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Grateful For Dinner: Easy Version Of Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Whole” Bowl

by Sarah E. December 02, 2012


Even with all the weird Landmark stuff and employee lawsuits and everything else I still think Cafe Gratitude is the shit (pardon my French, I’ve just returned from a trip to Montreal!) and I will forever love the restaurant, its creators, the cookbooks from the brand, and everything about the experience of dining there.

While living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had easy access to four Cafe Gratitude locations: the Berkeley restaurant, which was super near my apartment while I was living in Berkeley, the San Francisco Harrison St. location while I was living in the Mission District, the Whole Foods in-store mini cafe in Oakland near my nonprofit jobs in downtown Oakland, and the San Rafael location while visiting The Chocolate Puma in gorgeous Marin.

When I recently lived in LA for a few months, the Larchmont Cafe Gratitude location nourished me after yoga classes and fueled me for my journey to Babycakes NYC a few hundred feet down the road. Cafe Gratitude has since closed some locations and branched out to Los Angeles and beyond (Kansas is SO lucky!) and I’ve moved to the East Coast (for now!)

Since re-locating to Philly, I’ve really been craving the “I Am Whole” bowl for a while. While I’m due to return to LA to eat at Cafe Gratitude visit my incredibly amazing brother Asher, I decided that it’s time I make the dish from scratch and stop relying on the amazing chefs at Cafe Gratitude to get my Whole fix. I own the I Am Grateful cookbook and it has a super detailed version of the entree mapped out, and though I’ve glanced at it plenty of times while searching through for other recipes, I’ve found it difficult to bring myself to take all of the elaborate steps necessary to make it.

Tonight, I decided to make a super-easy, inauthentic but delicious version of the “I Am Whole” bowl. Instead of using the recipe in Cafe Gratitude’s cookbook (which I highly recommend picking up, by the way!) I winged it and took shortcuts and the results were really delicious. The dish wasn’t quite as awesome as the dish at the restaurants–the kale wasn’t massaged properly, the Aduki beans came from an Eden Organics can rather than being lovingly stewed, sauerkraut was substituted for the restaurant’s homemade kim chee, I didn’t cut the carrots brilliantly, the tahini sauce was very simple–you get the idea. But still, the results were really solid. I truly am grateful for this dish and the restaurants that inspired it, and invite you to make it for yourself or your family, knowing full well that you’re filling your body(ies) with super yummy whole ingredients!


Easy Version Of Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Whole” Bowl (Serves 1, easily doubled)



1-3 cups Raw Kale

1/2 cup quinoa

1/4 cup aduki beans

1/4 cup raw sauerkraut

1 carrot, chopped into little pieces

2 strips raw wakame, pre-soaked and cut into little pieces

Nori strips (optional for garnish)

Sauce: *Note: You’ll have leftovers of sauce if you use these proportions, I just wasn’t sure how to make a smaller amount*

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 tsp tamari

1 Tbs chickpea miso

1 Tbs tahini

1 tsp apple cider vinegar


Blend the tahini-garlic sauce and prepare all other ingredients (cook the aduki beans and quinoa, pre-marinate the wakame, etc.) Layer the bowl as such: Add raw kale to the bottom of your bowl. Next, add quinoa, aduki beans, wakame, carrots, and sauerkraut and nori strips if using. Then, drench in glorious tahini-garlic sauce. Enjoy!

Question: Do you have a favorite dish from a restaurant that you’ve made before or are interested in making? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Sarah E.
Sarah E.


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