A big weekly staple for us at dinner is the grain bowl. It’s easy, it’s good, it’s nutritious, and everyone loves it. It’s my favorite way to eat at home, and there are probably countless permutations. It’s such a backbone of our meals that I thought I’d do a little series about it, with ideas for vegetable and grain pairings, as well as ideas for sauces.

To start, all you need is:

1. a whole grain: brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, farro or kamut will do. You can also add cooked lentils or beans, but that’s optional. Your grain can be made ahead, of course, if you want save time.

2. some roasted vegetables. Really anything you like that’s in season.

3. a sauce to bring it all together.

And that’s it.

For this version, I chose black rice, roasted some red peppers, and topped it with a peppery, tangy, creamy romesco sauce.

Step 1: Prepare your grain according to package instructions.

Step 2: While your grain is cooking, make your sauce.

DSC_0847Roast some red peppers, a tomato (I used a handful of cherry tomatoes since that’s what I had on hand), and 2 cloves of garlic.


When they are done, they should like charred like this.


Put everything into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10-15 miuntes. This will loosen the skins of the peppers so they peel right off.


Toast some hazelnuts in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes until they start to smell toasty and fragrant. Keep an eye on them, they can burn quickly. Rub the skins off with a kitchen towel.


Measure out your breadcrumbs, apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, smoked paprika, and sea salt.


First grind the hazelnuts alone in a food processor until they are ground up, then add the rest of the ingredients and whir until smooth.

Step 3: Roast your vegetables.


To roast your veggies, set your oven to 425-degrees. Place your cut vegetables on a cookie sheet (I like to line mine with parchment to save on clean-up), drizzle a good amount of olive oil and sea salt then toss. Roast for about 25 minutes or when they look caramelized. Set aside.

And lastly, spoon your grain into a bowl, add your vegetables, and top with the sauce. I added some toasted sliced almonds that I had for crunch and sprinkled some chopped parsley on top. So good.


Hazelnut Romesco Sauce

{adapted from NY Times}

2 medium red bell peppers, halved and cored

1 plum tomato, halved (a handful of cherry tomatoes will also work)

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup toasted, peeled hazelnuts

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, more as needed

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or 1 teaspoon honey, more as needed

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed

Heat the broiler. Arrange an oven rack in the position closest to flame. Place peppers (cut side down), tomato halves (cut-side up) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until peppers and garlic are slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn garlic (but do not turn peppers or tomato); broil 1 to 2 minutes longer until garlic is well browned but not burned. Transfer garlic to a large bowl. Continue broiling peppers and tomatoes until both are well charred, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer tomato and peppers to the bowl with the garlic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand until vegetables are cool enough to handle but still warm, then peel peppers and tomatoes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse hazelnuts until coarsely ground. Add peppers, tomato, garlic, breadcrumbs, oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, paprika and salt. Purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Scrape romesco into a bowl. Use any leftovers for dipping (vegetables or toasted pita taste great with it.)