I’ll be the first to admit: sometimes my recipe motivations lie (initially) in the aesthetic realm. We eat with our eyes first, right?
Of course, we all know that flavor is what really matters in the end. My generation in particular is very invested in how food appears on social media. If it’s not on the ‘gram, did you even eat it? To be honest, sometimes this bothers me (to avoid hypocrisy, as a food blogger I am 100% guilty). It would be nice if we could just enjoy our meals without letting them grow cold while finding “just the right shot,” wouldn’t it? Safe to say our grandparents did not search for perfect natural lighting while leaning above their smoothie bowls and kale salads, iPhones in hand.
Some of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed were not at all “Insta-worthy.” But they were delicious and satisfying and eaten with people I love. What really matters is that you’re enjoying your food and taking time to savor its flavors + textures. When a meal tastes incredible but also looks beautiful, that’s an added bonus!
There’s my not-so-smooth transition into today’s recipe: poke-inspired bowls! But of course, since this is a plant-based blog, no tuna or octopus in site. We’re using BEETS, baby!
Have you ever tried poke (pronounced “poh-kay”)? If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a traditional Hawaiian raw fish salad that can be served as an appetizer or main course. It’s pretty trendy at the moment, with plenty of fast casual chains offering their own iterations. There is even a poke food truck in my neighborhood! Personally, raw fish is not my jam. So when I saw a vegan variation on My New Roots, I knew I wanted to try it out for myself.
While this recipe list looks long, I promise it comes together quickly. Quinoa and edamame provide plant protein, while a creamy avocado spread and crunchy sesame seeds lend healthy fat. For a poke that looks most authentic, I recommend using the lighter pink Chioggia (candy-striped beets), as opposed to traditional dark purple/red we most often see. Any kind will work though.
If you’re someone who thinks beets taste like dirt (been there, ugh), trust me that the ginger marinade used here is a game changer. No earthiness whatsoever!
This recipe makes about four servings. I hope you enjoy these poke-inspired bowls! They’d make an easy packed lunch for during the week, full of plant nutrients. Don’t forget to post on Insta before you dig in 😜
- 4 Chioggia beets, scrubbed
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups cooked edamame (I buy frozen and reheat)
- 2 carrots, sliced or peeled into ribbons
- 1 cups cooked grain of choice (I used quinoa, but brown rice/millet/farro would all work)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tsp lemon or lime juice
- Sea salt, to taste
- 2 TBS sesame seeds
- Cilantro or green onions to garnish (optional)
- Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap each beet in foil and roast for about 40 minutes. During this time, you can cook your grains. If using quinoa, add with 2 cups water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork .
- When beets are done roasting, remove from oven and let cool completely. To make your marinade, add lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, and sea salt to a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Once beets are cool, run each under cold water and remove skin (it should slip off in your fingers). Cut into cubes and toss in prepared marinade. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
- For avocado spread, food process avocado with lime juice and sea salt until smooth.
- Assemble with beets, edamame, carrots, quinoa, and avocado spread. Sprinkle each bowl with 1/2 TBS sesame seeds, cilantro, and green onions. Enjoy!