Can we still call this autumn? I think we can. The leaves may be all but gone, but the temperature is still relatively mild. I’m going with autumn. It’s definitely not winter yet. I find myself in a dilemma at this time of year and not just because I don’t know what season it is. I want to eat healthily but I also want to eat all types of comfort food. I can’t be the only person to experience this? I want pies and stews and gnocchi and creamy things and basically everything that is unhealthy. I think I might be preparing for hibernation?
At this time of year I have to be more deliberate with my meal choices to ensure I’m feeding myself well and not just feeding a craving. It’s at these times that I challenge myself to come up with a plant-based option for dinner, full of good, healthy protein. This bowl fits that bill and then some! Starting with my favourite winter green, cavolo nero, I then pile on smoky roasted cubes of swede, crunchy roasted chickpeas, chewy farro and a deliciously creamy avocado-tahini sauce to bind it all together. I then top with chia seeds for extra goodness, but any kinds of seeds or nuts work here. The result? A super satisfying comforting bowlful that makes you feel good inside. Win!
So…swede (or rutabaga if you’re in the US). Now that’s an underused vegetable if ever I saw one. Most frequently served up as a pile of orange slop, it’s no surprise we don’t cook with it more often. I decided to try roasting it – seeing as roasting seems only to serve to exponentially increase the flavour of vegetables, I thought I couldn’t go far wrong. I wasn’t wrong. Boosted simply by some smoky paprika, a touch of garlic and some herbal thyme I was rewarded with sweet and chewy nuggets of deliciousness. It’s definitely worth a try if you have a pesky swede, bought with the best of intentions, lurking at the back of your fridge. And if you don’t, go and buy one!
All told, this autumn nourish bowl takes very little time to prep and then it’s all just a matter of waiting for the component parts to roast in the oven. From start to finish, it only takes as long as the swede takes to roast. And it’s definitely worth the wait.
Autumn Nourish Bowl with Roasted Swede
- 1 small swede (~500g)
- 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- a small handful of fresh thyme
- 1 can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup farro (85 g)
- a bunch of cavolo nero (~200g)
- chia seeds or other seeds or nuts of your choice
For the avocado-tahini sauce
- 1 avocado
- 1 garlic clove
- a handful of parsley
- a handful of coriander
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- 1/3 cup water (80 ml, plus more to achieve desired consistency)
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
- Cut the swede into 1.5cm pieces. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika, garlic powder, fresh thyme leaves and salt to taste and toss to distribute the spices evenly. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and toss to coat. Spread out on a non-stick baking tray and roast for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and tender when a sharp knife is inserted.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and pat dry. Sprinkle with the cumin, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil and toss to coat. Spread out on another non-stick baking tray and roast in the oven along with the swede for around 30-35 minutes until crispy.
- While the swede and chickpeas are cooking, rinse the farro and place in a saucepan with about a cup (250ml) of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer with a lid on for around 20 minutes until tender.
- Remove the ribs from the cavolo nero and shred the leaves. Steam or boil for around 5 minutes.
For the avocado-tahini sauce
- Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor or using a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce.
- Drain the cavolo nero and dress with a drizzle of oil. Season to taste. Place in a bowl and top with the roasted swede, chickpeas and drained farro. Finish with a dollop of sauce and a sprinkling of chia seeds.
Inspired by A Couple Cooks.