It’s no shocker I’m a fan of the Better Food For All mantra created by the collab between Jamie Oliver and Sobeys. Remember that Food Revolution Day potluck project I participated in last year? Let me refresh your memory here and here. I was also fortunate enough to get flown to Toronto this past November to participate in a cooking challenge along with fellow food bloggers and Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassadors. Though my team’s dish didn’t win the challenge, it was an amazing opportunity to see the work Sobeys has been doing, taste new product, and connect with others passionate about their food. I was treated like a complete VIP which doesn’t happen often in my life. I will forever be grateful. I had meant to recreate our orange rosemary glazed pork tenderloin with orange beurre blanc on the blog but then two weeks later something rather life changing happened; a baby was on the way. With the morning sickness – or rather a good dose of acid reflux controlling my life – the blog was put on hold.
But now well into second trimester, I’m feeling great save for some heartburn and the occasional headache. After being forced to eat small meals every two hours, I’m relieved to finally be back to eating normal. But normal in pregnancy? Well, people have a lot of opinions concerning that. The countless pregnancy books and sites preach very healthy eating while everyone else tells you to eat whatever you want. “You have an excuse- you’re pregnant!” For me, it’ all about a balanced diet especially now with a baby onboard. You see, I’m challenged with genes working against me, genes that won’t hesitate to help me pack on the pounds if I start eating nothing but processed junk. And though I’d love to say I’ve got the exercise thing down, I’d be lying. While I never deny myself that piece of dark chocolate or slice of pizza nor do I believe in cheat days, I’m not about to start giving in to every little craving. Because, let’s be honest, no pregnant lady craves salad! It’s all about the balance – ice cream, kale and all. That’s what healthy means to me.
So, I gladly jumped at the chance to participate in the newest Culinary Cravings Challenge to discover Canada’s favourite healthy restaurant dishes. All too often we think eating out is ‘bad’ so I was excited to help change that perception. Though I have my favourites, I took to social media to find out your go-to healthy menu items. With so much confusion around the word healthy these days, I expected noting but a slew of salads. I’m happy to report I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of responses. It seems my East Coast followers get it. There was pan fried haddock, tofu bulgogi tacos, a Greek souvlaki plate, an egg-filled sweet potato breakfast muffin, dolsot bibimbap and so much more. But the stand out favourite mentioned repeatedly was enVie A Vegan Kitchen. Since their opening, they’ve been taking the city by storm, challenging what you thought you knew about vegan food. Since my readers are certainly not all vegan, it really speaks to how they’ve successfully sparked a conversation about health. Now I’m not saying a vegan diet is inherently healthy (the vegans in my tree planting camps ate nothing but french fries!) but with a menu full of balanced options, the folks at enVie are doing it right.
While fans mentioned the kale caesar salad, risotto cakes, and pulled jackfruit burrito, it was the Energy Bowl (pictured above) that stood out. Ginger turmeric rice, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, seasonal veg, steamed greens and your choice of Moroccan peanut, sesame Buddha or apple cider tumeric sauce, the Energy Bowl is a one bowl powerhouse of protein, complex carbs, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Breakfast lunch or dinner, it’s your one stop shop for all your nutritional needs.
I simply had to try the dish fans raved about so a friend and I headed for a weekend lunch at enVie. (We may also have been there to partake in their genius vegan rendition of the Big Mac for Halifax Burger Week. Talk about delicious.) Packed full of flavour, no wonder people were in love with the Energy Bowl. Once again, it proves that healthy in no way means tasteless. I couldn’t have been more excited to recreate this one bowl wonder at home so it was off to Sobeys to gather the ingredients.
The great thing about this dish isn’t how easy it is or even how healthy. Rather, it’s how customizable it is. Brown rice can be swapped out for virtually any grain. The choice of vegetables is up to you but for the most nutrition stick with deep orange and dark green. Even the method of cooking the vegetables can vary – steaming, roasting, sautéing, and grilling. Protein can come not only from chickpeas, but also tofu, seiten, seafood, fish or even your favourite meat. Plus the choice of sauce can change the bowl entirely. I’m thinking sauces with Mexican, Indian or Korean influences would be perfect. It’s also the best use of leftovers imaginable. Turn last night’s rice or steamed vegetables into a whole new meal with a few simple steps.
While it may seem lengthy, this recipe is mad easy but will change depending on what seasonal vegetables and grain you choose. And if you’re using leftovers, you can have a healthy, flavourful meal in mere minutes. I opted for brussel sprouts since we seem to be stuck in Winter here on the East Coast but anything goes. In addition, radishes come in all forms so if you have a fancy spiralizer like enVie, go with daikon noodles. Otherwise, any thinly sliced radish will add a nice crunch. Also, that gorgeous green and pink seaweed used by enVie is Hana Tsunomata from local producer Acadian Seaplants Ltd. If you have access to seaweed, throw it on there for an added nutrient boost. I imagine toasted nori available at any Sobeys would also be great.
Whether feasting at enVie or cooking it up at home, the energy bowl with sesame tahini sauce is as healthy as it is delicious. Now that’s Better Food For All.
- 1 small sweet potato, cubed
- 2 cup brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
- olive oil, as needed
- 2 cup thinly sliced kale
- 2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- optional ingredients, kelp, toasted seaweed
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cup water*
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 4+ tbsp. hot water
- 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauce the onion and celery until tsoft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; cook another minute. Add the turmeric and cook another 30 seconds. Add the rice. Toast the rice while stirring 1-2 minutes. Add the water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Timing will depend on the package instructions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Do the same with the brussel sprouts. Roast the sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet until tender, about 20-25 minutes. On a separate baking sheet, roast the brussel sprouts about 15-20 minutes until browned but still fork tender.
- For the kale, heat a skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add the kale and a splash of water. Cover and steam until wilted but tender. If desired, add a squeeze of lemon. Heat the chickpeas by quickly sautéing them in the skillet.
- For the sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, simply whisk until combined. Add water until sauce is desired consistency.
- *Short or long grain brown rice may vary in the liquid to rice ratio. Follow the package directions of the specific rice you are using.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Sobeys or their media partners. Sobeys has not reviewed these claims and is not responsible for the content.