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Immune System Recovery Plan Recipe: Buddha Rice Bowl with Tahini Dressing

Brown rice bowl recipe from The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan BlumBecause this delicious dish is gluten, corn, soy, and dairy free, it’s calming to your immune system, says Susan Blum, M.D. in The Immune System Recovery Plan. It’s also perfect for a Meatless Monday, healthy weeknight dinner, or filling meal made of veggie leftovers.

This recipe is a staple meal in the teaching kitchen at Blum Center for Health and is enjoyed by students and teachers alike for its nutrition, color, texture, and taste. The “Buddha” comes from the sublime feeling you have after eating this bowl full of colorful vegetables and protein-rich quinoa topped with creamy dressing. For even more protein, add beans, chicken, or tofu. Also, you can change the vegetables according to the season.

Makes 4–6 servings

1 cup short-grain brown rice, rinsed
2 cups water or vegetable stock
Sea salt
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut or kabocha squash
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cups kale, washed, ribs discarded, and leaves chopped
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds
1 avocado, peeled and cubed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Put the rice, water, and 1/2 tsp salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

3. Take off the heat, fluff with a fork, cover, and let sit for another 5 minutes.

4. Mix the squash with 2 tbsp oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Spread on a baking tray and roast for 20–25 minutes or until browned and fork tender.

6. Heat a large sauté pan and add 2 tbsp oil. Add the onions and spread them out evenly in the pan. Do not move the onions until they start to brown. Then stir and reduce the heat to low.

7. Continue to let the onions caramelize for 15 minutes, or until they are soft and brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

8. Add the kale with a pinch of salt into the sauté pan that had the onions and cook until the kale begins to turn bright green and soften slightly. If the kale begins to stick to the pan, add a little water and cover the pan, allowing kale to steam for 1 minute.

9. To make the sauce, mix the tahini, lemon, ginger, honey, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the water until you reach a smooth and pourable consistency.

10. Serve in individual bowls with 1/2 cup brown rice on the bottom topped with caramelized onions, squash, and kale. Put a few cubes of avocado and toasted nuts on top. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the prepared bowls.

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