perhaps you can relate. I’m trying to be patient with myself, trying to go to bed at a decent hour, trying to choose veggie-packed meals over nachos (although sometimes I compromise with veggie-covered nachos).
This is one vegetable-forward meal that has kept me going lately, from a new book called Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole-Grain Meals. The author, Carolynn Carreño, has co-authored a number of cookbooks with famous chefs. I felt a pang of envy when I read that she has ten avocado trees in her backyard!
Carolynn’s book isn’t vegetarian, but I’m inspired by her concepts every time I flip through her book. I took a few liberties with this one to keep it more in line with the recipes that you’ve come to expect here. Credit goes to Carolynn for the recipe and inspiration. I’m really into her yogurt-based green goddess dressing, which will likely make an appearance in future recipes. It’s a redeeming creamy sauce that makes eating veggies seem a little more indulgent, which is so welcome this time of year.
- 1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into ½" thick half-moons
- ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 bunch heirloom carrots with greens (about ¾ pound), scrubbed and halved lengthwise (leaving just 1-inch of greens attached)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ cups farro**
- ½ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 1 head radicchio, thinly sliced, or 4 handfuls arugula or greens of choice
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (any fat %)
- ½ cup parsley leaves
- ¼ cup cilantro or mixed leafy herbs of choice—fresh sage, oregano or marjoram, and/or thyme
- ¼ cup buttermilk (optional—I tried it with and without and couldn't tell much difference)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- To roast the veggies: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup. On one of the sheets, combine all of the vegetables. Drizzle the olive oil on top and sprinkle with the salt and some pepper. Toss until the veggies are all lightly and evenly coated in oil and spices.
- Transfer half of the veggies to the other prepared baking sheet. Arrange them all in an even layer across the pans. Roast on separate racks, tossing the veggies and switching the pans on the racks halfway, until the vegetables are tender throughout and golden on the edges, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to cook the farro, combine the farro with enough water to cover by several inches in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy, 15 to 25 minutes for pearled farro or 25 to 40 minutes for unprocessed farro. Drain off the excess water and set aside.
- To toast the pepitas, combine the pepitas, olive oil and a few dashes of salt in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the pepitas are making little popping noises and turning golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- To prepare the green goddess sauce: In a small food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste, and add additional lemon juice and/or salt if necessary. Set aside.
- To prepare the bowls, spread a big spoonful of sauce across the bottom of 4 bowls. Divide the cooked farro into the bowls, then arrange radicchio, roasted veggies and chickpeas on top. Sprinkle pepitas over each bowl and serve with extra green goddess sauce on the side.
*Change it up: You could use any seasonal vegetables that roast well in this recipe (think cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, butternut, bell pepper, red onion...). Use a total of about 2 pounds vegetables, cut into even bite-sized pieces. For the record, I've tried using regular (not heirloom) carrots, and didn't enjoy them nearly as much—so if you can't find heirloom carrots, pick a different veggie option or roast extra Brussels or squash instead.
**Make it gluten free: Substitute wild rice, brown rice or quinoa, cooked accordingly. You'll need about 4 cups cooked whole grains for this recipe.
Make it vegan: Make a blended tahini and herb dressing instead of the yogurt dressing. Blend the following in a small food processor: ⅓ cup tahini, ¼ cup lemon juice (from 1½ to 2 lemons), ½ cup mixed fresh leafy herbs (I like half flat leaf parsley and half basil or cilantro), 2 tablespoons water and ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt. The sauce should be nice and creamy, but drizzle easily off the back of a spoon—if not, blend in a bit more water. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.