Is there any fruit that’s more work than the pomegranate? A lot of people might even say it’s too much work for the return. But if you love pomegranates like I do, you know those people have no idea what they’re missing. The sweet-tart arils add interest to oatmeal, color to salads, and a bright burst of flavor in these veggie meal bowls. You might be surprised to hear you can actually add pomegranate seeds to pizza and wraps, but it’s gonna be a revelation.
For a long time, I used the bowl-of-water trick for removing pomegranate seeds from the fruit–cut the pomegranate in half, break it apart in a large bowl of cold water, and let the arils sink to the bottom while the pith floats to the top. But I hated it–I’d get pink water everywhere, my hands would get cold and prune-y, and I’d be standing at the countertop forever doing it.
I’m now a convert to the spoon-whacking method. I bought a little tool specifically designed for that, but there’s no need to buy one–here’s a video showing you how to remove pomegranate arils by hitting the fruit with a spoon. It works well, and super fast!
So what else goes into veggie meal bowl? Like most meal bowls, they start with a whole grain–I’m partial to freekeh or barley this time of year because of their earthy flavor. Then you add some roasted veggies–Brussels sprouts, carrots and cauliflower are a good combination–and seasoned chickpeas for the protein.
Next comes the sauce, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s like tahini sauce 2.0, because it blends in parsley for even more flavor. If you put tahini sauce on everything (guilty!), this is a good way to switch things up a little bit.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Veggie Meal Bowls with Freekeh and Parsley-Tahini Sauce
These veggie-packed bowls are full of flavor thanks to za'atar, an herby tahini dressing, and tart pomegranate arils.
For the sheet pan vegetables:
- 1 small cauliflower broken into florets
- 4 ounces Brussels sprouts halved
- 2 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small red onion sliced into thick half moons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon za'atar
For the the sauce:
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- About 2 cups cooked freekeh or any other whole grain
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 425ºF and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Toss the vegetables on the sheet pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the veggies for about 25 minutes, or until they're tender and beginning to brown.
Pour the chickpeas onto the sheet pan. Drizzle everything with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with za'atar. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more, or until the vegetables are browned and crisp on the edges.
While the vegetables are roasting, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. (If you don't have a small food processor, you can chop the parsley finely and whisk the ingredients together.)
Divide the freekeh into 4 bowls, then add the vegetables and chickpeas. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, then serve.