Bowls of Peanuty Goodness

My toddler and I have a lot in common.  We both love to sing and dance.  We'd just as soon be barefoot.  Food not as fuel but as pastime.  Peanut butter.

The last one is a biggie.  He and I both like it on bananas.  He loves it on frozen waffles.  I love love LOVE it as the key ingredient in this fun recipe for a fresh, healthful dinner bowl.  This bowl is equally at home on the back deck in August and in front of the fire in February.  I'd eat it every day if I didn't need to temper my peanut butter cravings now and then.

The best part about this bowl is that the mix-and-match ingredients come together quickly, so it's a perfect weeknight dinner.  Feel free to add another veggie or double the amount of an ingredient you love.  Everyone gets to make his or her own bowl, so everyone is happy!

Shout-out to Nat for the inspiration!

Shout-out to Nat for the inspiration!

This recipe makes 3 to 4 big bowls, depending on your ratios.  Experiment!

Peanut Sauce Bowl

2-3 medium sweet potatoes, diced (or winter squash or fun root vegetable)

1 cup (dry) quinoa (or rice or other grain)

6 cups chopped or baby greens - I use baby kale these days

1/4 cup peanut butter (use creamy or chunky--up to you!)

1/4 to 3/4 cup light coconut milk (use the TJ's canned kind--just coconut and water)

1 T soy sauce, or to taste

1 T rice vinegar, or to taste

salt to taste (go easy on this one)

Toppings: shredded carrots, slivered almonds, cilantro, hot sauce

1. Dice and roast your sweet potatoes/squash/other sweet root vegetable (even carrot).  spread on parchment-lined baking sheet--no need for oil--and pop in a 400-degree oven until tender and a little brown, 20 minutes or so.

2. Cook your quinoa according to package directions.  I tend to err on the side of less water because I don't like wet quinoa--so I usually do 1.5 cups water for 1 cup quinoa. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

3. Make your peanut sauce.  Scoop the peanut butter into a small mixing bowl and pour in the coconut milk.  Use a fork to mix until smooth (trust me, a whisk is not worth the trouble here). If you're into the coconut milk, add as much as you like to get the right consistency--like thick cream.  If it's coconut-y enough, you can add warm water by the tablespoon until you thin it just enough. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and just a touch of salt until you like the flavor combo.  Seriously, taste often.  

4. Put down your spoon and step away from the peanut sauce.  Be strong.

5. Wilt your greens.  If your quinoa and potatoes are ready, you can just pop your greens into a glass dish and microwave for a minute or two.  If you have some time, it's nice to wilt them in a big pan with just enough water to keep from sticking. (Note: if you're using kale or chard, add a bit of water, but you probably won't need to add water for spinach.)

6. Assemble your bowl!  Start with a big pile of greens.  Top with a bit of quinoa, a bunch of sweet potatoes, then shredded carrots (I like a lot of carrots).  Ladle on some sauce--be generous--then sprinkle with slivered almonds.  Cilantro and sriracha are delicious too.

***For the kiddos:  I cut some of the sweet potatoes into french fry shape and let my son dip his "fries" into a little cup of peanut sauce.