They’re not just for soup anymore: there’s something about eating from a bowl that makes any meal more fun. From smoothies to soba noodles, we feel like a kid every time we ditch plates and cups and go for the bowls (maybe it’s the idea that we can throw pretty much anything together, tack “bowl” onto the title, and deem it a culinary masterpiece). The Sprouted Kitchen, the food blog we love to stalk on Instagram and beyond, has taken our bowl obsession to another level with their new cookbook, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon – a collection of simple, healthy meals the way we all love to eat them: in a bowl. Invite a couple of friends over to the house for a pre-summer gathering and whip up this well-balanced, nutrient-dense quinoa bowl recipe for the crowd. No plates allowed.
In the summer, I try not to spend as much time in the kitchen prepping; I lean toward meals that are quick and light. The goal is to make a few things in bulk that will keep for a few days and that I can throw together for easy meals. This salad packs up well for beach days or picnics, and is just as great with a couple of fried eggs on top for brunch. The simplicity beckons you to use fresh summer corn and tomatoes. While it’s a simple crowd-pleasing (vegetarian, gluten-free) dish for dinner al fresco with friends, the fact that both the quinoa and kale can hold up dressed for a few days make it a lovely dish to keep on hand for quick meals.
I use a 1 to 1.5 ratio of quinoa to water here because I like it on the al dente side for salads. This leaves you with individual grains as opposed to mush. If you find yours in need of a bit more liquid, just add a couple more tablespoons. I bake the tomatoes to hover somewhere between oven-dried and fresh. I like the bits of juice and also the concentrated sweetness that the oven imparts to these summer gems. Leave them raw if you’re in a hurry, but baked, they make the salad special if you have the time.
Bowl + Spoon’s Summer Quinoa Salad
For the salad:
½ cup quinoa (or 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa)
¾ cup of water or broth
¾ pound cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1¼ cup corn kernels, from 2 small ears of corn
2½ cups stemmed and finely chopped kale
¾ cup chopped cilantro
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese
For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup buttermilk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Rinse and drain the quinoa. Put it in a pot with the water. Bring it to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff it with a fork, turn off the heat, set the cover ajar, and set aside to cool completely.
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. Halve the tomatoes and spread them on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on ½ tablespoon of the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss everything to coat. Spread the tomatoes in an even layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until slightly dried at the edges. Remove to cool.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and sauté, only stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes to just char the outside. Set aside to cool. Both of these steps may be done 1 day in advance.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, kale, and cilantro. When the tomatoes and corn are completely cool, add them along with the pine nuts and cheese to the bowl.
For the dressing, in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, pulse or smash the garlic cloves. Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, buttermilk, and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything to combine.
Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing. This salad will keep, covered, in the fridge for 3 days.