My mom just left a few days ago after being here for almost two weeks (hence my not-so-glorious absence from my blog). We had a lot of fun, and got a lot accomplished (re: my wedding dress) while she was down here. There was also a lot of shopping to be had.
Since she now resides in Montana, the land of a thousand-mile food desert, I had to make sure she got her fill of legit Chinese, Thai, and Mexican food. She even got to see what a real grocery store looks like! We also checked out Super Cao, the indoor Chinese market down in the Asian district. I’ve been many times before and each time it’s an adventure. Even though they mainly carry Asian foods there (see: entire aisle dedicated to ramen noodles) they also have quite the selection of Middle Eastern & European products.
I found a gigantic container za’atar seasoning (only $6!) and almost squealed in delight. I had been hearing so much about this fantastic seasoning in food magazines and online. It’s an exotic blend of toasted sesame, salt, oregano and sumac—which has a lemony, tart taste. I bought a bottle and a bag of red lentils and my mom bought some Chinese bowls.
While contemplating how I was going to use my newly acquired za’atar , I found one of those list articles about “buddha bowls”. Buddha bowls are supposedly all the rage right now, especially with vegans and vegetarians. All it is? A huge bowl stuffed with veggies, grains, and whatever the heck else you want in it. It gets its name from overfilling your bowl to look like a buddha belly.
I decided to stick with the Middle Eastern theme for my buddha bowl and cooked up some couscous, prepped a box of falafel mix, and roasted some delicious veggies tossed in olive oil and za’atar. Um, yum. Where have you been all of my life, buddha bowl? And more importantly, where have you been all of my life, za’atar??!
Middle Eastern Buddha Bowl
A Middle Eastern dinner in a bowl: falafel, couscous, chickpeas, roasted veggies, harissa & yogurt.
- 1 box falafel mix
- 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into long florets
- 1 red onion, cut into wedges
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 2 TBS. olive oil
- 2 tsp. za’atar seasoning
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup water
- harissa and Greek yogurt, for topping
- Cook falafel according to package directions. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spread broccolini, onion and sweet potato out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and za’atar. Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until sweet potato is soft and veggies are slightly charred.
- In a small saucepan, heat water and a dash of salt to boiling. Add couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let sit 4-5 minutes.
- Build the bowl: start with a thick layer of couscous. Add roasted veggies, chickpeas and falafel. Top with harissa and yogurt.
Cook falafel mix according to package directions. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spread broccolini, onion and sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil and za’atar. Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until sweet potato is soft and veggies are slightly charred.
In a small saucepan, heat water and a dash of salt to a boil. Add couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Build your bowl: start with a thick layer of couscous, add veggies, chickpeas and falafel. Top with harissa and yogurt.