Mothers need to eat, too. Just because not everyone in my family appreciates roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, bulgur, chickpeas, scallions, tomatoes, avocado, roasted garlic, and balsamic vinegar shouldn’t mean that I’m stuck eating macaroni and cheese four times every week. Okay, if the complaint was only about the vinegar, I’d swap it for lemon juice. I am flexible. Seriously, though, since I don’t actually sit down to a meal every day, I would rather have a big bowl of this salad in fridge to grab a few forkfuls of at a time than to be picking at pasta or Healthier Lava Cookies or“Emergency” Cookies or Chocolate Chip Mocha Cookies or whatever I have in the freezer. (This is a hazard of being home all day.) I love that all I need in a meal is in one bowl. Bulgur provides the fiber-rich grain, which also balances with the chickpeas to form a complete protein. Oven-roasted eggplant and red bell pepper, and fresh tomatoes provide a cooked and fresh vegetable. Avocado adds healthy fat. Garlic, scallions, and balsamic vinegar give it a deep, bold flavor. What more could you want in a meal? If you disagree, this also makes a delicious side dish.
There are a number of simple steps involved in preparing this all-in-one vegan meal, but they don’t all have to be done at once. You can make all of the components ahead and assemble later, even a different day. With a baby at home with me, recipes that involve soaking something in a bowl or putting something in the oven for an hour or more and coming back to it later are right up my alley. Unlike a cake that may dry out, if the eggplant or red peppers are in the oven five minutes longer, there’s no harm done.
Are you ready to eat healthy with me? Let’s go!
If you like this dish, you may also like my Beet Bulgur Salad.
Ratatouille-Inspired Mediterranean Grain Bowl
Serves: 2-3 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish
1 cup dry bulgur or couscous
1/2 large or 1 small eggplant
1 large red bell pepper
1 head of garlic
1 large tomato
1 ripe avocado
1 can chickpeas, drained (about a cup and a half)
3-4 scallions/green onions
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
dried cranberries or pomegranate arils to garnish
- Rinse bulgur and put in a bowl with 1 cup water to soak for at least an hour, until all of the water is absorbed and it tastes cooked. If you are using couscous, follow instructions here: Foolproof Couscous
- Cut eggplant and red pepper into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch/2 cm). Spread on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap head of garlic in aluminum foil and put on tray. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F/180C for about 45 minutes.
- When roasted vegetables have cooled and bulgur is ready, combine bulgur, chickpeas, and roasted vegetables in a large bowl.
- Take the garlic out of the foil and slice off the flat side. From the pointy top, push down to squeeze the garlic out of its skin. Add to the bowl and mix well.
- Chop tomato and avocado and add them. Mix gently so as not to mash the avocado too much.
- Season with chopped scallions, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired.
- Garnish with pomegranate arils or dried cranberries.