Twice as Tasty

Roasted Winter Vegetable ‘Grain’ Bowls

It’s too muddy to garden, so I’m starting my spring cleanout by eating up last season’s harvest

By Julie Laing
Roasted Winter Vegetable “Grain” Bowl by Julie Laing

I might be thinking about gardening, but the soil remains stubbornly in mud stage. Instead, I’m focused on another aspect of preparing for the new growing season: eating up the fruit and vegetables that remain in storage boxes, in the freezer and on canning shelves.

My dry-stored produce held up well this season, but what remains knows it’s spring. When root vegetables like potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots start to spout, they won’t last long. Oven-roasting them with homegrown and home-dried herbs not only builds flavor but also clears out space for the next harvest.

Roasted vegetables pair well with buckwheat groats, which are not a type of wheat or even a grain. Instead, these hulled seeds come from a plant related to rhubarb and sorrel. They’re gluten free but have a bit of the phytic acid that makes whole grains difficult for some people to digest. Soaking the groats breaks down this acid and speeds up the cooking time.

For a hot breakfast, I soak buckwheat groats overnight, but less time works too. For an evening “grain” bowl, I start soaking groats in the morning and then marinating tofu a couple of hours before dinner so that it can to absorb the flavors. You could prepare both at either time of day. For more advance prep, cube the vegetables too and keep them in a covered container in the fridge. Finally, you could replace the tofu with another protein, like shrimp or chicken, but roast it separately to ensure it cooks fully.

Roasted Winter Vegetable “Grain” Bowls

Serves 4

3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats

3-3/4 cups water, divided

14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 small carrots, cut into chunks

2 medium potatoes, cubed

1/2 pound winter squash (about 1-1/2 cups when cubed)

3 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Place the buckwheat groats in a large bowl and pour in 3 cups of water. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, set it in the refrigerator and presoak the groats for at least two hours.

In a lidded container, combine the tofu, oregano and rosemary. Pour in 3 tablespoons of oil and the vinegar; toss to combine. Cover the container, set it in the refrigerator and marinate the tofu for at least two hours.

Combine the carrot, potato, pumpkin and unpeeled garlic in a large baking dish; sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Bake at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the tofu to the vegetables and roast another five minutes.

Drain the buckwheat through a small-holed colander, rinse under running water and drain again. In a small pot, bring the buckwheat and remaining 3/4 cup of water to a boil. Cook for about five minutes, until crumbly and soft. Mix with the vegetables and tofu, adjusting the seasonings to taste.

Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.