I’m a planner. I make plans. I make back-up plans. But not when it comes to my meals. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps I enjoy that feeling of complete cluelessness when I go to the refrigerator at 4 pm and try to decide what to make for dinner. My lack of meal planning usually translates into a meal that is really quick to prepare. It also lends itself to creativity in the kitchen, which bodes well for me because it keeps me creating new recipes. Sometimes they flop, and my husband, being the awesome husband that he is, politely chokes them down anyways. But sometimes, they turn out totally delicious! Quinoa Veggie Bowls= absolutely delicious.
Here’s the really great part about Quinoa Veggie Bowls. They’re completely customizable! You can add absolutely whatever veggie or meat you like. I call them “veggie bowls”, because you can totally omit the meat altogether if you’re a vegetarian, and this dish will be just as tasty. For my hubby, if the meal doesn’t contain meat, it’s not a meal-it’s a snack. So of course I had to add some sort of meat in. In this case, I used bacon, because bacon makes everything better. But you could use absolutely ANYTHING- ground beef, chicken, left over pork tenderloin- whatever ya got! As far as the veggies go, it’s also completely open to interpretation. This is really just more of a method than a specific recipe, and it’s something you can make over and over and never come up with the same result.
You’ll notice that I’ve lovingly placed a fried egg on top of my veggies. That’s because this dish is a very American-ized version of one of my favorite Korean dishes- Dolsat Bimambop! My hot hubby first introduced me to bimambop when we were early on in our dating. He took me to this little hole in the wall Korean joint about 45 minutes from where we live, and it was love at first bite. They fire these heavy stone bowls in a very hot oven, and then layer in rice, a bit of meat (I like the beef version), and an assortment of veggies including but not limited to zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, etc. Then they top the whole shebang with a fried egg. Then come the condiments! A bit of soy sauce and a dash of a special secret hot sauce go in the bowl. The soy sauce makes the rice sizzle and get all crispy. Then you break open the egg and the yolk mixes in with all the veggies and meat and creates an amazingly rich sauce. It’s heaven on chopsticks. My Quinoa Veggie Bowl are the same concept, just without the Asian spin!
For the recipe!
I’m going to give you the rundown of what I used in this particular bowl. But please keep in mind that these are merely ideas. Next time, I won’t make it this way. Why? Because I rarely make the same thing twice. It’s kind of a running joke between my husband and I. He’ll say “wow this is great! Too bad I’ll never have it again!” So please, I beg you, make it your own! Then come back and comment on this post and tell me what you used! On with it…
- 3 cups quinoa
- Optional- stock to cook your quinoa in. You can cook it in water, but I cook mine in homemade bone broth to add some extra nutrition. Find out how to make that here.
- 1 lb pastured bacon
- 4 medium sized onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bunch swiss chard, washed, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 bell pepper
- 4 pastured eggs
- butter or ghee to fry the eggs in
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- optional avocado to garnish
- Cook your quinoa according to the directions.
- Cut your bacon into lardon (1 inch pieces) and put them in a skillet over medium heat on the stove-top until crisp.
- In a separate skillet, add 1 tbsp of ghee (or healthy fat of your choice) over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions to the skillet. Season liberally with sea salt. Let the onions caramelize until they're soft and deep in color, about 20 minutes.
- When the onions are caramelized, add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and let it reduce about 2 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat.
- When your bacon has crisped to your liking, remove it from the pan and set it aside to drain.
- In the same pan you cooked the bacon in (leave in the rendered bacon fat), over medium heat add the garlic, bell pepper and swiss chard. Season with sea salt and pepper. Saute until the peppers have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Now time to fry your eggs. You can fry them to whatever doneness you like. I tend to keep them over-easy so that the yolk will mix in with the quinoa and veggies and make a sauce.
- Spoon some quinoa into the bottom of a bowl. Pile on your veggies and meat. I like to keep them in their own separate quadrants. Top with the fried egg. Garnish with sliced avocado. Enjoy!
A few notes about this dish:
- It looks like a lot of steps, but honestly I pulled the whole thing together in less than 30 minutes. I also used a few pans in this version, which I generally do not do. I like to keep it to two or less because that’s less clean up for me! And if you don’t like to use a lot of pans, by all means, you can throw all of your veggies in one skillet and saute them all up together. I’ll never know!
- This dish makes a perfect use-up for leftovers or veggies that are on the verge of going off. So take this opportunity to get them used up here so you don’t have to throw them away! Nobody likes throwing away produce!
- If you have any fresh herbs on hand, chop them up and throw them on top! It will add some great freshness to the dish.
- One last idea- instead of preparing the bowls for everyone, just put all of the topping options on the table and let everyone serve themselves, sort of like a taco bar. The kids will love it! Then just head over to the stove and plop the egg on top!
Make sure to come back and let me know all of the creative ways you find to make this dish your own!
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