Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ode to Cafe Gratitute: Part 1 ~ The Community Bowl (Kale, Black Beans, and Rice with a Cashew Cream Sauce)

I learned about Cafe Gratitude a few years ago and it has been my favorite restaurant ever since.  The closest location is about 50 minutes away, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, because if CG was located in my town, I would need to find an evening and weekend job just to pay for my addiction to their food.  Nearly every time we travel to the Bay Area/San Francisco we stop at CG.  And every time it's a delightful treat.  Not only do they serve amazing organic vegan (and raw) cuisine, but they are also a green/sustainable establishment.  They grow their own food at an organic farm just about 25 minutes from our house.  I have such a love affair with this restaurant.  I want to live there (I know, weird).  I'm just a total sucker for earth loving, progressive, friendly, crunchy folks.  Because I can't eat there for every meal (like I dream about) I make many of their recipes here at home.  Today I'm sharing a dish called the Community Bowl that I always get for the kids when we stop by the restaurant.  They love it and it makes a great dinner.  

(An article in the Huffington Post published October 21, states that Cafe Gratitude will be closing all their Northern California locations due to "aggressive lawsuits" brought about by current and former employees).  

Noooooooooo!!! Well, this just sucks.  First I feel badly for the owners.  I don't know all the details to this story and don't know if they did something illegal, but it's unfortunate these great restaurants are closing.  Really unfortunate.  At any rate, I look forward to sharing some of my favorite dishes and recipes with you over the next few months.
  The Community Bowl
(Kale, Black Beans, Rice and Cashew Cream Sauce) 

-1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (we like Dino Kale)
-2 cups brown rice 
-3 cups prepared black beans (soaked and boiled) 
-3/4 cups cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
-1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 to 1/2 cup filtered water (or more if needed) 
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  Cook the two cups brown rice as directed
2.  Use plain prepared black beans OR saute the black beans with some oil, a splash of water, dash of salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (I prefer this method)
3. Use plain kale OR saute with a little water and salt to soften greens (my kids prefer kale on the soft side, as it can be a little tough)
4.  In a blender, add the soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Blend.  Add more water to create creamy consistency.  And then taste.  This is were you add in more salt and lemon juice to taste.  What you are looking for is a creamy, slightly tart sauce.  In the restaurant they serve this dish with a garlic tahini cashew based sauce that is amazing, but too spicy for the kids, so when I order it I just ask for the cashew cream sauce.  

Start by mixing the kale and black beans
 Then add the rice 
 And finish with the cashew cream sauce
Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Meatless Monday, Gluten Free Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Wellness Weekend, Whole Foods Friday, 


  1. Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy QueenOctober 22, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    This looks amazing Amber! I bet that cream sauce on top is just pure heaven! I love bowls that are built up like this! Each layer is like a new tasting adventure! YUM!

    1. Thanks Sarena! :-)

      I do love my cashew cream sauce. This is fun dish that my family enjoys. And it's a snap to make.

  • the 3volution of j3nnOctober 22, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    I haven't made cashew "sour cream" in a while! I'm inspired to get my cashews soaking right now. :)

    1. Oh please do give it a try and let me know how you like it. I've been dairy free for so long and miss those creamy toppings and textures, so this is such "tasty alternative." :-)

  • I just made this for my family this evening. I wasn't holding out a lot of hope since I can't get my family to eat kale to save the world. My family LOVED this! I am SO happy about this! My 4 year old had 3 helpings. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    1. Oh this just made me smile ear to ear. Thank you! I have to say, it's so simple yet so delicious! I thought the same thing the first time I ordered it for my kids at the restaurant, but they gobbled it up and it's a favorite here at home. So, so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing! :-)

      Be Well,

  • France@beyondthepeelOctober 25, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    So lovely Amber. I love this dish. I can't wait to make this. We have everything to make this and it is super nutritious.

  • YUMMY! This looks amazing!! :) I'd love a bite now! :) LOL I'd like you invite you to come back over and link this recipe (and any others up) at our Gluten Free Fridays party! It will be live for link ups tonight (Thursday) at 7:05 eastern time! I hope that you can join us!
    Cindy from

  • That dish looks amazing, but that's too bad a place called "Cafe Gratitude" was shut down. I wonder what happened. Thank you so much for sharing this on Meatless Monday :) Nice to see you there again :)

  • Rachael DeterminedDarlingNovember 5, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    O this looks delicious I need to try making this sometime soon. Pinning it!



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