et me just say right from the start here that I detest fast food from just about every angle. What the whole business has done to our farming and food production practices, to our palates, and to our sacred family dinner hour is one of the saddest unravelings of our modern culture. Don't even get me going on fast food's evil twin, soda pop. If perhaps you're sensing a big "but..." coming from this rant, you'd be right. To every rule there is the exception.
In our neck of the woods we have a lovely "fast food" chain of restaurants called Cafe Yumm. Cafe Yumm was started over 30 years ago by a woman, Mary Ann Beauchamp, who just wanted to feed her kid healthfully. She created a delicious sauce that she put on bean and rice based bowls with fresh veggies and other nutritious ingredients. Eventually, she and her husband opened a deli where she sold her bowls, which has since evolved into the nine-location Cafe Yumm franchise enterprise of today. The modern, green-feeling restaurants greet you with the words, "Seed Flame Bowl Life," suggesting the cycle of healthy eating. Still focusing on beans, rice and liberal appearances of the luscious sauce, their motto is, "Soul satisfying... Deeply nourishing." And it is.
Living a good 30 miles away (and before this summer it was over 60 miles) from the nearest Cafe Yumm, I craved the nutritious, delicious fast food bowls all the time. Necessity being the mother of invention, I went on a quest to learn how to recreate the bowls at home, especially the umami-leaning sauce. Here is my adaptation of the addicting sauce recipe I found on a now-defunct blog called Chick Chat. It's pretty close to the commercially available Yumm Sauce, and is at least as good.
Original Yumm Sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's carries this)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 15 oz. can low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
Throw all ingredients into bowl of food processor, and blend until very smooth. Makes about 3 1/2 cups sauce. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Keeps about one week. Use on sandwiches, lightly steamed veggies, burritios, and wherever else your imagination takes you.
Replace the fresh garlic for 6-8 cloves of roasted garlic.
Add one canned chipotle chile to mixture before blending smooth.
To build an original Yumm Bowl:
(Makes 2 large bowls.)
In each of two deep bowls, layer 1/2 cup or so of hot brown rice. Drizzle liberally (we go whole-hog here, maybe even 1/3 cup each) with Yumm Sauce. Drain and rinse one can of black beans and divide among bowls. Top bean layer with your favorite fresh salsa. In each bowl, layer on 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 chopped tomato, 1/2 sliced avocado, and 2 Tablespoons sliced black olives. Add a small dollop of sour cream and some coarsely chopped cilantro. Feel free to riff on this, using various beans, rices, salsas, cheeses, veggies, etc. Yummmm!
The whole shebang takes only about 15 minutes of active time to prepare; 20 minutes total if you use basmati rice; 40 if you use brown rice. I usually make extra rice and throw it in bowl-sized portions in the freezer to make Yumm Bowls with on the fly. Now that's fast food!