Saturday, April 11, 2015

California Bowl

This hearty vegetarian bowl actually comes from a breakfast cookbook, but I probably couldn't handle this much food first thing in the morning (maybe for brunch!).  We actually had it for dinner, and found it to be plenty filling as it's got whole grains, protein, and healthy fat from the avocado and almonds.  The base is quick-cooking barley from Trader Joe's -- I love this product as it makes serving whole grains so much quicker.  Of course, you could sub in farro, quinoa, brown rice, or any similar favorite.

On top of the barley goes my favorite super-simple massaged kale with lemon. This is probably the most common way I prepare kale, and I love it because it's tender but still substantial, with a great bright flavor from the lemon.  Luxurious toppings finish the bowl -- soft-boiled egg, sliced avocado, crumbled Mexican cheese, and toasted almonds.  These components combine together really nicely to make this a really satisfying meal.  You can serve one or two eggs per person depending on your appetite, or cut back on one or more of the toppings if you're looking for a lighter meal.


California Bowl (adapted from Whole Grain Mornings)
Serves 2

For the lemon-yogurt sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T minced fresh chives
Kosher salt

For the salad:
3/4 cup quick-cooking barley (such as Trader Joe's brand)
Kosher salt
4 eggs
1 bunch kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
Olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1/3 cup crumbled Cotija cheese or queso fresco
1/4 sliced almonds, toasted

1. Make the dressing.  Whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chives.  Season with salt to taste.  Set aside.
2. Prepare the barley.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the barley and a generous pinch of salt.  Cook according to package directions (about 10-12 minutes).  Then drain and keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, set up a steamer basket over water, and bring to a boil.  Add the eggs to the steamer basket, cover, and steam for 6-1/2 minutes for soft-boiled eggs, or 12 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.  Run under cold water and carefully peel.
4. Prepare the kale.  Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Add a generous pinch of kosher salt, and then massage until the kale becomes tender and begins to break down.  Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 lemon, and set aside.
5. Assemble the salad.  Toss together the barley and kale, adding another drizzle of oil if things seem too dry.  Divide among two bowls.  Top with the sliced avocado and soft-boiled eggs.  Then drizzle over the lemon-yogurt sauce.  Finally, finish with crumble Cotija cheese and sliced almonds.

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