The Year of the Vegetable: Bowls
After years of celebrating all things meaty, chefs have vegetable fever... and so should you! Behold the country's most inspired veg-centric dishes, plus a crisper drawer full of recipes and tips. Whether it's the cauliflower in your taco or the beets in your chocolate pudding, eating your vegetables never tasted so good—or felt so cool! Each week, we'll be sharing recipes from our special package in our June 2016 issue, on newsstands now. Below, dig into our favorite bowl recipes. They're so good, they'll bowl you over!
Cool raw and warm cooked vegetables unite in this bowl, which D.C. chef José Andrés (who once told Anderson Cooper that "vegetables are sexy") serves at his restaurant chain Beefsteak.
Want a stick-to-your-ribs bowl? Try this Mediterranean mashup of creamy polenta topped with zesty ratatouille and a poached egg from vegetarian-food pro Lukas Volger. He wrote the book on bowls (for real — his latest cookbook is called Bowl).
A veggie bowl doesn't have to be vegetarian. This salmon-studded poke (a Hawaiian raw-fish salad), from Gwyneth Paltrow's latest cookbook, It's All Easy, pairs super-fresh fish with zucchini and cucumber "noodles." It's like sushi you can eat with a fork.
Eat your vegetables—for breakfast! Yogurt and granola get a delicious wake-up call with wedges of beets roasted with honey, star anise and citrus juices, thanks to chef Gerardo Gonzalez of NYC's hip-and-healthy El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette.
Want to go at it without a recipe? You totally can! Our experts shared their tips for making the most craveable combos.
GO WITH THE GRAIN: "This is the bulk," says Volger. "It's what fills you up and stretches a bowl into a full meal." He combines grains that have the same cook times — for example, white rice, quinoa and millet — in one pot for a variety of flavors and textures.
PILE ON THE VEGGIES: Make sure every bite is interesting by mixing vegetables prepared in different ways—raw, cooked, marinated and pickled. For the best bowl, get all the other components (dressing, garnishes, etc.) squared away before you cook your vegetables, advises Andrés. "You want to maximize the flavor and texture of the veggies, so build the bowl as soon as they're done cooking." To get a restaurant-y look, arrange the vegetales in small groups, like a composed salad. And try out some kooky cuts. "Spiralized zucchini and cucumber are an ideal base for a bowl," says Paltrow. "They're so much fun to eat."
THE PROTEIN OPTION: Veggie bowls are plenty satisfying on their own, but if you want an even heartier meal, add a protein like chicken, salmon or tofu. Volger likes using a poached egg because the yolk adds a hit of moisture and instant richness.
DRESS IT UP: To tie everything together, you need a really great sauce. "It could be a viniagrette, pesto or even yogurt mixed with chile paste," says Volger. He's also a fan of using spicy harissa or a spoonful of creamy tahini thinned out with water.
CRUNCH TIME: "Garnish with toasted nuts or seeds for textural variety," says Gonzalez. Or whip up a custom mix, like the granola with flax meal and sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds that Andrés uses to top his breakfast bowls. Make a big batch to keep on hand so you're always ready to sprinkle.
HAVE FUN!: The one hard-and-fast rule is that it's gotta be tasty. "Your only limit is your creativity," Andrés says. "There are no bad choices."