Who doesn't love dinner in just one bowl? We have a vegetarian spectacular for you today, one that looks fancy as all get-out, but hello! It only takes 30 minutes to make, and it's gilded with a sauce of tahini and golden turmeric that's as easy as open sesame!
The Adaptable Beauty of a Great Bowl
This bowl is perfect as a weeknight meal because it is endlessly adaptable. Consider the formula it's based on (vegetables + legume + grain + tahini sauce ) as an excellent base for building your own comforting bowl of goodness.
Here we're using roasted eggplant that's been tossed with za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend made with sumac, thyme, and sesame. If you don't have eggplant on hand, you could use cauliflower, sweet potato, beets, or Brussels sprouts instead as the hearty veggie component. The roasted eggplant is served over brown rice and chickpeas, and topped with a silky turmeric tahini sauce that might be the true star of the entire meal.
Tahini & Turmeric: Your New Favorite Sauce
There are endless possibilities when it comes to tahini. This full-bodied sesame paste can completely transform veggie dishes, providing earthiness, nuttiness, and an intense depth of flavor.
This turmeric-scented tahini sauce is one of my current favorites. Vibrantly hued turmeric adds a bitter, aromatic edge to tahini, and it's delicately tinged with a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup.
Roasted Eggplant and Brown Rice Bowl with Turmeric Tahini
For the eggplant and bowl:
3 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon za'atar
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cooked brown rice, warm or at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
For the turmeric tahini:
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 small clove garlic, minced
Roast the eggplant: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.
Place the eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, then sprinkle with the za'atar and a big pinch of salt. Using your hands, toss until the eggplant is well-coated. Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer.
Roast for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant and roast for 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and season with a touch more salt and black pepper; set aside.
Make the tahini: Place the tahini and water in a small bowl and whisk into a smooth, thick paste. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season with salt.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top with the garbanzo beans and eggplant. Sprinkle with the cilantro, mint, and pomegranate arils. Generously drizzle the turmeric tahini over the top.
- Za'atar: Za'atar is a blend of thyme, sesame seeds, and dried sumac. It can be found in the spice aisle, or you can make your own by mixing equal parts of the three ingredients.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.