3 Gut-Healthy Bowl Recipes for Super-Nourishing Weeknight Meals

Photo: The I Quit Sugar Cookbook


You may know Sarah Wilson from her best-selling book I Quit Sugar, a how-to guide on ditching the white stuff for good—which readers loved, in part, because of the personal details of her struggle with the auto-immune disorder Hashimoto’s disease.

iquitsugar_coverAnd in her latest book, The I Quit Sugar Cookbook: 306 Recipes for a Clean, Healthy Life, the journalist-turned-wellness expert is in sharing mode again. For instance: Would you expect this Aussie TV host to root around in her friend's trash for food? Or take home fish carcasses from a dinner party to make homemade stock? Or ask strangers at the next table if she can take home their leftovers? (She did all of these—and made a lovely Vietnamese soup with the Angus beef strips her neighbors didn't eat.)

Yes, the woman who was one of the first and loudest voices alerting us to the dangers of sugar is now seriously into the burgeoning food waste and sustainability movement.

"My tiny apartment kitchen is littered with recycled jars filled with the drippings from last night's chops (which I use to sweat my veggies, thus adding the right fats for absorbing the essential vitamins), the water from steaming my chard (perfect for padding out soup), and the olive oil from the marinated feta my friend was going to chuck when I was at her place for lunch last weekend (ready-made salad dressing, people!)," Wilson says in The I Quit Sugar Cookbook.

In addition to being in sharing mode, Wilson is in teaching mode here—with satisfying dishes that will help you save money and cut down on food waste. Not to mention, she gives seriously specific instruction on how to be as resourceful as she is. (Jars of fermented veggies are a favorite, since they hit the "sugar" and "food waste" categories in one briny fell swoop, since they preserve food that would otherwise go bad and they help you reduce sugar cravings.)

But of the over 300 recipes in the book, the ones that caught our eye were her Abundance Bowls: These vegan dishes are gut-healthy, nutrient-dense, and (once you get the dressings made and stored) they can be made in minutes.

Read on for three of Wilson's yummiest, super nutritious bowl recipes.

Photo: The I Quit Sugar Cookbook
Photo: The I Quit Sugar Cookbook

Clean Bitters Bowl

2 handfuls of chopped radicchio, red endive, and/or red cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel or radish
1 celery stalk and leaves, thinly sliced
Small handful of mint or cilantro leaves, torn
1/4 avocado, chopped
2 Tbsp Powerhouse Dressing (see recipe below)
1/2 cup cooked brown lentils
Smashed almonds, to serve

Toss together the radicchio, red endive, and/or red cabbage with the fennel or radish, celery and mint or cilantro. Add the avocado, dressing, and lentils, and top with almonds.

Powerhouse Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/3 good acid (kombucha, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice)
1 cup oil (olive, avocado, or walnut)
1 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh soft herbs such as basil, tarragon, or chives and/or 1 tsp Dijon mustard, group allspice, or ground cloves

Place all the ingredients in a large jar, seal with a tight-fitting lid, and shake until well combined. Keep in the fridge for 1–3 weeks.

Photo: I Quit Sugar Cookbook
Photo: I Quit Sugar Cookbook

Pretty in Pastel Pink Parsnip Pasta

1 Cooked 'N Frozen Beet (recipe below), chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup full-fat organic plain yogurt
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Big pinch of ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp coconut oil or olive oil
2 parsnips, peeled and cut lengthwise into long strips with a veggie peeler or spiralizer
Small handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup Green Minx Dressing (recipe below) mushed with 1/2 avocado

Place a quarter of the beet in a food processor with the yogurt, garlic and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then blend until smooth. Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the parsnip strips and fry for 1–2 minutes, or until just soft. Add the pink sauce and remaining beet cubes to the pan and heat through. Serve with the walnuts, parsley and dressing.

Green Minx Dressing

Makes about 2 cups

1 large avocado
1 large handful of fresh cilantro, including stalks (or you can use parsley, chives, or basil, or a combo)
1 large handful of chopped lettuce
1 small zucchini
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process all the ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender and a large mixing bowl. Thin, if required, with a little water.

If you use avocado, this will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge, or it can be frozen for 1–2 months in a freezer-proof airtight continuer, as long as the dressing is totally puréed (lumps make the dressing icy). To use, simply thaw in your refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water. Whisk to bring everything back together and serve cold!

Cooked 'N' Frozen Beets

4–5 beets, trimmed, scrubbed and pricked with a fork (don’t peel them!)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the beets on a baking sheet (no oil, no salt, no parchment paper) and cook for 30 minutes until just tender. Cool and peel (I don’t, as I like the texture of the skin), then place in the freezer.

Photo: The I Quit Sugar Cookbook
Photo: The I Quit Sugar Cookbook

Nori Roll in a Bowl

Makes a 1-quart jar

4 asparagus spears
1/2 cup cooked buckwheat, cooked quinoa, or cauliflower rice
3-ounce can Italian canned tuna in olive oil
2 radishes, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
Small handful of sprouts
1 nori sheet, crumbled
TMT Dressing (recipe below), to serve
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for a few minutes (or zap in the microwave if you're at work). Place the buckwheat, quinoa, or cauli rice in a bowl. Top with fish, radish, avocado, sprouts, nori, and asparagus. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Make it vegetarian: Replace the fish with 3 1/2 ounces fried tempeh strips.

TMT Dressing (Tahini Miso Turmeric)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup hot water
3 Tbsp red miso paste (or 1/2 cup white miso paste)
1-inch piece of turmeric, finely minced (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until lovely and smooth. Transfer to an airtight container or jar and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, adding a little extra water and shaking before each use.

And there's more non-sugary sweetness where that came from. Click here for more information on The I Quit Sugar Cookbook

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