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My Go-To Dinner Veggie Bowl

When not particularly inspired to cook, this is my Go-To dinner. It doesn't look like much, but I love how adaptable and versatile it is. It also helps that I really like roasted vegetables.

The first rule is to start with something creamy. For me, that is very often either a generous dollop of Greek yogurt, or a large spoonful of hummus. Either of these can be gussied up by the addition of chopped preserved lemon, or a clove of roasted garlic mashed into submission, or some freshly chopped herbs. On occasion I have also added chopped capers and cornichons, or a dollop of chutney to yogurt or hummus. It all depends on what flavor palate I feel like.

On this occasion, I stirred some preserved lemon paste into Greek yogurt, which I then topped with a handful of roasted vegetables. The vegetables can be hot, or room temperature, or straight from the fridge, or a mix of all of those temperatures. This also makes a difference to what might seem like something that one could get bored of if eating it often, as does the fact that the choice of vegetables varies each time as well. Dinner in this instance was roasted cauliflower and its leaves, leeks, red pepper, carrots and white onion. Varying the shapes and colors of the vegetables when making this makes the dish more interesting as well. If you feel that this is not substantial enough, you can stir in some cooked grains or lentils too.

When roasting vegetables specifically to eat this way, I also think about which spices with which to roast the veggies. Cumin and coriander taste great if I am layering the veggies over hummus, curry powder is fantastic if I have mixed my yogurt with some chutney. Sometimes I roast the vegetables with plain old olive oil, sometimes I use the oil from the chili crisp jar or add a dash of sesame or pumpkin seed oil to the roasting pan.

The last step before diving in is to add a generous handful of leaves dressed with your favorite dressing or, as above, simply with the juice from half a Meyer lemon to enhance the flavor of the preserved lemon paste. A dash of hot sauce, rose harissa or a drizzle of coriander relish will change the dish completely. Spinach leaves are good when using piping hot vegetables because the residual heat will wilt them nicely. Here, I let the vegetables come to room temperature and topped them with baby butter lettuce.

The point is dinner can be delicious and easy, one just has to get into the habit of looking in the fridge and imagining combinations, rather than opening it, thinking "there's nothing to eat" and slamming it shut before ordering take-out. (Not that I am knocking take-out, it certainly has its place in my heart as well!)


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