By KAREN K. WILL
When we think of one-bowl suppers or meals, it’s usually a starch like pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes as the base, topped with a melange of meat and vegetables. These days, lots of folks are looking to replace those carbs with lighter fare, like vegetables, prepared in creative ways-and not lose out on taste and heartiness. Whether weight loss is your goal, or you’re just trying to eat more vegetables, these recipes will help you lighten up these easy one-bowl meals and inspire you to try your own creations with cauliflower, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and butternut squash as your bowl “base.”
Another simple bowl “base” is shredded cabbage. Top it with just about any hot vegetable or meat saute, which will soften the cabbage and fill you up with a tasty, nutritious meal. I always keep a head of cabbage in my refrigerator because it makes such an easy, healthful dish with very little work.
Sweet and smoky butternut barbecue bowl
Garlicky, sweet butternut squash is the perfect base for smoky barbecue chicken. This is like a classic pulled pork dish, which incidentally, you could substitute here. We just raise lots of broiler chickens on our farm, and slow cooking and “pulling” the meat is my favorite way to get the most out of them. Choose a smoky or tangy barbecue sauce, preferably organic.
Yields 4 servings.
1 broiler chicken (4 to 5 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
6 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Butternut squash (enough to yield 2 pounds of flesh)
2 tablespoons water
1 head garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons whole milk or half-and-half
1 teaspoon honey, optional
1 bottle (12 ounces) barbecue sauce
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
Place chicken in large slow cooker. Rub 4 tablespoons butter all over skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 5 1/2 hours.
2 About 1 hour before chicken is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place halves, cut side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle water around tray. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil.
Bake squash and garlic for 50 minutes, or until squash is tender. Let cool for 20 minutes.
Squeeze out garlic cloves and scoop out squash flesh; place both in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture is smooth.
Melt remaining butter, and add to squash mixture in food processor, along with milk. Season with a little more salt and pepper, and add honey, if desired. Process until smooth.
When chicken is done, remove from slow cooker and place on cutting board to cool for about 20 minutes. When cool to the touch, shred meat off bones. Place meat in large bowl. Add barbecue sauce, and toss to coat.
Divide squash mixture evenly among 4 bowls. Top each with generous amounts of barbecue chicken. Garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.
Cauliflower rice bowl with shrimp
This dish is amazing. Who knew you could turn a vegetable like cauliflower into “rice”? If preferred, you can grill or pan-fry the shrimp instead of adding them to the saute. Add a drizzle of good-quality olive oil and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt to the finished bowls.
Yields 2 servings.
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup regular coconut milk
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey, coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar
3/8 teaspoon sea salt
8 to 10 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Chopped cashews, for garnish, optional
Place cauliflower in food processor and pulse until mixture looks like rice grains.
Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add and saute cauliflower “rice” for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice, honey, and sea salt, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until cauliflower “rice” is tender.
About 5 minutes before cauliflower “rice” is done, add shrimp to pan, and cook until pink.
Divide mixture evenly between 2 bowls, and garnish with extra cilantro and cashews, if desired.
Spaghetti squash boats
The al dente squash noodles, mixed with the creamy cheese and tangy balsamic vinegar, and the crunch of the whole grains and nuts was just delicious. You can substitute shredded mozzarella for the mascarpone, if desired. If you do, place the assembled squash boats on a baking tray and broil for a minute or two before serving.
Yields 2 servings.
2 spaghetti squash, halved and trimmed, seeds removed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup whole grain of your choice (wheat berries, farro, rye berries, spelt, wild rice, etc.)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries or tart cherries
4 strips bacon or turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or pepitas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place squash halves, cut side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush 1 tablespoon olive oil over skins. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cook grain according to package directions; drain, set aside, and keep warm.
When squash is cool to the touch, use fork to scrape out and shred flesh to form “spaghetti.” Reserve skins. Place spaghetti in large bowl.
In separate bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, salt, and herbs de Provence. Pour over spaghetti, and toss to coat. Add cheese, and toss until melted. Stir in cooked grain, fruit, and bacon, if using, and toss to combine.
Spoon mixture evenly into reserved squash shells. Garnish each with a generous sprinkling of nuts, and serve immediately.
Zucchini noodles with meatballs
Any day you can replace starchy pasta with a vegetable is a good food day in my book. So the classic spaghetti and meatballs gets a modern makeover here. This dish really satisfies without leaving you feeling stuffed and bloated. Make extra meatballs (double the recipe) and freeze them for dinner next week. To cut the zucchini into noodles, use a spiral vegetable slicer. The slicer will cut the zucchini all in one shot, so keep a pair of kitchen shears in hand to cut the ribbons into pasta lengths.
Yields 2 servings.
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 large zucchini, cut into ribbons
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 jar (24 to 25 ounces) organic pasta sauce or homemade marinara sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In large bowl, combine parsley, ground meat, half the minced garlic, salt, seasoning, breadcrumbs, and egg. Knead with hands until thoroughly mixed.
Moisten hands with water. Scoop out heaping tablespoon meat mixture, and roll into ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meat mixture, spacing meatballs 1/2 inch apart.
Bake meatballs for 25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, place zucchini noodles in colander, and toss with sea salt. Let sit and strain for 30 minutes to remove excess water. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels or clean tea towel.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini noodles and saute for 2 minutes. Add remaining minced garlic, and saute for additional 1 to 2 minutes.
In saucepan, heat pasta sauce until hot.
Divide zucchini noodles evenly between two bowls. Top each with sauce and meatballs, and garnish with Parmesan.
Excerpted from Grit. To read more articles from Grit, please visit www.grit.com, or call 800-803-7096. Copyright 2019 by Ogden Publications Inc.
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