This mesquite cauliflower and lentil bowl is a dish that is delicious, and planet-friendly!
You’re probably like me, in the sense that you are trying to live your best life possible. Maybe this effort includes giving back to the community by being physically active, and trying to eat as healthy as possible-on top of every other responsibility you may have.
What about this planet? Where does being a good environmental steward come into play with you trying to live out your best life? What steps are you making in order to make sure that your actions, and decisions have a good impact on the Earth, and everyone else who lives here? Then the effort of living your best life shifts to living our best life.
A Global Perspective
Let’s take a step back and think globally, for a second. According to a 2017 study conducted by the United Nations, by the year 2050, Planet Earth’s population will surpass 9.8 billion inhabitants-all fighting for the same diminishing resources. Trying to live your best life, while also trying to live healthily and being a mindful steward to our ever-crowding planet may not only seem heavy, but can also become an extremely overwhelming effort.
What if I told you can take the first step of living an equally healthy and sustainable life by choosing what and how you eat? It’s definitely a great place to begin. While attempting to adopt such a golden diet may seem daunting, there is one team of scientists and researchers which may have one solution to this dilemma. In 2019, The EAT Lancet Commission was formed as an effort to address this dichotomy. The EAT-Lancet Commission comprised of over 37 leading scientists and researchers from over 16 countries who work in the arenas of agriculture. Human health, environmental science and political science who worked together to develop scientifically-backed global targets for healthy diets and a sustainable food production system (“Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission”, 2019).
A Planetary Health Plate
So what and how does the EAT-Lancet Commission reccomend we eat? The Commission developed a planetary health plate that consists of roughly half a plate of fruits and vegetables. The Other half of this plate would primarily consist of whole grains (such as rice and barley), plant-sourced protein, and unsaturated plant oils (such as olive and sesame). The Planetary includes minimal consumption of animal-based foods (such as meat, dairy, and eggs), sugars, and even includes a significant limitation of starchy vegetables and (“Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission”, 2019).
Ever since I found out about the Planetary Health Plate, I have been intrigued. I definitely fall within the camp of folks who is trying my best to eat in a healthy manner while also being environmentally conscientious. I wanted to accept the challenge of eating in a way that complies with the principles of the EAT Lancet Commission, as best as I could. With that being said, I bring you my first Planetary Health Plate Dish-or should I say bowl, in this case?
An Earth-Friendly Meal?
With this, I bring to you a very delicious and hearty Mesquite Cauliflower and Lentil bowl. This delicious bowl has a very rich set of flavors, which combine the natural meatiness of Lentils, with the versatility of rice. The roasted cauliflower with the homemade mesquite marinade gives this dish a burst of subtle smoke and heat-packed flavor. The incorporation of onion, garlic and generous amounts of kale help to ensure that at least half of this bowl comprised of vegetables-a recommendation of the Planetary health plate guideline. I will admit that while the guidelines recommend a minimal amount of starchy vegetables, I did incorporate a small sweet potato into my recipe, since I wanted to clean out my fridge in the process-therefore, reducing food waste. The incorporation of the sweet potato is entirely up to you! All in all, this dish took about 40 minutes to prepare, excluding the time you are preheating your oven. This may seem like a long time, but the dish was actually simple to prepare, since most of these ingredients cooked themselves, with minimal effort to watch over.
Ready to get cookin’?! Let’s move onto the recipe!
Mesquite Cauliflower and Lentil Bowl
- 1 cup Black rice (*or whatever other rice you have)
- 2 cups water
Roasted Mesquite Cauliflower
- 1 cauliflower large
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup lentils uncooked
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 4 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 cups kale or spinach
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 sweet potato diced (optional ingredient)
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- First, before moving forward withany other step, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking the Rice
- [Method 1: Rice Cooker] Load the rice cooker with the rice and water, press the startbutton, cover, and allow for the rice to cook for about 25-35 minutes, or untilthe cooker indicated that the rice has finished cooking. Afterwards, fluff withfork.
- [Method 2: Stovetop] in a medium pot, combine the rice and water, and heat onmedium-high and allow to boil. Once the rice reaches a rolling boil, reduce theheat to low, cover, and allow to cook for 25-35 minutes or until you see thatall of the water has evaporated. Afterwards, fluff with fork.
Whilewaiting for the rice to cook, begin preparing the roasted cauliflower:
- Coarselydice cauliflower into pieces that are roughly 2”-3” in size. Place in anoven-safe casserole dish, and set aside.
- Makingthe mesquite marinade: In a bowl, combine the maple syrup, the chili powder,smoked paprika, oil, and salt until well-combined.
- Gently pour over the mesquite marinade over the cauliflower pieces, and gentlymix marinade with your hands until each piece of cauliflower is well-coated.
- Placein center rack of oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, take out of theoven, flip each piece over, and place in the oven again for 15-20 minutes, oruntil each piece of cauliflower has lightly caramelized.
Whilewaiting for cauliflower and rice to finish cooking, begin preparing lentilstew.
- In a fine mesh, rinse out lentils, until small rocks and debris have been removed.
- In a medium pot, add the cooking oil, and let it heat up for about 10-30 secondson medium-high. Gradually, add in the onions and garlic and sauté for about 3minutes, or until the onions become translucent. At that point, add thelentils, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, turmeric, salt and sweet potato andallow to heat up until boiling. Once you see that the stew begins to boil,reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and allow the lentil stew to cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils have absorbed the broth. During the last 10minutes of the lentils simmering, mix in the kale, and cover again.
- Addeach of these elements into a bowl or plate of your choice, and enjoy!
Nutrition information per serving:
407 calories/ 9.5 grams protein/ 11 grams fat/ 71 grams carbohydrates/ 7.5 grams of fiber
Willet, W., & Rockström, J. (2019). Summary Report of the Eat-Lancet Commission. Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission. EAT; Wellcome Trust. Retrieved from https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/07/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf
World population projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100 | UN DESA Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2019, from https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2017.html.