It officially feels like Fall in Santa Cruz. The mornings are chilly and I turned the heat on in the evenings for the first time since Spring. The weather calls for hearty soups and stews, celebrating the flavors of the season. Instead I chose this recipe to share, mainly because I had made a soup earlier in the week (white bean and kale) that the boyfriend and I have been living on since then and I cannot possibly swallow another bowl of hearty goodness. Secondly, because I’m picking up a sample of organic root veggies I want to showcase next week. Oh, and I got not one, not two, but THREE high fives during dinner. This kind of enthusiasm over a simple healthy dish, keeps a smile on my face. I was inspired by my favorite, go-to food blog http://www.smittenkitchen.com

For the Bowl
1 cup dried rice or another cooking grain of your choice
1 package pre-cubed butternut squash
2 broccoli crowns
8-10 white mushrooms (sliced)
1 small package firm tofu
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt (I like the pink Himala Salt)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

For the miso-ginger dressing
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 small garlic gloves, minced
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot pepper sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oilPhoto Nov 06, 7 22 28 PM

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook grain according to instructions. I like to use Better than Buillon and a tiny bit of butter.

Cut broccoli into bite size florets. Slice mushrooms. Cut tofu into bite size pieces as well. (my mother will still tell me to cut something into bite size pieces, when I’m being her sous chef, I think it’s a pretty accurate and obvious description of how food should be cut)

Coat one baking tray with a thin slick of olive oil, I cover mine with aluminum foil. Layer sweet potatoes on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until slightly bubbly and the aroma is filling the room. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli, tofu and mushrooms to the tray, season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is fully bronzed and tender. Toss chunks around one more time if it looks like they’re cooking unevenly.

In a small skillet, toast black and white sesame seeds until fragrant. I love sesame seeds. I also love poppy seeds. I love the added texture.

While vegetables roast, prepare sesame-miso dressing: Combine everything in a blender and run until smooth.

Scoop rice in each bowl, top with veggies, dressing and sesame seeds. Keep the extra dressing handy in a bowl at the table.

Photo Nov 05, 5 22 42 PM

Photo Nov 06, 6 38 25 PM

I’m a cucumber freak, I put cucumbers in everything I can, including my guacamole and my cocktails. So, I served the Miso Bowls with sliced cucumber and baby carrots like my mom probably packed in my school lunches. While not entirely sophisticated, it rounded out the meal for us, and provided a way for the boyfriend to consume more ginger laden miso sauce by dipping the veggies in the leftovers.