Whole Bowl

Food carts have become something of a cultural institution in Portland, serving up everything from bacon donuts to vacuum pot coffee to cuban flank steak. There are a few carts that keep me coming back, sometimes several days in a row. The Whole Bowl cart is one of my reliable standbys for a feel-good workday lunch, with only one item on the menu: a bowl of rice & beans, with some stuff on top. It’s simple, filling, cheap and healthy. Currently, my access to pdx cart pods is woefully limited, so I’m determined to reproduce this one at home. The key ingredient–allegedly named after the Whole Bowl creator–is Tali sauce, a lemony, garlicky, tangy wonder. My recipe is based principally on the Lemon Letter version.

This is the first in my trifecta of versatile sauces. It has a lot of ingredients and doesn’t last more than 5 days in the fridge, so it’s most efficient to make one batch, then pour any unused portion into an ice cube tray. When frozen, pop the little sauce cubes into a ziplock & defrost as needed. One cube is enough for two bowls. It’s also great with eggs.

Tali Sauce

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. garbanzo beans
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. almonds, soaked 1-8 hours in filtered water
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tb brewer’s yeast (“nutritional yeast”, the dry yellow flakes from bulk bins)
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
dash of citric acid (for added tanginess; optional)

pile it all into a bowl in the order listed, or mash it together as desired!

1/2 c. cooked brown rice
1/2 c. cooked beans (I prefer pink or adzuki, but whatever you like best)
2 tb Tali sauce
2 tb salsa
2 tb grated cheddar cheese
dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt
1/2 avocado


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