Ahhh, August. It’s a conflicting time of year for me because as much as I love the summer produce season, I also can. not. wait. until fall when the cooler weather hits. I think I’m hot-blooded by nature so the heat and humidity of the Midwest just don’t agree with me. Or my hair. Or my skin. But that farmers market fare? Yeah, I’ll take that year round please.
As we start to wind down this summer and look towards autumn, one of the things I’m savoring is sweet corn. I know, I know, corn is one of those foods that’s been borderline taboo for a while now. Between the carbs, the starch, the GMOs, “it’s not Paleo” jargon, there’s a lot of people shunning it. Not shucking it, like they should be. Sorry for the corny food pun. Oh, gosh, I can’t stop.
But in all seriousness, I’m not one to tell people what they should or shouldn’t eat. In fact, it’s like a golden rule of mine to avoid that unless there is evidence that says otherwise. As in, you suffer from anaphylaxis when you eat peanuts, it’s probably best to go ahead and avoid peanuts. Instead I like to advocate for variety in all aspects and avoid over-restricting unnecessarily.
Embracing variety is actually what led me to create this recipe. I’ve been riding the quinoa train for a while now (haven’t we all?) and I thought it might be time to switch things up a bit. I’ve been a big fan of wheatberries and farro for a while too. They have this amazing hearty texture and some nice all-around substance. I can’t really put my finger on why that appeals to me so much. Maybe it’s because when you eat a plant-based diet you want to really sink your teeth into something sometimes? Or is that just me?
Enter: sorghum. Until recently my familiarity with this ingredient was limited to livestock feed and sorghum molasses, neither of which I typically use in my kitchen. But after seeing a little “Pinspiration” and stumbling upon the Simply Sorghum site, I resolved to hunt some down. To hit some of the highlights of why I’m loving it, sorghum is:
- A complex carb, serving up over 12 grams of prebiotic fiber per cup
- A nice source of plant-based protein, serving up over 20 grams of protein per cup
- A tasty option for non-heme iron, serving up over 6 milligrams per cup which is comparable to or better than the same size serving of beans, legumes, lentils, and cooked spinach
- Naturally gluten free, making it a great option for those adhering to a gluten-free diet
- Grown in the United States and more drought-tolerant than other grain crops (yay sustainability!)
I loved the idea of mixing textures into a Nourish Bowl of sorts. Nourish Bowls are apparently all the rage…I like to call them “dinner”. This one combines a roasted sweet corn succotash to compliment sorghum’s Southern roots. Instead of lima beans in a traditional succotash I subbed black beans and topped it with avocado. This bowl is basically a fiber bomb so wash it down with some liquids…you know…for regularity.
I know this will be a “regular” feature on our menu this year. Man, I really need to stop with these puns but Mr. Street Smart has been a terrible or wonderful influence on me when it comes to that, depending on how much you enjoy puns.
Have you tried sorghum yet? I’ll be experimenting with it in the kitchen again so share a recipe if you’ve found something you love!
Summer Sorghum Bowl with Sweet Corn Succotash
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups dry sorghum
6 cups water
2 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 can black beans (14.5 oz)
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Cilantro for garnish
Lime juice (optional)
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. As the water is heating, rinse the dry sorghum and remove any debris. Add to boiling water, reduce heat to medium or medium-high, and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Once the sorghum has simmered for 15-20 minutes, drain and rinse the black beans and set aside. Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, sweet corn, diced red bell pepper, diced yellow onion, and salt. Allow the succotash mixture to roast, stirring only occasionally to allow for browning. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until roasted to your satisfaction. Stir in minced garlic, dried cumin, and chili powder during the last minute of cooking and stir to distribute evenly. Remove from heat.
For a combined bowl, stir in the roasted corn mixture and black beans into the cooked sorghum and stir gently to combine. To build a Nourish Bowl, add cooked sorghum to bowl and top with roasted corn succotash and black beans (pictured). Season with salt to taste. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice avocados in half and remove the pit. Slice or dice to desired size and use a spoon to scoop from the skin. Allow 1/2 avocado per serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro or drizzle with lime juice if desired.
If using a pressure cooker, sorghum cooking time is reduced to 20-25 minutes. Maintain the 3:1 water to dry sorghum ratio. If using a slow cooker, use the 3:1 water to dry sorghum ratio, cover, and cook on high for 4 hours or until all liquid is absorbed.