Review: Bowls! by Becky Striepe

Cover for Becky Striepe's Bowls!

I firmly believe that everything tastes better in a bowl. So when Bowls! by Becky Striepe came across my path to review, how could I resist an e-book with the tagline “mix-and-match recipes to fill your favourite vessel”?

Jazz Hands Up!

Becky’s inspiration for this cookbook is her own evolution of the mighty bowl. Her journey began with a quest to jazz up mashed potatoes. With that desire, the book begins with the building blocks of a filling bowl: A bottom layer of potatoes, grain, pasta, or salad, a middle layer of veggies, a top layer of protein, and a “tippy top” layer of all the jazz hands and sparkles that you could want. With this structure, Becky presents us with bowls for Breakfast and Brunch, Lunch and Supper, Soups and Stews, and Sauces. Many recipes incorporate one or more components for other recipes, making batch cooking a breeze for different meals every day.

With the building blocks in mind, I built many bowls mixing-and-matching my way through the book. One such compilation that stood out was the Tofu Rancheros Breakfast Bowl, made with the Tofu Veggie Scramble, Chipotle Black Beans, and Salsa Fresca. Separately, the Tofu Scramble was a solid rendition, nicely spiced and balanced. More veggie heavy than others you may find, the tofu-veggie combo was almost like a scrambled frittata, with perfect ratios of turmeric and nutritional yeast. The Chipotle Black Beans were your basic black bean, cumin, onion, garlic, and lime juice mixture, which when batch cooked were also used in the Burrito Bowl. Nothing fancy, just simple, solid food. The Salsa Fresca was a bright combo of tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, and onion, which would be delicious on almost anything. All these elements dumped on top of my base layer of choice (greens and cabbage) acted like an orchestrated music score: fine on their own, but in digital surround sound together. Definitely a case where the sum is greater than its parts, this bowl was warm and comforting with just the right amount of spice and pizazz.

The Peanut Butter Tofu Bowl was another case where the sum was greater than its parts. The simple Ginger-Sesame Kale sauté not only described the dish to a T, but married wonderfully with a simple Thai-inspired Peanut Butter Sauce. When combined with creamy soft tofu these individual parts made the whole bowl a decadent Tuesday meal. This bowl especially has been riffed on in subsequent meals – such simple base recipes that can be modified to my fridge and pantry in a snap, guaranteed for a lickable bowl.

Deviating from my bowl building, I also made some stand-alone bowl dishes. By far, my favourite was the Roasted Veggie Bowl with Tahini-Miso Sauce. Always a sucker for the Tahini-Miso combination, I loved the sauce poured over the fall vegetables. A bounty of carrots, leeks, broccoli, beets, and garlic were roasted with some sage and apple cider vinegar, served on top of quinoa. Flavourful before the sauce, the simple dressing added the right amount of creamy, nutty, umami to the dish. The fall bounty was done justice with this recipe, and the leftovers were just as tasty as the first round.

End the Pantry Staring Contest

As mentioned, many of these recipes are used as building blocks for your own creations or as parts of Becky’s own creations. All use pantry staples, which results in a quick no-excuse cooked dinner even on the busiest of weeknights. Fresh, vibrant, and versatile, this e-book is one that I will turn to in Tuesday night dilemmas while staring at the pantry.

Becky has generously let me share a recipe for you, and at the request of my co-worker who continually drooled over the Roasted Veggie Bowl with Tahini-Miso Sauce, I give you the very recipe. Mix and match vegetables to suit your tastes (a later version of cauliflower was just as successful) and enjoy the wonderful vessels that are Bowls!

For more information on Annie and her books, please visit her website.

Along with the recipe, Annie has also provided a discount code to get 15% off your order through her site. Simply use “holidaybowls” during the check-out process!

Reviewed by Katie Hay
When Katie isn’t exploring new cuisines and challenging food conceptions in the kitchen, she can be found at farmer’s markets, building and designing bicycles, and planning her next life adventure.

Roasted Veggie Bowl with Tahin-Miso Sauce

Ingredients for 3-4 servings

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup carrots, cut into 1” pieces
2 leeks, green and white parts, chopped into 1” pieces
1 medium beet, chopped into 1” pieces
2 cups broccoli florets
6 cloves of garlic, whole
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 cup Tahini-Miso Sauce

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Mix everything together except for the quinoa and the Tahini- Miso Sauce in a 9×12” glass pan. Stick it into the oven for 30 minutes, then take it out and give it a good stir.
  3. Bake for 15 more minutes, stir, and stick the pan back into the oven again for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan again (I know!), stir, and stick the whole shebang back into the oven for 15 more minutes.
  5. Divide the quinoa between four bowls, pile on your roasted veggies, and stir 1-2 tablespoons of Tahini-Miso Sauce into each one.

Tahini-Miso Sauce

Ingredients for 4 servings

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup red or brown miso

juice of 1 fresh lemon

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
water, as needed

Cooking Directions

  1. Mix the first 4 ingredients until the sauce gets nice and smooth.
  2. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time to reach your desired consistency. How much water you need depends on the type of sauce you prefer. You may want it at peanut butter-thickness for stirring into roasted veggies, or you can add more water for a pourable sauce or salad dressing.

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