I have a hard time eating healthy dinners this time of year despite the abundance of delicious, autumnal foods available, from squash to fresh apples. I think there are two reasons why: first, because fall and winter also mean the return of all the indulgent, butter-based things I like (pie anyone?), and second, because now that the days are short, I’m usually groggy by dinnertime and much less ambitious in the kitchen as a result.
The solution for me is lots of weekend meal prep. Everything in this autumn-inspired grain bowl can be made in advance, stored for several days and reheated when it’s dark at 5 pm and you just don’t have the energy to chop vegetables or wait for anything to boil. The thing I love about grain bowls is they’re endlessly adaptable, so you can’t get tired of them, and thanks to all the fresh ingredients, they’re also nutrient-packed.
I used brown rice as the canvas for this bowl, but you can also try quinoa, fregola or cous cous. I topped the rice with roasted delicata and acorn squash, beets, cauliflower tossed with paprika, steamed kale, pomegranate seeds and pepitas – this is an autumn bowl, after all! There’s a tasty drizzle of honey mustard dressing in there, too. It all made for a few effortless, satisfying dinners and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Autumn Grain Bowl
2 cups brown rice
1 head cauliflower
1 acorn squash, peeled
1 delicata squash
3 medium beets
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
Honey Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
Prepare rice according to package directions. I like to substitute broth for water for extra flavor.
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Toss with paprika, salt and pepper, and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Chop the acorn squash into bite-sized pieces and toss with 1 Tbsp of oil. Slice the delicata squash and beets and toss with salt, pepper and the remaining oil. Arrange all the vegetables on parchment-lined baking sheets and roast until tender. Start checking the cauliflower and beets at 10 minutes. The squash will take a few minutes longer.
Remove the stems from the kale and chop into 1” pieces. Steam the kale for 4 minutes in a mesh basket over a few inches of boiling water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, halve the pomegranate and remove the seeds. Set aside.
To prepare the dressing, mix all the ingredients together and adjust to taste.
Add the cooked rice to a wide bowl and top with vegetables, pepitas, pomegranate seeds and dressing.
Written and photographed for danibarbe.com by Kayleigh Kosmas