Tucked away in your favorite neighborhood in lower Manhattan, you are likely to come across one of several locations of a restaurant called Westville, known for its warm, all-American atmosphere and famous for its menu of simply prepared, seasonal vegetables, intended to be combined into nourishing meals. My nearest Westville sits at the intersection of Bleeker and West 10th, a stone's throw from my apartment, in a space so inviting and small you have to hug the chefs on the way to the bathroom.
When The Fold's Executive Editor, Amanda, came to me with the idea for hosting a dinner to thank the brilliant women who had contributed to the site's naissance, my mind immediately turned to Westville as inspiration. I thought of a plant-based and gluten-free meal to celebrate the end of summer, including the last of its heavy-hanging heirloom fruits and veggies, and the birth of a new season.
Over a big pot of sprouted lemon quinoa, our guests could cozy up in the kitchen and craft their own bowl combos from a spectrum: sautéed mushrooms and kale, roasted butternut squash and artichoke hearts, and anything that was still sun-kissed or plucked from fall's first harvest.
When I later told a friend about the dinner, she said, "Oh, you made 'gratitude bowl.'" Bowls of gratitude – a perfect coincidence on every level.
To build a gratitude bowl (sometimes called a "goddess bowl" or "Buddha bowl")...
1. Choose a base, such as herbed quinoa, silky soba noodles, spaghetti squash noodles, or cauliflower rice.
2. Layer with warm vegetables, such as sautéed mushrooms or lacinato kale, charred broccoli, or roasted squashes and artichokes.
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"Set a humble table and eat beautiful simple food. Nothing has to be fancy. When you make yourself comfortable, your guests will feel comfortable."
3. Brighten with raw vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, hot house cucumbers, or avocado slices.
4. Top with toasted almonds, pickled shallots, fresh herbs, or microgreens.
5. Dress with a luscious sauce or creamy dressing, like this lemon garlic tahini, below.
1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder or crushed garlic clove
1 teaspoon tamari or coconut aminos
1-2 drops of maple syrup (optional)
4 tablespoons water, to thin to desired consistency
Whisk together and pour on everything. Express thanks.
Thanks to our friends at Metropolitan Market for providing all the food and drink, and for making this dinner series possible.