What We're Cooking This Weekend: Vegan Japanese Buddha Bowl

FROM: @thelittleplantation

WHY WE LOVE IT: It's a fun way to impress your friends with a protein-filled work of art.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15-20 minutes Cook: 30-35 minutes

TOTAL INGREDIENTS: 15 plus salt

MAKE IT FOR: A protein-packed lunch or a healthy vegan replica of a traditional Japanese bento bowl.

SPECIAL NOTE: Preheat the oven to 400 °F and start by cooking the tofu. (If you need to start prep the day before or order ingredients online, we will let you know that here. Otherwise, assume the dish can be shopped, prepped and served the same day with readily available ingredients.)

INGREDIENTS:

For the bowl:
  • 1 pack of firm tofu (I used a pack of 250g), pressed and cut into little cubs
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1.5 tbs tamari or soya sauce
  • 200g of quinoa
  • 4-6 broccoli or broccolini stems
  • 4-6 little gem lettuce leaves (or any other greens you have available), washed
  • 1 carrot, peeled, washed and cut into little sticks
For the toppings:
  • 2 tbs of pink peppercorns (optional, but a lovely extra)
  • 1 blood orange, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped (optional)
For the Quick and Easy Savory Granola: 
  • 75g whole almonds
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the Dressing:
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 200C/400 °F. Then take your tofu and discard the water it came in. Place the tofu on a kitchen towel to soak up any residual moisture and gently place another kitchen towel on top, press lightly, carefully absorbing more moisture.
  2. Next, cut your tofu into equal-sized cubes, place in a container, pour over the tamari sauce and oil and combine well. Grab a baking tray, cover it with non-stick paper/grease-proof paper, place your tofu cubes on top and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the tofu cubes start to brown.
  3. Whilst the tofu is baking in the oven, cook your quinoa, by first washing it and then placing it in a pot together with about 400ml of water and bring to the boil. Then simmer with a lid over the pot for approximately 20 minutes.
  4. As the tofu is still in the oven and the quinoa cooking away, quick blanch the broccoli by pouring boiling water over it for 5 minutes, then draining the water away with a strainer. Set aside. Cut up and wash the carrots, oranges, lettuce leaves and spring onions and set aside too.
  5. Next, make the dressing by combing all ingredients in a little container (I used a small glass). Set aside.
  6. Finally, prepare the quick and easy savory granola by measuring the ingredients, and placing them all in a non-stick pan over a low to medium heat, mixing continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to melt, in total this should take no more than 10 minutes. You’ll make way more than you need, but please just put the extra granola in an airtight container and sprinkle over future salads and such :).
  7. Place all the ingredients in 2 bowls, leaving the toppings, granola, and dressing to be added last. Serve immediately and enjoy!