GUYS. These bowls! They are everything.
Rather than just talking about this recipe I thought I’d share a few fun things I’m excited about this month because – well, there’s lots to be excited about!
For the past 2 years I’ve stuck around the city for most of the summer because it still felt very new to me, but this year I’ve got a few plans to travel. The first is a little weekend getaway in a couple of weeks to a part of BC called Pemberton with one of my friends. We’ll be conquering a hike that has scenery I’ve been drooling over ever since I moved here, then staying in Whistler for some poolside relaxation and “hotel camping” -> aka, the only way I do the whole camping thing.
Second, I never mentioned it but my dad recently moved back to Canada, and not only do we now live in the same country after 11 years, but in the same province too! I’ll be sailing across to see his new digs soon and I’m excited to explore a part of BC I haven’t been to since I was way too little to remember.
Third, it’s a little further away but I’m headed to Boston in early August for work-related conference all about email design. I talked about my full-time gig a while ago but if you missed that, my day job has me working as an Email Marketing Strategist who loves nerding out over things like email design, campaign building, system integrations, automation… all that juicy stuff. (And yes, I realize that to most people it’s not juicy at all – I get it.)
Annnyways, I’ve only been to Boston once and it was in the middle of winter, so I’m looking forward to meeting some new people who do what I do, exploring the city, eating at some great restaurants and doing lots of learning. Hooraaaayyy for professional development!
Unrelated to travel, another thing I’m currently excited about is Seawheeze coming up! I feel so old because this is my 6th one, but every year it gives me the same feely feels because this half marathon is what made me fall in love with Vancouver. As I mentioned in this Instagram post on Monday morning, I haven’t run more than about 8 miles at a time since October which is a leeeeeeeetttttle bit worrying. If my goal was to PR I’d be concerned, but this summer’s race isn’t about PR-ing – it’s about fun. I’ll be volunteering the day before the race, then running the 13.1 miles with some of my fellow lemons and soaking in all the race vibes. And of course, if you’re coming, please come over so we can give each other sweaty race hugs and take allllll the selfies! 😜
Just like the last 2 years, you can count on a Seawheezer’s Guide to Vancouver post here in a couple of weeks to highlight some great new places to eat and get your sweat on. There have been so many awesome restaurants popping up in the last couple of months so I’m going to pull them all together in one spot for those of you coming to visit Vancouver. In the meantime, feel free to check out the 2015 and 2016 editions.
Lastly, to address the elephant in the room, you might be thinking, ‘Wait, I thought Angela was pescetarian, and this post is called Deconstructed Chicken Shawarma Bowls. What’s going on?” Yes yes, I was pescetarian. As I discussed in my anemia update, red meat came back into my diet earlier this year. At the same time, I reassessed my stance on a few other foods that haven’t served me too well in the past. I don’t want to make a huge deal about it because it doesn’t deserve the airtime, so I won’t. But really quick….
Chicken was something I decided to stop eating because of all the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional meats, similar to my red meat stance pre-anemia. Back then, I didn’t have the budget to allow for purchasing local, organic, high quality meats – even in small quantities, which is how I consume them now. Plants are by far the biggest part of each meal I eat, and meats are like the handbag to the dress, not the dress itself.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be at a place in life (and living in a place) where sustainably-raised organic options are available, and while still spendy, I choose them because right now, it’s what’s working. That may not always be the case, and one of the key messages I hope to communicate with this blog is that it’s up to each of us to choose to live in ways that support us from becoming our highest selves. That differs for everyone, especially in the realm of nutrition. No matter what I choose, you can count on me to always provide options for recipes that aren’t 100% plant-based so that you can make them that way if you prefer.
Ooooooo-kay. So… shawarma bowls!
Like I said, these are absolute stunners. The list of ingredients looks kinda long, but it’s really just many of the same ingredients used to create each of the different components that make the dish magical. If you prefer, the chicken could be swapped for marinated tofu or tempeh, or use the seasonings called for there to spice up some cooked lentils.
As for the rest, you’ll get a smorgasbord of brightly coloured veggies, plus a range of flavours and textures. This meal reminds me of the 5 years I lived in the Middle East, and if you ever happen to visit, a real, authentic shawarma sandwich should be at the top of your must-try list!
Chicken Shawarma Bowls
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Ingredients (2-3 servings)
For the chicken:
- 1 batch Arabic/Turkish chicken
For the roasted red bell pepper sauce:
- 1 large roasted red bell pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 small clove garlic
For the tabbouleh:
- 1/2 cup each packed fresh parsley and mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp za’atar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
For the cauliflower rice:
- 1 1/2 cups riced cauliflower (made by pulsing in a food processor)
- 2 tbsp tabbouleh (above)
- 1/2 tsp za’atar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
For the grilled eggplant:
- 6 slices eggplant, 0.5-1 cm thickness each
- 2 tsp each extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice
- a few pinches of za’atar
For the rest:
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- pickled beets and purple cabbage (optional)
- lemon wedges, to serve
Make the roasted red bell pepper sauce: Add all 3 ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into a small container and set aside.
Make the tabbouleh: Pulse the parsley and mint in the food processor. In a bowl, mix it with the remaining tabbouleh ingredients.
Make the cauliflower rice: Pulse cauliflower florets (if not already done) until they resemble rice. In a separate bowl, stir in 2 tbsp of the tabbouleh, za’atar to season and lemon juice.
Make the eggplant: Place a grill pan over high heat and let it get nice and hot. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and za’atar. Brush it over each side of the eggplant slices and ‘grill’ them in the pan for 1-2 mins per side, or until grill marks appear.
Arrange the bowls: Start with the romaine lettuce and tomatoes, followed by the tabbouleh and eggplant slices. Add the cauliflower rice next, arranging the chicken on top. Finally, spoon the pickled beets/purple cabbage on top, garnish with lemon and sprinkle with more za’atar to taste.
Now over to you: I’d love to know, what are you most looking forward to this month? It doesn’t have to be big trips – even little things like sitting on patios and going for walks in the sunshine get me excited. Let’s hear what’s going on!