Whether you’re scraping snow off the sidewalk or sliding into some sandals, “bowls” (as they’re simply albeit rather nebulously called) are an ideal mealtime solution. As the modern day reference for what is essentially just “delicious hodgepodge,” bowls usually contain a balance of ingredients that cover all your macronutrient needs, while working in some feel-good veggies too, and likely unified with a flavorfully-motivating dressing. They’re as flexible as a recipe gets: with your take-out leftovers coexisting happily with the freshest-of-fresh seasonal specialties you picked up at the market, and they can be enjoyed just as much for dinner as they can be for breakfast.
So with the temperatures still in the low end of the spectrum for most of us, we’ve cooked up a bowl that serves as an internal heater to help you stay warm, prioritizing winter produce and comforting clean ingredients. With its base of barley, cooked squash, baked tofu, kale, and a little bit of sweet fruit, it’s a winning combination by any stretch, but it goes without saying, don’t be afraid to put your own twist on the dish, too. After all, personalization is basically “the bowl way.”
Warming Winter Bowl
Soft squash, chewy barley, and sweet dried mulberries are just a few of the components that make this warming bowl so crave-worthy. If delicata squash is unavailable, try substituting sweet potato that’s been peeled and cut into ½-inch dice.
Makes 4 servings
pearl barley1 cup
3 cups water
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 small delicata squash, halved, deseeded, thinly sliced
Sea salt and ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small sweet apple, thinly sliced
½ bunch Lacinto kale
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
7 ounces baked tofu, cut into 1-inch dice, or dried cranberriesdried mulberries1/3 cup
¼ cup pepitas
In a medium sauce-pot, combine the barley and water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook until chewy and tender, about 45-60 minutes. If any water remains at the end of cooking, drain it away. Cover the barley to keep warm.
While the barley is cooking, preheat the oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 mins, turning once, or until squash is very soft.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over low heat. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized – about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the balsamic vinegar, apples, kale, red chili flakes and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes longer, or until the kale turns bright green and has begun to wilt. Add the barley, tofu, mulberries, pepitas, and cooked squash, and cook until just warmed through. Transfer to bowls and serve.