Thursday, April 4, 2013

Green machine bowl


Yesterday I was hit by an overwhelming craving for GREENS! I had to get some. My plan was to grab a green smoothie over lunch. I made it to the smoothie place near work but totally forgot to ask the girl who made mine to add greens to my mix. Amazing. Before I knew it I was sipping on a fruity mess that I could have done without.

I spent most of yesterday at a training session for work. I wasn't able to make my own food and spent the whole day under the glare of fluorescent lights staring at a computer screen. On my break I did a little browsing online and came across a picture of a quinoa bowl covered in pesto. I have been eating quinoa a lot this week and have been loving it. It has such a nice savory flavor! The idea of a zesty green sauce on top of it sounded perfect. I decided that I would make it and informed my husband as I arrived home. He loves quinoa and was pleased to join me. I asked him to make the quinoa for me (he has perfected the art of cooking quinoa). Unfortunately he got a bit distracted as I caught him in the middle of watching a documentary.  Let me preface this by saying that it is usually ME who breaks things in our house. I'm a little clumsy. I've broken glasses, pots, lots of things. He is more of an accidental heater. He sometimes turns on the wrong stovetop elements or leaves the oven on by mistake when he's done cooking. To make a bizarre story short, he quickly put some quinoa on the stove to boil and left the room. Before either of us knew that something was wrong...

...there was a huge explosion of glass in our kitchen!

Luckily we weren't in there. He had accidentally turned on the wrong element. I do that sort of thing a lot too when I'm distracted. We generally catch it when we see a glowing red element or feel its heat. Today was different though because we both left the room...both left the room with our glass pot lid (one of our few surviving lids thanks to my breaking habits) set on top of the flaming red element. It exploded! Glass. Shards. Everywhere.

We pieced together what happened, said a good number of expletives, cleaned up and moved on.

My  husband made some more quinoa while I opted to make my bowl with a combination of millet grits and quinoa flakes. I took the explosion as a bad omen. As a result, I got to try the green sauce on his quinoa and on my millet porridge. I liked my bowl more than his! Which is funny since the bowl he ate was exactly what I thought I wanted that night...While the quinoa and sauce was like a zesty bowl of couscous, my millet-quinoa porridge bowl was like polenta slathered in a fresh green cream sauce.

The dish was...divine, and exactly what I needed.The sauce is not pesto -- it contains no basil, herbs or nuts. It's flavor reminds me of tabbouleh but it has a creamy texture.

I really loved how fresh it was. This bowl makes a great Spring meal. It is bursting with fresh flavors of lemon, greens, cucumber and garlic. The chia seeds pack the sauce with healthy EFAs and fiber while holding it together smoothly with their gelling ability. The greens and lemon will give you energy, essential vitamins and nutrients and help you detox your system. The millet and quinoa flakes provide good fats, fiber and protein and a silky texture. The kelp flakes are powerfully anti-inflammatory and loaded with iodine which helps strip heavy metals from your system.

Do not leave out the chia seeds in the sauce or in the base mixture!


The chia seeds make this sauce creamy and adding the seeds to the millet mixture make it silky and moist. Even better, the chia seeds transform the millet mixture into polenta-like grits that set. Halfway through my meal I was eating more of a millet 'cake' topped with green sauce than a millet porridge which made the dish unique and truly awesome. Trust me, this recipe NEEDS chia!

I hope you give this meal a try, it is great feel-good food for any day of the week.



Green Machine Bowl 



Green Machine Sauce
(2 large servings)
  • 2 leaves of kale
  • 2 leaves red Swiss chard
  • 3 raw zuchinis, chopped
  • 1/3 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • Juice of 1/4 of an organic lemon
  • 2 tbsp soy-free veganaise (see substitution note below)
  • 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil (see substitution note below)
  • 1 tbsp kelp flakes
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink garlic salt
*Substitution notes:
If you do not want to use vegenaise or olive oil because yo are avoiding oil or fat, you can replace it with ONE of the following ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup steamed cauliflower
    • flesh of 1/2 an avocado
    • 1/3 cup white beans or chickpeas
    • 1 tbsp tahini
    • 1/3 cup fava beans
    • 1/3 cup cashews or pine nuts
    • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
  
Green Machine Base
I served my Green Machine Sauce on a millet-quinoa porridge. My husband enjoyed it on quinoa. For other serving suggestions see the note below.

(2 servings)
  • 1 cup millet grits (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • Dash sea salt
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Dash kelp flakes
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • Filtered water

Prepare Green Machine Sauce. Add all sauce ingredients to a food processor and pulse to evenly blend. Scrape down the sides and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste! Adjust salt to your taste. Add cracked black pepper if you like that, I don't use a lot of pepper as it tends to make my throat scratchy.

Prepare Green Machine base. Fill a medium sauce pan with enough water to fill 2/3 of the pot. Add salt. Bring to a boil. Add millet grits and stir. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer, stirring frequently to prevent millet from sticking to the bottom. Add chia seeds and cinnamon and stir quickly to incorporate as they quickly attach to themselves. Continue to simmer for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add quinoa flakes and stir to incorporate. Continue to simmer for 3 more minutes, the mixture should be thick. Turn off heat. Add the kelp flakes and stir to incorporate. Scoop millet-chia mixture into two serving bowls.

Pulse the sauce again in the food processor to ensure no oil separation. Pour half the sauce over each bowl of millet-chia mixture. Top each serving with a dash of the garlic salt. Serve immediately.


Alternative Bases:
The Green Machine Sauce would taste great on top of many different foods. Here are a few delicious gluten free alternatives to try:
    • polenta or grits 
    • baked potato or baked sweet potato
    • black japonica rice
    • buckwheat or creamy buckwheat cereal
    • hulled millet
    • 'riced' cauliflower
    • mashed potatoes or cauliflower puree or root vegetable puree
    • gluten free pasta
    • soba noodles
    • spiralized zucchini noodles
    • kelp noodles
    • salad
    • steamed or baked vegetables (beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, zuchini, broccoli, cauliflower, etc...)