Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl with Romesco Sauce

Have you ever tried romesco (not to be confused with romanesco, that (beautiful) cauliflower-broccoli hybrid)? Romesco is like Spanish pesto- prepared with a nut base (in this case, almonds), and flavoured with roasted red peppers, smoked paprika, garlic and parsley. It is such a fun and flavourful alternative to pesto if you’re looking to spice things up!

This bowl also features a delicious and super healthy whole grain, bulgur. Bulgur is high in fibre, quick to prepare (about 12 minutes), and is super versatile. It’s also inexpensive which is an added bonus.

The roasted earthy and caramelized vegetables pair well with the zippy romesco sauce, while the bulgur and chickpeas give this bowl substance, and the sunflower seeds some crunch! You won’t be falling prey to that afternoon pick-me-up with this grain bowl in your lunch!

1 cup bulgur, dry
1 clove garlic, grated
1-2 tsp lemon juice, plus more for serving
1-19oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch slices (lengthways)
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 small head red cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into wedges, or 1-6.5oz bag baby red onions, peeled
Olive oil, sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt
2-3 tbsp. sunflower seeds

For the romesco sauce:
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
3 roasted red peppers, jarred in oil (about 1- 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2-3 cloves garlic
1.5 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4- 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Chop veggies and place them on  a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, a sprinkle of garlic powder and onion powder, and black pepper. Toss to combine. Roast in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Feel free to turn the oven onto broil at the end of cooking (one baking sheet at a time) to get the veggies extra crispy. Be sure to watch them closely!

2) Prepare the bulgur according to package directions. Once cooked, grate one clove of garlic right into the pot as well as 1-2 tsp lemon juice and stir to combine. Perhaps start with 1 tsp lemon juice and taste it – if you’d prefer it a little zippier, add the second teaspoon.

3) While the veggies and bulgur cook, prepare the romesco. First, toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium heat until they begin to brown lightly (watch closely as they easily burn). Add to a food processor along with the remaining sauce ingredients. Pulse until desired consistency is reached- I like mine with some texture. Adjust seasoning to taste.

4) Serve! In a bowl, place some bulgur, chickpeas, roasted vegetables and a few dollops of romesco. Top with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and an extra squeeze of lemon, if desired.