Fall always feels like the start of something new (anyone else?). Whatever was stirred up by the hot and humid summer is now cooling and settling, but not in a bad way. Because with routine and structure I feel a certain freedom. The get up and go-with-the-flow, travel-every-weekend, (and drink-as-much-rosé-as-possible) mentality is replaced by a slower, more intentional one. Some space in my life opens up.
With this intentionality comes productivity (yay!) and I tend to get more stuff done in the fall months. This means I get really serious about batching; grouping similar tasks that require the same resources to save time and energy. So, instead of checking my email once every hour (while eating lunch, walking, or watching TV), I try to batch this task by responding to all emails at once. Same strategy applies for making healthy meals. Instead of cooking every night – or even every day – I try to batch cook as much as possible. This doesn’t mean I prep all my food on Sundays. But it means that anytime I cook, I make sure to at least double the recipe (hello leftovers) and even cook a couple different recipes at once.
This fall harvest bowl with ginger tahini maple sauce is the perfect meal to practice this strategy with. It’s so simple to throw together and the time it takes to make is largely unattended. For me and my husband, I tend to double (or even triple) the recipe for these fall harvest bowls and consider lunch done for the week. If you need a bit more variety, the bowl consists of several different components – building blocks like wild rice, roasted squash, apples, and kale- that you can assemble as suggested or mix and match to create new meals all week. Some examples? Shredded kale and chicken salad or wild rice with fish. Just change up the sauce and toppings and, voilà, dinner is reinvented.
But ok and let’s talk about this magical ginger tahini maple sauce. It’s pretty much my favorite because it goes on everything. Not only does it tie this fall harvest bowl together perfectly, but you can also use leftovers as a dip for raw veggies, drizzled on roasted potatoes, or even in a sandwich. Need a quick dinner? Steam a sweet potato, top with a fried egg, and drizzle with this sauce. A nourishing, satisfying meal in 5 minutes or less. Now that’s magic.
- ⅔ cup wild rice, dry
- 3 cups peeled and cubed winter squash or sweet potatoes (see notes)
- ½ tablespoon coconut or olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ teaspoon ground chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups shredded kale, loosely packed and thick stems removed
- 1 large apple, diced
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
- 16 oz cooked chicken breast (or protein of choice)
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup tahini paste
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- ¼ cup warm water, plus more if needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the rice. Add ⅔ cups of wild rice, 2⅔ cups of water, and a bit of salt to a saucepan and bring to a bowl (move on to the next step while waiting for the water to boil). When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is desired chewiness. Drain the rice using a colander.
- Roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the peeled and cubed squash with ½ tablespoon of oil, the spices, and a bit of salt. Arrange the squash evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Prepare the kale. Add the shredded kale to a bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and massage with your hands until softened, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Make the ginger tahini maple dressing. Add all ingredients and ¼ cup of warm water to a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Assemble the bowls. Add ½ cup wild rice, ½ cup roasted squash, ¼ of the total diced apple, ¼ of the total massaged kale, and cooked protein. Drizzle with ginger tahini maple dressing and top with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries (if using).