In this Summer Glow Bowl …sweet tart blueberries, black Nile barley, spicy watercress, shaved fennel bulb, tangy oranges, creamy avocado and crunchy walnuts – all work together to give our skin a burst of nutrients and a youthful healthy glow. A compliment of flavors and textures, it’s dressed with a heavenly vinaigrette made with fresh orange juice and bee pollen.
The Summer Glow Bowl is hearty enough for dinner, and will leave you feeling vibrant and full of energy. Each ingredient is especially selected for the skin, (see below) and eating this way – simple plant-based foods, over time, will naturally improve the condition of our skin giving us a youthful vibrance. Here’s what sold me.
One summer a few years ago, my dad decided to go totally vegan for health reasons. My father had been diabetic for years, and he and my mom went to a week-long Diabetes Retreat where he learned that he could stabilize his diabetes, by changing his diet. So, he did. At the time, I lived here in Washington, and they still lived in Los Angeles. Over the phone they would tell me what they were eating and what it was like. About 3 months into the vegan diet I was finally able to go visit them. I was astounded!
My father looked 15 years younger. His skin literally glowed, when before it seemed sallow and dull. He had a youthfulness about him I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. His eyes looked bright and clear, he looked so much healthier and seemed so much more energetic. I was honestly totally shocked even though at the time I had a vegetarian restaurant, and knew “logically”, that a plant-based diet was healthy – but, somehow, to see this transformation with own eyes, with my own dad, really made an impact on me.
Now….I’m not telling you this to try to convince you to become vegan, because, you all know, I’m not vegan. With our catering work, and being married to Brian, it would be pretty impossible. But what is possible, is to not eat dairy or meat at every single meal, or even everyday. I simply want to inspire you to eat more plants, and to be aware of their profound impact on our bodies, and on our psyche. Plants are alive! When we eat them, our bodies become alive with their aliveness. Our skin glows!
Blueberries are an easy sell. We love them, don’t we! They find their way easily and generously into our breakfasts…tossed into our morning bowls of granola, pancakes, yogurt and smoothies. For a few short weeks in summer, they are grown here locally in the Northwest.
Seek out the low bush varieties, available at local farmers markets. You will know them by their size. These are the smaller sized berries –not the huge big plump ones we commonly see in most grocery stores–and these are prized for their true blueberry flavor, they most closely related to a real wild blueberry. The big blueberries you find at the grocery stores, called high bush berries, have been hybridized to be sweeter and bigger, yes still tasty, but lacking real blueberry flavor.
Watercress is a rich source of beta carotene and Vitamin C needed to quench free radicals, which can cause damage to skin cells. In addition watercress contains Vitamin E. It is this powerhouse of nutrients and the chain reaction in which they all three work together which impacts the skin and helps keep it youthful and healthy. Gram for gram, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, four times more beta-carotene and vitamin A than apples, tomatoes and broccoli, more vitamin E than broccoli, more calcium than whole milk and more iron than spinach.
A nutritious and tasty Summer Glow bowl- low fat, vegan and full of healthy anti-oxidants that will not only energize you but leave you will a glow.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Northwest
- 1 1/2 Cups Black Barley – or grain of your choice ( uncooked)
- 2 Cups blueberries
- 1 Fennel bulb, shaved thinly
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 Orange, peeled and segmented, or sliced
- 1/4 Red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Avocado, sliced
- 1/4 C walnuts
Citrus Bee Pollen Dressing
- 1/2 C fresh orange juice
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1/8 Cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- 1 T honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon bee pollen ( optional)
- Place black barley in a medium pot with 4 Cups water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer one hour, until cooked al-dente. Drain and chill.
- Prep all the veggies, taking care to thinly slice the fennel bulb and red onion. ( I often use a sharp vegetable peeler or mandolin.)
- Divide Black Barley among 4 bowls.
- Divide the rest of the ingredients- blueberries, fennel bulb, red onion, watercress, avocado, orange slices and walnuts – among the bowls.
- Make the dressing -stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Divide the dressing among the bowls, drizzling over all the ingredients. Enjoy!