Prepare to have your mouth hugged by this creamy, tangy, spicy jalapeño ranch.
In addition to guiding the wonder that is homemade jalapeño ranch straight into your arms today, I am also telling you how much you will enjoy pouring jalapeño ranch (❤) over a garden treasure trove of vegetables arranged in a little Rainbow Veggie Bowl. Names are almost not even worth discussing since Rainbow Veggie Bowls is absolutely the cutest name for a bowl of vegetables ever, but just in case the Rainbow Veggie Bowls brings to mind things like unicorns and My Little Ponies and you’re one of those, like, sensible people who doesn’t like to think about rainbow things, alternative names for this nutrient-packed beautiful food bomb could include Earth bowls, Garden Harvest bowls, Vegetarian Happy Lunch bowls, Ranch Lovers’ bowls, Full for Days bowls, Get Yoself a Healthy Glow bowls.
Whatever you do, don’t call it a salad. This is a BOWL. No messing around – we load up the bowl with tons of amazingly healthy-delicious-filling things, and we eat it like it’s a bowl.
Now let’s think of all the vibrant foods in the world that we could dunk and drizzle and soak in creamy, tangy, spicy jalapeño ranch. Ready, set, go.
I really wish those tomatoes came from my garden but I am a failure of a young adult and, even worse, FOOD BLOGGER, who STILL does not have a garden. I’m sorry, world. I accept the fail.
I hate to be one to throw in the towel before even starting slash make excuses forever, but you guys. Some things are just not meant to be, and growing things is just not in my nature. The basil plant that I bought at the farmer’s market earlier this summer? Within one day of bringing it home – wait though I’m not. even. exaggerating – within ONE DAY, the leaves were turning black. Before being in the care of my murderous plant self just a short 24 hours earlier, it was green and vibrant and strong, but apparently all it takes is a few hours in my TLC to bring out that dark-dying-plant-black color. And yes I would love to water your plants for you while you’re gone.
Our sweet little potted plant of basil eventually found its final resting place after a good four weeks of life. I’m not annoyed at all about this since I bought the biggest possible pot at the farmer’s market expecting it to last for, well, basically forever, like basil plants should. “They’re so easy to grow!” says everyone except me and my dead basil plant.
The basil plant’s final destination became evident when we went to the cabin for two weeks and I might have, ahem, forgotten about it and left it sitting out in the sunny yard. In the middle of July. Woops. But the weird thing is that somewhere in my mind, once I remembered its lonely basil self sitting outside our house with no one to take care of it, I honestly thought it might still survive. Cause, like, rain and stuff, right?
So I didn’t bother to call the neighbors for Basil Backup because I assumed that two weeks soaking up nature completely free from my black thumb might actually do that little guy some good. When we actually did come back, I couldn’t find the plant – it was sitting right in front of me in the yard but it was so pathetically dead that it was literally beyond recognition. RIP basil.
Okay, enough about my lack of growing skills and onto the four easy steps it takes to assemble these Rainbow Veggie Bowl Babies:
So there you have it! A Rainbow Veggie Bowl smothered in Homemade Jalapeño Ranch.
FYI I debated putting ranch dressing on this salad for about two seconds because ranch has that sort of trashy reputation to it, like how I dip French fries in ranch and it’s the best thing my mouth has ever tasted and did I actually just type that outloud? Trashy or not, I had to do it for this bowl.
A fresh, bright, crunchy garden veggie salad with classic ranch is just a thing of beauty, right? Imagine it: chewy farro, earthy lentils, tangy tomatoes, cool, crisp cucumbers, sweet roasted corn piled high, sprinkled with crushed almonds or sunflower seeds, jazzed with a half of an buttery-smooth avocado because FOR THE LOVE, all covered in a blanket of straight up cool, creamy, herb-loaded, and in this case, fiery-mouth-spicy ranch dressing. The crunch factor here is off the charts. When cucumbers, snap peas, tomatoes, and corn are in the bowl, these strong veggie champs can hold their own even with a whole big splash of dressing poured over the top. None of this weaky-wilty greens business – in this salad, I MEAN BOWL, I like my veggies strong.
And the Joy of All Joys for these bowls is that you can use whatever grains, whatever beans, whatever veggies, whatever nuts and seeds, and whatever dressing you want. It’s vegetarian lunch bowl customization 101. It’s Subway and Chipotle meets whatever you have in your fridge.
I’m not jealous at all though seriously.
Rainbow Veggie Bowls with Jalapeño Ranch – layers of veggies, nuts, grains, beans, and homemade dressing. So good! A new favorite.
For the Jalapeño Ranch:
- 1 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dill (see notes)
- 1 handful fresh parsley leaves (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 handful chives (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (see notes)
For the Veggie Bowls:
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked sprouted lentils (see notes)
- 1/2 tablespoon butter or oil
- 1 1/2 cups corn kernels cut off the cob
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cucumbers
- 1 1/2 cups snap peas
- 1-2 avocados
- fresh herbs (I used basil)
- nuts or seeds (I used crushed almonds)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pulse all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Rinse the farro and bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add the farro and cook for 30 minutes (or according to your package directions). Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to package directions.
- In a small skillet, heat the butter or oil and saute any veggies that need to be cooked (in this case, I did just the corn). Season with salt and pepper.
- Build your rainbow veggie bowls: half farro, half lentils on the bottom; arrange veggies in “stripes” on top; add a few avocado slices; sprinkle with herbs, nuts, seeds; drizzle with dressing. These are great to assemble in advance for lunches because none of the veggies get too soggy like a traditional salad. Keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to serve.
For the jalapeño pepper, I took out about half of the ribs and seeds to control the heat a little bit. If you like spicy, just toss the whole thing in there.
I used a freeze dried dill made by Litehouse that I found in the produce section, so the 1 teaspoon listed in the recipe is for that freeze dried variety specifically. Keep in mind that dried and fresh herbs have different potency – dried dill is three times stronger than fresh dill, and I’m thinking freeze dried is somewhere in the middle, so if you’re using dill from the spice aisle, use a little less than what’s listed here.
I normally don’t use sprouted lentils but I found some at the store that cooked up in 5 minutes! Score.
Serve this hot or cold!