Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh Chipotle!

When I started my plant strong, no added oil adventure I knew eating out was going to be a challenge. This was especially clear when, two days into vegan eating, my daughter requested Friendly's for her "special treat" vacation lunch...and the only thing on the menu appropriate for me was a side salad with no dressing. Most restaurants have more options, of course, and I tend to make my own food most of the time - but every now and then I find myself on the road and in need of a quick, healthy meal. Enter, Chipotle

They have a few vegan options if you simply skip the meat and dairy, but my favorite is the vegetarian burrito bowl with grilled veggies, brown rice, black beans, corn salsa, and fresh salsa. Yes, there's definitely some oil in this bad boy, but as far as "fast" food goes, it's pretty healthy - and delicious - option.

Harvest Bowl

My first harvest bowl was a slice of heaven from the Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly, MA. It's a wonderful combination of quinoa, roasted butternut squash, rosemary walnuts, spinach, sprouts, and a muchi curry sauce.

Since that first delicious visit, I've returned for several fantastic vegan lunches and dinners - but I'll never forget my first harvest bowl. I wanted to recreate the flavors at home but changed a few things up by adding the curry directly to the squash, adding chick peas, and omitting oil and nuts. It's not as good as the original, but i think it's a close second. 

Serves 4

Butternut Squash Harvest Bowl

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F

For roasted squash and beans:
1 large (or 2 small) butternut squash, peeled and cubed in 1-inch pieces
1 15 oz. can (1 1/2 cups) of drained, rinsed chick peas 
1-2 Tbsp of curry powder (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
Dash of cayenne (more or less to taste)
Salt & pepper (to taste)

For the bowl: 
Cooked quinoa (plan on 1/2-1 cup per person)
Baby spinach
Carrots, shredded
Dried cranberries (optional) 
Scallions, sliced

In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes with chick peas, curry powder, maple syrup, cayenne, salt, and pepper. 

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the squash/chick pea mixture on it.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until squash is soft when pierced with a fork. 

As the squash mixture roasts, cook quinoa. 

When it’s all ready, build your (big!) bowls - one for each person. Add in this order:

Curried squash mixture
Baby spinach
Shredded carrots
Dried cranberries
Sliced scallions

Mix the bowl up before eating - enjoy!