Brown rice bowl with roasted cauliflower & hummus. This flavor-packed bowl was inspired by Najib’s Special at Nuba in Vancouver, Canada.
It’s a hearty meal in one bowl with a mixture of tastes & textures in every bite. It’s finished with a drizzle of lemon tahini dressing. Vegan & gluten free optional. (To make it gluten-free, just leave off the pita.)
Vacations are often a time for indulgence.
Meals are finished with a slice of Snickers pie and vegan donuts at breakfast.
Vegan cheesecake has been known to make more than one appearance.
And yet, sometimes the stars that come out of a vacation are humbler in nature. Sometimes it’s the way that a restaurant combines ingredients. Or how they find a way to elevate simple food into something even better.
My favorite meal of the trip was at Nuba, a Lebanese restaurant chain. It’s not a vegan restaurant, but they have lots of plant-based offerings.
Heading into the trip, it seemed that whenever I asked anyone where I needed to eat in Vancouver, Nuba was always high on the list.
I can see why. After dining there just once, I have been thinking about my lunch ever since.
The plate was filled with olives, pickled vegetables, hummus, an herby hot sauce, tahini sauce, and lemony roasted cauliflower.
It’s food that on the face of it doesn’t sound complicated. And yet, they took what’s inherently delicious about vegetables and turned it up a notch. It was positively dreamy.
I realized recently that this isn’t the first time that roasted cauliflower has made me swoon on a vacation.
It’s a vegan Israeli restaurant with an outstanding roasted cauliflower bowl with tahini sauce.
Clearly, my tongue is trying to tell me something. I need more roasted cauliflower in my life.
As my Instagram feed proves, since that Vancouver trip, I’ve been making lemony roasted cauliflower on the regular.
Earlier this week, I posted the easy roasted cauliflower recipe I’ve been making. (It can be cooked in the air fryer or oven!)
Today I want to share how I’ve been putting it together into one satiating brown rice bowl.
When you load a brown rice bowl with a hearty mixture of flavors and textures, it means that every bite is a little different.
You can have a bite of briny Castelvetrano olive with your spinach salad.
Lemon tahini sauce can co-mingle with roasted cauliflower.
You can use a pita to scoop some of that hummus & roasted cauliflower together to add a garlicky edge.
Or mix the hummus with brown rice underneath it for some extra creaminess.
This brown rice bowl is filled with:
- Lemony roasted cauliflower
- Homemade hummus
- Spinach salad with tomatoes and onions
- Lemon tahini dressing
- Castelvetrano olives
- Brown rice
- Pita bread
Make it your own by adding any or all of the following:
- Air fryer eggplant dip (a.k.a. baba ganoush)
- Stuffed grape leaves (a.k.a. dolmas)
- Grilled artichoke hearts from a jar (One of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products)
- Roasted chickpeas cooked in the oven or air fryer
- Chickpea salad with lemon & shallots
- Garlicky turnip pickles
- Or elevate your olives by serving them as warmed Castelvetrano olives
It’s like a highlight reel of some of my all-time favorite foods.
This brown rice bowl also makes a great packed lunch option. Just keep the rice & roasted cauliflower separate, so that you can warm them before serving with the remaining ingredients.
Also, keep in mind that there’s plenty of room for shortcuts here by using frozen brown rice and store-bought hummus, as opposed to homemade.
One of the best parts of travel is the way it inspires. The trip itself may only be a few days long, but the good times you had & memories that linger, have a ripple effect.
Making food that’s inspired by a trip transports you there all over again. It is like a photo album… that you get to eat.
Brown rice bowl with roasted cauliflower & hummus
For lemon tahini dressing
- 2 Tablespoons tahini
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Pinch salt
To make lemon tahini dressing
- In a small bowl, combine tahini, 2 Tablespoons water, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt with a fork until completely combined and creamy. If it's too thick, slowly add the additional Tablespoon of water until you've reached a creamy but pourable consistency. Taste and add additional teaspoon of lemon juice, if preferred.
To make brown rice bowls
- Put a 1/2 cup of brown rice into four bowls. Add a spoonful of roasted cauliflower & hummus into each one.
- Put 1/2 cup of baby spinach into each bowl. Top each mound of spinach with a teaspoon of diced onions & a couple wedges of tomato.
- Add 4 Castelvetrano olives, a few grapes & a couple lemon slices to each bowl. Guests can squeeze this extra lemon onto their salads or cauliflower, if they desire.
- Drizzle lemon tahini dressing onto the spinach salads and roasted cauliflower.
- Serve the bowls with warmed mini pita.