I started ordering ‘power bowls’ — those good-size serving bowls filled with things like quinoa, brown rice, raw kale, roasted veggies, and sometimes a tangy sauce — as soon as I saw them pop up on menus around the Island. This doesn’t make sense, considering that I don’t like my food to touch on the plate, much less put it all together in one bowl. But like the food trooper I am, I tried it and fell in love. Warm roasted veggies with caramelized edges mixed with fresh cool tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, or cucumbers gives you a mixture of warm and cool together that I find delicious. Especially if I top everything with homemade pickled onions or cilantro dressing.
After eating more than my share of these bowls at local restaurants, I kept mulling over how easy power bowls would be to replicate in my own kitchen. Then one weekend, I made these delicious homemade power bowls that everyone loved. I used roasted butternut squash, chopped kale, brown rice, and drained canned black beans, warmed with cumin and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I had some pickled red onions in the fridge that I’d made the weekend before, and I whipped up some cilantro lime dressing to put on top. I’m very much into limes these days. I want them in everything. In fact, I just read editor George Brennan’s Cucumber Martini recipe from last week, and now I’m going to try one because they have fresh lime juice as an ingredient. A girl’s got to get her lime on somehow.
Black Bean and Roasted Squash Power Bowl
2 cups prepared brown rice
2 15.5-oz. cans black beans, drained
1 tsp. cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-in. cubes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small bunch kale, chiffonade cut
pickled, green, or white onions, chopped
Prepare the brown rice according to package directions. Warm up the beans with the cumin and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Peel and cube the butternut squash, toss with olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and spread it on a cookie sheet. Bake at 425° for about 25 minutes, until the edges start to brown. While squash is baking, make the cilantro lime dressing.
Assemble about a half a cup of the rice, black beans, squash, and kale in each bowl. Top with a handful of your preferred onion (or not), and the cilantro lime dressing.
Cilantro Lime Dressing
1 large bunch fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. good maple syrup or local honey
½ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Very easy. Put everything in the food processor except for the oil, and pulse to combine the ingredients, then pour in the olive oil while the blade is still going, and blend just until smooth.