Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Green Grain Bowls

One of my favorite segments on late night TV is when Jimmy Fallon writes his Thank You notes. He has a way of saying everything I believe but never knew I was thinking.

In my never-ending quest to be "hip" and "cool," I came upon the idea of grain bowls. Grain Bowls can be whatever you want them to be. The best way to sum up this mysteriously tasty but good for you concoction, is through a Jimmy Fallon-style thank you:

Thank you, Grain Bowls, for being a salad without the lettuce. 

After all, that's what they are. Every element of a really good // tasty // filling salad is right here, in one bowl, and it is not weighed down by just a bunch of soggy leafy greens. Oh no, quite the opposite.

In my grain bowl research (very official blogging business, don't worry about it), I learned there are some essential elements to a perfectly composed grain bowl. I also learned that the grain bowl is yours and yours alone, so you should make it and change it in a way that will make your taste buds sing. 

First, you need a grain. Or a grain mix. I, personally, detest quinoa (see above: reasons I am actually not "hip" despite my quest), so my ideal grain bowl tends to begin with brown and wild rice, barley, or farro. A protein is also recommended, as this will keep you full for hours. Rotisserie chicken, albacore tuna, or chickpeas tend to have priority at my grain bowl party. Robust veggies fill out our bowl, and leave just a little room for a handful of fresh leafy greens (though, remember, no salads here). We are almost there. A sauce or dressing cannot be forgotten, as it will bring everything together in a flavorful marriage good for your body and your soul. Toppings, too, because we need texture, interest, and salt. I'm thinking nuts, cheese (<3), seeds, avocado and a snipped herb or two.

So there you have it. That's how it's done. And that's how I created these Green Grain Bowls last week. I LOVE this recipe and re-made it a few days later in bulk for a week of delicious work lunches. What isn't to love about a brown and wild rice blend + roasted broccoli and brussel sprouts + rotisserie chicken + fresh spinach + a pistachio parsley pesto + diced avocado and pistachios and feta cheese? *insert prayer hands emoji here*

Now we can finally get excited about what's hanging out in our lunchbox! 

Here's what you need for Green Grain Bowls* (Print Recipe!)

1 1/2 cups cooked brown and wild rice (or other grain blend)
1 cup shredded chicken (I used white meat from a rotisserie chicken - such a great time saver!)
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup brussel sprouts, destemmed and cut in half
olive oil
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
handful fresh spinach
1/2 an avocado, diced (you will use the second half in the pesto)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
for the pesto
1 cup packed parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 jalepeno, seeds and ribs removed
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 an avocado
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Divide grains and shredded chicken between 2 large bowls and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle olive oil onto a baking sheet and spread the broccoli and brussel sprouts in a single layer. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top then season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the veggies are golden brown and tender. Add veggies on top of the rice and chicken.

Add spinach, avocado, feta, and shelled pistachios to each bowl. Drizzle a generous amount of pistachio parsley pesto on top, recipe follows. Mix all together and enjoy.

for the pesto
Place the parsley, mint, jalepeno, garlic, pistachios, avocado and lime juice in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times until everything is chopped fine. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and place the top back on. Using the feeder tube, drizzle in the olive oil and water with the processor on low. Continue to blend until pesto is at desired consistency. Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

*Gas Stove Girl original bowl recipe, with sauce adapted from Pinch of Yum

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