Mayan Vernal Moon Bake

By • March 11, 2013 1 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is adopted from the best and only frozen meal I've eaten for lunch all year. I'm usually the brown-bag lunch type, but I went to the grocery store after seeing a movie with my mom one weeknight, and the frozen grocery isle was too tempting. My mother is a dietitian and "tortured" me my entire childhood with veggie burgers, lentil soup, and Oatty O's, so if she says the Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake is a good one, I'm sold. I had some trouble spending ~$4 on a frozen box of food, but I will proudly admit that I wasn't disappointed, and I may just find myself in the frozen food isle a couple more times this year...
This recipe is adopted from this Kashi favorite (though I wouldn't say I'm a reliable critic of frozen meals) that I thought would translate wonderfully into a big cheap feast...or lots of frozen lunch leftovers.
PS. The Kashi version is called "Mayan Harvest Bake," so in honor of the spring equinox coming up on March 20, I figured the name and recipe could use the appropriate seasonal update.


Serves 6

Vernal Bake + Grains

  • 2 sweet potatos
  • 2 ripe ripe ripe (aka black) plantains
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup amaranth
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or slightly salted water
  • 8 ounces tempeh (optional)
  • 1 or 2 avocados

Ancho Chile Sauce (adapted from Jamie Purviance via Bon Appetite)

  • 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. Make the ancho chile sauce. Place chile in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover; let soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add wine and softened chile; simmer 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons reserved chile soaking liquid, ketchup, and all remaining ingredients. Simmer 3 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Puree sauce in blender, adding more reserved soaking liquid if too thick. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill until needed.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Chop sweet potatoes and into 1/2 inch chunks and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper in a baking dish. Roast for 20 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are roasting, heat up the ancho chile sauce. Then add the can of black beans (rinsed and drained from the can).
  5. Chop the kale into think pieces and coat them in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and season. Add the kale to the pan of sweet potatoes after the sweet potatoes have been in for 20 minutes. Cook for an additional 10.
  6. Add the black bean chile sauce to the pan of sweet potatoes and kale. Top with plantains, cut in half and sliced in 4ths lengthwise. Bake in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Cook the grains together in the vegetable broth. Mix the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil in a sauce pan, and then let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the grain is cooked and the liquid is soaked up. Add more liquid as needed until the grains are cooked.
  8. For a probiotic boost (highly recommended!), chop the tempeh into 1/2 inch chunks and pan fry in oil of choice (I used canola oil).
  9. Serve the grains on a plate or in a bowl and spoon the Vernal mixture and tempeh on top. Top with toasted pepitas and slices of avocado. Celebrate the Vernal Equinox.

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