One of the things I adore about living in New York City is the abundance of health food resources: fresh and organic farmers markets, health food stores and restaurants. Since I arrived to New York in the 80s one of my favorite restaurants has been Angelika’s Kitchen. I have eaten there so many times and tried many of their dishes but my favorite, and one that I returned to again and again was their dragon bowl.
A little sad side note is that Angelika’s Kitchen has closed recently 🙁 But the dragon bowl is alive and well, I make it at home all the time and I am excited to share it with you.
A dragon bowl is a simple, no frills, vegan and healthy meal that is made out of 3 staples: grains, beans and vegetables. Every time I eat a dragon bowl, I feel light, energized and full of life. It is a meal that is satisfying, delicious, nutrient dense. All the ingredients are easily digestible and will make your tummy happy. Each dish is cooked separately and simply and them assembled on a plate with a delicious dressing to flavor it all up!
Here are the basic components of the dragon bowl with ideas for variations:
Cooked grain. Traditionally, dragon bowls are made with brown rice but you can use any grain, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oat groats or a combination of one or two grains cooked together. It is a great way to use up leftover cooked grains. Please make sure to use whole intact grains for this meal and not grain products. Watch my class “clearing the confusion about grains” to learn the best grain choices for you.
Cooked beans. Any beans are great! I do like to soak and sprout my beans but in a pinch, a good quality, organic can of beans is just right. You can also add steamed tofu or tempeh.
Steamed vegetables. A dragon bowl has 2 kinds of vegetables, the first is a variety of sweet tasting vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips or winter squashes and the second is dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, mustard greens or book choi. Use just one of each or a variety. The sweet vegetables are steamed until soft but not mushy and the leafy greens are steamed very lightly so they are still bright and crunchy. This combination of vegetables is energizing and full of nutrients but feel free to add any other vegetables you like.
Optional: seaweed. For extra nutrients and good for you minerals from the sea you can add a serving of cooked seaweed like arame or hijiki.
The dressing. This is the crowning glory of the dragon bowl. Since all the ingredients are cooked simply without a lot of flavor, it is important to have a yummylicious sauce to top them all with jazzing flavor. My favorite dressing is carrot ginger but I also love a creamy tahini or a spicy peanut sauce. To make the peanut sauce mix 1/4 cup of peanut butter and a 1/4 cup of water until smooth, add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 crushed clove of garlic, white pepper and chili pepper to taste.
I love making the dragon bowl very often, it is a meal that motivates me to continue to make healthy choices and I use it as part of my seasonal cleanses and when I need a reset. I hope you will be inspired to try it too.