Summer ended for me–mentally–last weekend. I decided that I was done with the humidity and heat and Hamptons-goers around me, and I put myself into fall mode. That included, naturally, a return to my favorite kind of meal: bowls. Roasted veggies + grains + protein=super yum for me, and yet the summer isn’t the ideal time to enjoy that magical combination. Not to mention, having the oven on for so long would make me grouchy enough to resent the entire process.
Sadly, the weather hasn’t caught up with me quite yet, so I’ll call this recipe a transition bowl. Like my state of mind, it’s half in summer–with the fresh greens and crunchy jicama–and half out–veggies cooked just long enough to not roast the chef along with them. I took inspiration for this summer salad bowl from Japanese cuisine, where delicately balanced flavors create a multi-sensory eating experience. From the creamy peanut sauce dressing to the crisp toppings, it’s a meal packed with a little of everything–kind of like that feeling one gets this time of year when the late afternoon sun transitions from summer’s strident blaze to a more golden, subtle glow.
Note: This recipe includes a peanut sauce developed by Sprouted Kitchen. To make this sauce, you will need on hand: creamy peanut butter, garlic cloves, fresh ginger, lime zest, red pepper flakes, liquid sweetener, tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, coconut milk, and cilantro.
Japanese Summer Salad Bowl
- 16 oz. fresh spinach
- 1 large bunch fresh basil, stems removed
- 2 medium eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 medium Japanese pumpkin
- 1/2 cup jicama
- 2 tablespoons pantry peanut sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- sesame seeds
1. Line the tray of a broiler with foil and arrange eggplant and pumpkin slices in a single layer if possible. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons sesame oil and sprinkle with mineral salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through.
2. Peel the jicama and cut into small matchstick pieces.
3. Water down 2 tbsp. of prepared peanut sauce with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in a small bowl.
4. Divide greens into two bowls (you won’t use them all) and coat with the peanut sauce.
5. Top each bowl with eggplant, pumpkin, and jicama, and sprinkle sesame seeds and pistachios as desired. Keep extra sauce on the side for dipping.
Also by Jennifer: 30 Minute Asian Fusion Probiotic Bowl
Related: Gluten-Free Colorful Cabbage Bowls
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Photos: Jennifer Kurdyla