A Pizza Bowl Recipe for Runners
Two years ago, my sister-in-law, whom I greatly admire, went vegan cold-turkey. (No pun intended. Well, maybe…) I had a hard time wrapping my mind around her decision and her new way of eating, but she inspired me to make small changes in my diet. This past Lent, I decided to eat 100% plant-based. It was harder than I expected, but I learned a lot.
Mostly, I learned that I had to cook pretty much everything I ate, as it was the only way to be sure. Making everything myself, I know what I’m eating, which is key to maintaining a healthy, runners diet. I relied heavily on recipes from Isa Does It! by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, particularly her “Bowl” chapter.
Even if you’re not vegan and have no desire to be, I highly recommend checking out this cookbook. Her recipes are fast, healthy, and just plain tasty.
This pizza bowl recipe has become one of my favorite dinners. It has the basic building blocks of a great recovery dinner – simple carbohydrates in the rice, iron-rich kale, and plant-based protein in the “sausage.” Leftovers make a great lunch the next day.
Pizza Bowl with Greens, Sausages and Olives
Adapted from Isa Does it! by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
For the Kale and Sausages:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
- 4 vegan sausages, homemade or store-bought, sliced into chunky half-moons (I highly recommend the Italian flavor by Field Roast. Better than the real thing, in my opinion. And no strange chemical ingredients.)
- 1 bunch kale, about 8 ounces, tough stems removed and torn into large pieces (I have really come to like kale, and so I use two large bunches of the Lacinato, or dinosaur, kale. I’ve also made this recipe with spinach, and it is just as tasty.)
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for least 2 hours (or, if you forget, boil them for 15 minutes, and let them sit in the water while you prepare everything else)
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 roasted red pepper (homemade, or store-bought)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups cooked brown rice (I have a rice cooker and cook the rice while doing my evening workout.)
- 1/2 cup black olives (She recommends high-quality; I use canned.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (I usually omit due to laziness.)
- Crushed red pepper flakes
I like to Prepare the Sauce First:
Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender and puree until completely smooth. Depending on your blender, this can take anywhere from 1 to minutes. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you get everything.
Taste for salt and lemoniness.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. (I just stick my blender container in the fridge.) It may thicken as it chills, so feel free to thin out with a little water if needed.
Now Prepare Sausages and Kale:
Preheat a large skillet over low heat and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sautee the sliced garlic cloves until just lightly browned, which should take about a minute. Transfer garlic to a plate.
Turn up the heat to medium. Add 2 more teaspoons of olive oil. Sautee the red onion along with a pinch of salt. When the onion is translucent, add the sausages and 2 more teaspoons of olive oil. Lightly brown the sausages.
Now add the kale and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. You’ll need to add the kale in batches most likely, so toss it in by the handful, letting it cook down for 2 minutes or so before adding the next handful. (Add a splash of water to the pan if anything starts to stick.) Once all the kale has been added and cooked down, add the garlic back in.
Scoop rice into bowls. Top with kale and sausages. Drizzle with a generous amount of sauce. Top with olives and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!