It feels silly to write about food when there’s so much hurt in the world. I can’t fully grasp what’s been going on, but I can do something that makes sense to me: cook. Cooking and building bowls filled with summer comfort food is a bit of kitchen meditation, giving me time to reflect on just how lucky I am. I’m grateful for my simple, uncomplicated life. I have wonderful people in my world who I can engage in both important and goofy conversations with. I’m proud to live in Canada, a country that’s beautiful, quiet, giving and community-oriented. And I’m thankful that I can access fresh, wholesome food when I’m hungry.
Gravitating towards the bright flavours of summertime cooking, including all of my favourite things in one hearty lunch or dinner bowl, just feels right. It’s controllable and predictable and fills me with certainty.
These two bowls, one including vibrant yellow beets, the other, roasted tomatoes, are anchored by a creamy barley salad, which exceeded my expectations in taste, texture and storability. This barley salad kept well for 4 days, staying perfectly moist, chewy and flavourful.
I’ve been experimenting with labneh (thick, drained yogurt), a recipe within a recipe I included in Whole Bowls, in myriad ways in my summer kitchen as a probiotic-packed replacement for mayonnaise. If you’re wondering how to make labneh, it’s simple: use full-fat, balkan-style (non-Greek) yogurt and strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve in the refrigerator over a bowl. The probiotic-rich whey collects in the bowl, which you can add to dressings, smoothies or drink straight-up. I used the whey in this salad, but you could just as easily use kefir.
As with all buddha bowls, make it your own, using what’s fresh and in-season in your area.
Before the recipe, one more thought: I encourage you to do something good for someone else today. This could be as simple as sending a text to a friend to say you’re thinking of them, or cooking and sharing a homemade meal with those you love. Let’s make an effort to come together – something we need to do right now more than ever.
- 4 beets (I used golden beets), greens reserved for another use (try this Golden Beet, Beet Green, Mint & Goat Cheese Frittata)
- 1 recipe Creamy Probiotic Yogurt Barley Salad, recipe here
- 1 bunch swiss chard, finely shredded, stems finely chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
- 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
- White wine vinegar, for serving
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Crunch beets up in a foil ball in a single layer, place on a baking sheet and roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes (depending on size), until tender. Cool until you can comfortable handle them, slip off peel and slice in quarters.
- Build bowls with sections of Creamy Barley salad, swiss chard, cucumbers, roasted beets and chickpeas. Top each bowl with half an egg. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, to taste, and sprinkle with salt, to taste. Serve.