First Friday of Lent Vegetable Bowls

By Emily Stimpson Chapman

Learn more at Emily’s blog, The Catholic Table.

Photo Credit: Emily Stimpson Chapman

I think there is a special place in heaven for the genius who first dreamed up combining olive oil, garlic, and salt, with vegetables and high heat. Or, perhaps, he (or she) didn’t dream it up. Maybe it came to him through private revelation . . . or infused knowledge.

Regardless, he deserves our thanks for helping us eat vegetables as they were meant to be eaten: roasted.

That genius especially deserve my thanks, because without these roasted vegetable bowls, I’m pretty sure I’d be living on Kind Bars right now. Word to the wise: do not attempt to write a book and plan a wedding at the same time. It’s a fool’s folly.

What do I love about these bowls?

For starters, they’re chock full of nutrition: lots of protein from the quinoa, more Vitamin C than you can shake a stick at from the red pepper, potatoes avocado, and green beans (as well as a generous amount of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin  B-6), plus all sorts of good heart healthy fat from the olive oil and avocado. Which, all together, beats the Kind Bars by a mile.

They’re also fast and easy to prepare: it takes me about five minutes to prep the ingredients, and then the oven and stovetop take over for another 25, giving me a few precious minutes to get more work done…or make myself a martini.

Most important, they’re yummy—a little sweet, a little salty, more than a little crunchy, and super filling . . . which you really need when the only other thing you’ve managed to eat during the day are Kind Bars.

Oh, one more thing: they’re meatless. Which means Catholics can eat them on Fridays. Although, I’ve been eating them on Sundays and Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays too.

This may not be a recipe for the kiddos (unless your kiddos are like my niece Emma who thinks vegetables are the bee’s knees), but I’ve made it twice for Chris now, and he’s given it a hearty thumbs up. So, it at least has the man vote. It also has the overworked, not-sleeping-because-she-wakes-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-thinking-about-wedding-planning-and-that-talk-she-has-to-give-in-Florida-next-week-and-Oh-dear-Lord-why-did-I-agree-to-do-that? writer vote.

But you already knew that.

Photo Credit: Emily Stimpson Chapman


Photo Credit: Emily Stimpson Chapman

Roasted Vegetable Bowls
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
  • 3-4 medium-sized red potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pecorino romano, grated
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse the quinoa well, in a fine mesh strainer, then drain.
  3. In a small pot, combine the quinoa and liquid; bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes); fluff with a fork and keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, chop your vegetables; toss with garlic, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, and kosher salt to taste (I used slightly more than .5 teaspoon); and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes.
  6. Make a martini.
  7. When the vegetables are done, divide the quinoa into bowls, drizzle with remaining olive oil, sprinkle with a little more salt, plus the pecorino-romano; add vegetables and toss to combine.
  8. Top with avocado slices and enjoy!

Cook’s Notes

  1. The recipe here will serve two, but it’s easily doubled or tripled to serve more. Just don’t overcrowd the baking pans or the vegetables will take longer to cook and have a harder time crisping up.
  2. I came home from Christmas with many pounds of an awesome pecorino-romano that my mom gave me as a gift. But if you have parmesan in your fridge, or that’s easier for you to find in your grocery store, that will work fine too.
  3. Make sure not to skip step 2: rinsing the quinoa really, really well. That makes a huge difference in how this particular grain tastes.
  4. Oh, and yes, the chicken broth. Some Catholics like to avoid eating anything cooked with or in a meat broth on Fridays. That is admirable, and I respect that. Current canon law, however, permits the consumption of chicken broth on Fridays or its inclusion in recipes, so I take advantage of that to make the quinoa edible. If you want your dinner to be super penitential though, I strongly encourage cooking the quinoa in water or vegetable broth.
  5. The vegetable combination is not an exact science. Feel free to experiment. Roasted carrots, onions, and asparagus could all be tasty additions.
  6. Bacon would also be good in this. But that really defeats the Meatless Fridays part. And it’s another pan to wash. But if you don’t mind that . . .


For more recipes and ideas for offering Christian hospitality, check out Emily’s book, The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet.