One of my go-to weekday dinner solutions, for those hectic days when the juggle between work-life and family-life has left you reeling, is to roast a big tray of vegetables and then while that’s cooking decide what to do with it. I usually turn it into pasta sauce or soup with the help of my handy stick blender and add some extra protein with a drained tin of beans or lentils. There is always the option to stir the roasted veggies through rice or add them to tacos or a make a warm salad by tossing them through a drained tin of cooked pulses (our organic range from Bunalun is so handy). Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and more delicious and our farm grown fennel and tomatoes are just *made* for pasta.
Like most of my recipes, this is a flexible affair. Make it smooth or chunky, don’t worry too much about the ratios of the different vegetables. Make do with what you have and if in doubt, add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Liz x
Ingredients (serves 4 generously)
2 fennel bulbs (roughly chopped, fronds kept to one side to use fresh as a herb)
250g tomatoes (roughly chopped)
1/2 a bulb of garlic (peeled and chopped)
1 onion (peeled and chopped)
optional extra vegetables like courgette, peppers, carrots…(roughly chopped)
olive oil for roasting – about 4 tbsp
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fennel seeds
optional drained tin of green lentils
pasta to serve
optional chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil to serve
Turn your oven on to 200C and find your largest oven tray.
Roughly chop all the vegetables and scatter them onto the tray.
Drizzle generously with good olive oil and season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.
Use your hands to mix the vegetables, oil and seasoning well, then pop the tray into the oven to roast the vegetables while you cook some pasta (we stock a range of brilliant organic pastas, including gluten free varieties, which you can add to your veg order).
After 20 minutes, the vegetables should be soft and starting to caramelise. If you used a smaller tray then it will take longer and you should stir them occasionally to ensure they all catch some direct heat.
Carefully tip and scrape the roasted vegetables into a deep container. I like to use a sauce pot so that I can easily re-heat the sauce if needed. Then using a stick blender, blend the vegetables into a sauce. You can make it perfectly smooth or leave some texture and chunks, however you prefer it is fine! Or add some vegetable stock to loosen the sauce into a soup?
Add the chopped reserved fennel fronds if you like that fresh, aniseed flavour. For extra protein and fibre, add a drained tin of lentils or white beans to the sauce.
Stir through freshly cooked pasta and serve. I always put extra virgin olive oil, flakey salt and chilli flakes on the table too with this dish. Enjoy!
More a serving suggestion than a recipe. You have to try my new favourite way to eat hummus! Simply smear it artfully on a plate and top with a mix of roasted vegetables and steamed greens. It’s great warm or cold! Scatter over some toasted seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and scoop it all up as it is or with some salad leaves and toasted pitta breads. Why not add some extra toppings to your plate like olives, ferments, pulses, pesto, chilli sauce…? It’s such an easy way to get a whole load of goodness into your day.
How would your dream hummus plate go?
Find the ingredients over on our website. Here are some suggestions to add to your next order:
Buddha bowls are all about balance. A vibrant bowl brimming with a diverse selection of grains, pulses, greens, vegetables, nuts or seeds and delicious dressings. They are a brilliant way to build a balanced lunch or dinner from some easily prepped boxes and jars of ingredients in your fridge. To me, they are the ultimate quick-but-satisfying working lunch, and a delicious way to pack in your 30 recommended ‘plant points’ per week. Buddha bowls are basically salads dialled up to 11 and in my old life running a cafe they were always the best sellers.
Here’s my flexible ‘recipe’ of what I happened to include in this week’s buddha bowl prep. But please just use it as a basic framework, the joy of Buddha bowls is making them your own using what you have and getting creative in the kitchen. Share your amazing Buddha bowl pictures with us over on our community facebook group. We love to see what you’ve made with our wonderful organic produce (and we all need a bit of inspiration sometimes).
VEGETABLES for roasting (eg sweet potato, cauliflower, squash, beetroot, swede, parsnips, onion, carrots, peppers, aubergine, courgettes, tomatoes… whatever comes in your box)
DRESSINGS (eg lemon juice and olive oil, vinaigrette, tahini sauce, pesto, harissa, soy-lime-sesame, mayonaise… try and match your dressing to the other ingredients in your bowl)
optional extra PROTEINS (eg hummus, tofu, tempeh, falafel, cheeses…)
extra TOPPINGS for flavour and texture (eg ferments, pickles, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, chopped fresh cucumber/tomato/radish/scallions, herbs, sprouts, microgreens…)
***Be realistic about how much food to prepare. Bear in mind that prepared food will stay fresh in airtight boxes in the fridge for 3 days so only make 3 days worth of food at a time.***
Start with roasting VEGETABLES. I like to divide mine into two trays – harder, slower cooking vegetables like roots and winter squashes in one and softer, faster cooking ‘med veg’ like peppers, tomatoes, courgettes in another.
Scrub and chop your chosen vegetables and put them into roasting trays with a little olive oil and seasoning (I like to keep the seasoning neutral with just salt and pepper at this stage so I can play with flavours when I plate up).
Roast in a hot oven until the vegetables are soft. Allow them to cool completely them pack them into boxes in the fridge.
Meanwhile cook some GRAINS/PULSES. I often cook a batch of orzo pasta (once your pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water and toss with some olive oil to keep it fresh) and a batch of quinoa to get us through a few working lunches. You could skip this bit of prep and cook your grains on the day though if you’ll have time? Some warm rice with ready roasted veg and dressings is a brilliant lunch.
Or just use ready cooked tins of beans or lentils – I do this often, simply open, drain and rinse a tin of chickpeas/beans/lentils and serve with the prepped veg and dressings for the speediest lunch. We sell a range of organic tinned pulses which you can add to your veg order here.
Quinoa is very easy to cook, just like rice. Measure out a small mug into a fine sieve, give it a rinse then pop it into a small pot with two scant mugs of water. Bring to the boil with the lid on, then immediately turn to the lowest setting and let it simmer until it has absorbed all the water and released its little tails. Let the quinoa cool down before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
Cook a big batch of GREENS. Purple sprouting broccoli and kale are my favourite at the moment and I just steam fry them in a pot with a little seasoning until they are tender. If I get salad leaves in my weekly veg box I’ll make sure I use those first as they don’t last more than 2 or 3 days.
Make a couple of DRESSINGS to keep things interesting. I love a simple vinaigrette (mix 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and add other seasonings like 1 tsp of mustard, a tiny bit of maple syrup, a pinch of salt and pepper…) or a creamy tahini sauce (mix 3 tbsp of tahini with the juice of half a lemon, a splash of water and seasoning like a pinch of salt and garlic powder). I also like to make harissa, pesto, chilli jam, aioli etc so whatever sauces/dressings I have to hand will get used in my buddha bowls.
Prepare NUTS/SEEDS, PROTEINS and extra TOPPINGS. Have a look at my tamari toasted seeds recipe here. Or simply use mixed nuts or seeds to add crunch and extra nutrition to your bowl. Keep a selection of ferments (sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented onions…), olives, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes etc to add another layer of flavour and texture to your bowls. There is already loads of protein going on in all the ingredients above, but if you like you can add even more protein to your bowls by adding a dollop of hummus, some slices of cheese, avocado, tempeh, tofu and so on.
Once you have filled your fridge with a selection of ready cooked delicious ingredients, then it’s a simple matter of building your bowl when you are hungry. I like to try and keep the flavours in a way that vaguely makes geographical or cultural sense. So I’ll have pasta, pesto, roasted med veg, olives, greens.. one day, then roasted roots, tahini dressing, chickpeas, harissa, hummus… another day. Rice, kimchi, greens, furikaki and tempeh another day. It doesn’t always work out like that with perfectly matching flavours, there have been some ‘interesting’ fusions happening, but certainly never a dull bowl!
Sometimes in winter, you need a break from all the soups, stews and pies and want something fresh and vibrant. A warm winter salad is the answer. This is less of a recipe and more of a suggestion. I make versions of this fairly regularly and always make more than enough so that we have leftovers for packed lunches.
Simply chop up some winter veg into similar sized pieces (squash, onion, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, beetroot…), pop them into a roasting tray with a little olive oil salt and pepper. Mix and roast at 200C until slightly charred and soft – this takes around 20-30 minutes depending on how much veg you roast.
Then pile onto some beautiful bitter leaves and dress. A creamy, tahini dressing goes really well here. Mix a couple of tbsp of tahini with a pinch of salt, a tsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and two tbsp cold water. Once the dressing is well mixed it should be beautifully creamy and pourable. Taste it for seasoning and add more lemon or salt as needed. You can even pimp it up with some crushed garlic or finely chopped herbs like parsley or coriander. Then drizzle it all over the roasted veg.
Sprinkle over some crunchy, fragrant dukka (see my parsnip and pear soup recipe for that) and some sweet little pomegranate seeds. Those jewel-like seeds make everything more festive and are the perfect sweet and sour foil to the nutty, rich dressing. Enjoy!