I know what you're thinking.
This is not the most appealing food photo you have ever seen. Black, orange, and green are not automatically what comes to mind when you think of something you want to put your fork into.
BUT, hear me out, because these rice bowls are delicious, and they have all.the.healthy.things.
Black rice (antioxidants), butternut squash (vitamins), chickpeas (protein & fiber), spinach (iron), and tahini (healthy omega-3 fatty acids).
If you're still thinking this sounds healthy but is not necessarily something you're dying to eat for dinner, let me just make one last pitch and say that the tahini/lemon/garlic sauce binds everything together into one comforting, filling, yummy dish.
I needed this comforting rice bowl today because it has been one of those weeks.
One of those weeks when you feel like nothing you're doing is ever enough. When I get stressed and have a lot of work to do, I tend to eat not-so-healthy things, which sends me into a further spiral of feeling bad about myself in general, which culminates in a big angry stress ball of angst. No good.
Thus, I'm making a concerted effort during the next month to make big batches of healthy, comforting foods that will fill me up without leaving me feeling gross. These rice bowls fit the bill perfectly.
I'm also super thankful to have the best man around to keep me grounded and happy. My angsty stress-filled moments usually happen when he's gone.
He was in Charlotte this week working and had received some pretty pitiful texts from me. Without telling me, he left work four hours early on Thursday and picked up pad thai from our favorite Thai place to surprise me when I got home.
Then I fell asleep on his chest and left a big drool spot on his shirt.
I'm a lucky girl.
Hope you have a lovely evening, friends.
On a side note, after ranting about vegan recipes last week, I realized I do have several vegan recipes on the blog, including this one!)
Rice Bowls with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, Spinach & Tahini
1 cup cooked rice (brown rice, black rice, or wild rice would be good!)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced; divided
1/2 tsp allspice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt & pepper
1 15 ounce can chickpeas
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cups fresh spinach
For the sauce:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Prepare rice according to package directions. (can be made more flavorful with vegetable or chicken stock)
Preheat oven to 425.
Arrange butternut squash on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon garlic, allspice, and salt & pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and use your hand to coat the piece evenly with oil and spices.
Roast for 20 minutes or until slightly browned and soft, stirring halfway through to prevent burning.
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tahini, water, and olive oil. Set aside
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add diced onions and cook for 5 minutes or so until slightly translucent. Add chickpeas and cook for 5 additional minutes. Add squash and spinach, cooking just until spinach is just wilted. Pour in tahini sauce and heat until warm.
Serve over rice and top with fresh parsley.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's warm butternut squash and chickpea salad.