One thing that really irritates me about places that specialize in vegan fare – especially the fancier places – is a seeming lack of attention to basic culinary principles like flavor and creativity. Often, the fact that the dish is “vegan” or “healthy” or contains a trendy ingredient (kale, quinoa, etc.) seems to be its sole reason for appearing on the menu and being served (at a ridiculous price point) to customers. I don’t know – maybe I’m just not visiting the right places. But I’m always left confused as to why these lackluster dishes are being served to paying customers, and saddened that the potential to put out something exceptional was missed.
Because, don’t get me wrong: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the concept of a vegan bowl, and there’s a reason why it’s trending: the potential for an exceptional creation is very much there. More than any other dish, a bowl provides the opportunity to put together components that are delicious on their own and use these parts to create a veritable symphony of flavors, textures, and colors. Plus, you get to add a sauce!
Take this vegan winter bowl, for example. We’ve got a flavorful, sweet & salty sesame cabbage, some deep & meaty oyster mushrooms, and a splash of bright quick-pickled daikon all tossed together with quinoa and a creamy garlic sauce that will leave you scraping the blender to get every last drop! So why are so many places missing the boat? I’m not sure. But when it comes to bowls, I prefer to make them myself and I recommend that you do too!
Bonus: You can make any or all of the components ahead of time and make your bowl when you are ready to enjoy, or you can even assemble the bowls within tupperware containers for ready-made, transportable lunches.