Vegan Grain Bowls With Mediterranean Chimichurri

vegan grain bowl with chimichurri

Molly Cleary

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

Calories 576
Fat 26g
Carbs 72g
Protein 15g
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 576
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 712mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 13g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 15g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 91mg 7%
Iron 9mg 50%
Potassium 389mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Total Time 45 min
Prep 25 min, Cook 20 min
Servings 4

Chimichurri is a raw herb sauce that originates in South America. It is traditionally made of cilantro, parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and red wine vinegar. This version replaces the cilantro with basil for a Mediterranean twist.

Chimichurri is full of heart-healthy fats from the olive oil, as well as micronutrients from garlic and herbs. Garlic even has potential health benefits including improved blood pressure, enhanced immunity, and lowering risk of heart disease. The other ingredients in this bowl have their fair share of perks as well.

This recipe is entirely plant-based, a diet pattern that has been shown time and time again to lower body mass index, blood pressure, average blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 1 can of low sodium chickpeas
  • 12 ounces jar of roasted red peppers, or about 8 oz drained
  • Half of a 12-ounce jar of artichoke hearts (about 4 oz or 2/3 cup drained)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Preparation

1. Chop zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and pepper, and roast at 400F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

2. Add chimichurri ingredients to a small blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the orzo and cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Drain in a colander. Put back into the pot and mix well with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the chimichurri sauce to prevent it from sticking.

4. Drain and rinse chickpeas.

5. Fill bowls with orzo, chickpeas, zucchini, red peppers, and artichoke hearts. Drizzle liberally with chimichurri (about ¼ cup per bowl). Top with pine nuts.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Quinoa makes a great substitute for orzo for a higher protein and gluten-free grain option.

Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds make a good substitute for pine nuts if you have a nut allergy, or if pine nuts are too expensive.

Feta cheese or vegan cheese also tastes great as a topping.​

Cooking and Serving Tips

Keep in mind that this recipe makes about 1.5 cups of chimichurri, so you will likely have about a cup left. This can be used as salad dressing or frozen for later use.

If you cannot find roasted red peppers in a jar, then you can roast your own. Preheat oven to 500F. Place whole peppers on a sheet pan and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the peppers are wrinkled and charred.

Turn 1 to 2 times during roasting. Remove the pan from the oven and cover with foil while the peppers cook. Once cool, remove the stem, seeds, and peels from the peppers.

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