Happy new year, and welcome to 2018!

I don’t really make new year’s resolutions because I believe self-improvement is something on which one should constantly work—I guess you could say I believe in year-round resolutions—but for most people, a new year marks new beginnings, a newer and improved version of yourself. This means many resolutions to the tune of “I’m going to lose X pounds” or “I’m going to get in shape” or “I’m going to eat less carbs” or “I’m going to eat less meat.”

Resolving to be happier and healthier—well, I can get behind that.

Truth be told, collectively with the hubs and some friends, I recently tried a plant-based diet after watching What the Health on Netflix, a documentary advocating veganism. While I didn’t buy everything the documentary touted (I’m sorry, but consuming cigarettes is not the same as consuming eggs), I do believe most of us Americans could definitely use more green roughage in our diets.

So began the [very temporary]vegan me. How did it all go? I’ll tell you more about that later. But first, here’s the recipe for a vegan dish the hubs and I ate often during our plant-based period. I love how you don’t feel heavy after eating it, yet the quinoa and legumes satiate while the spinach, sprouts, and black garlic boost the healthy factor. Plus, who doesn’t love corn and avocado? Best of all, flavor is not sacrificed at all in this robust, vibrant grain bowl.

Whether the plant-based diet is right for you or not, no one can argue that adding more vegetables to our diets is a good thing.

Happy cooking and healthy eating! Here’s to a better you in 2018.

Recipe: Southwestern Quinoa Bowl

Notes: The nice thing about grain bowls is you can pretty much add whatever you want to it: get rid of leftovers or include a favorite vegetable. Just remember if you want to keep it vegan, no dairy, no eggs, and definitely no meat. But if you want to add a little cheese or sour cream, it’ll still be vegetarian. I didn’t include any ratios in this recipe as I encourage you to make it your own. Love guacamole? Pile on eight ounces of it—no judgment here. Hate alfalfa sprouts? Leave them out. Build your own healthy bowl exactly how you want it.

Ingredients

  • cooked quinoa (I cook mine in my Zojurushi rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove like you would pasta)
  • cooked black beans (I used canned ones with all natural ingredients to make it easy)
  • frozen kernel corn, thawed
  • chopped spinach
  • pico de gallo (we just picked up a ready-made container in the produce aisle, but if you want to make your own, it’s diced tomatoes and red onion mixed with finely chopped jalapeño and cilantro and some lime juice)
  • guacamole (again, you can pick this up ready-made) or chopped avocado
  • chopped black garlic (this is expensive to purchase, so we make our own by placing whole heads of garlic in a rice cooker set to WARM mode and let it sit for about 2 weeks—just be sure to set it in the garage because it’ll reek)
  • alfalfa sprouts (I sprout my own in a mason jar—super easy—here’s how to sprout your own alfalfa

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together.
  2. Divide into bowls if you’d like, or eat it all yourself. No guilt—it’s healthy.

Active time: 10m
Total time: 10m + time to cook any necessary ingredients like quinoa
Yields: however many servings you prefer—it’s flexible

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