March 22, 2016 by Virginia James
Every so often, I’ll roam around the internet and search for some crazy delicious recipes to try out. Well, this time I didn’t find one that intrigued me… but I decided to get crazy and experiment making the ultimate vegan bowl. So we basically cooked a bunch of things and stuffed it into a bowl, and it was the best idea we’ve had all week! For this specific bowl we added, sweet potato fries, Tempura Tofu, rice, veggies, and a drizzle with sriracha.
For this delicious bowl, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 Package of extra firm Tofu
- 1 Tofu Press to squeeze liquid from tofu (you could place tofu in deep pan lined with a ton of paper napkins and place a heavy bowl on top of tofu for the same effect)
- 1 Medium Sweet Potato (also any spices you’d like to season the sweet potato with -but without salt)
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 1/4 Cup Sriracha For Tempura mixture, and extra for topping.
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond milk
- Bread Crumbs (check ingredients and avoid brands with milk/egg)
- 1 Serving of Rice (or 2)
- 1 Serving of any steamed, boiled or raw green veggies you’d like (we used green beans and broccoli)
Step One: Prep Your Tofu
Yesterday morning (it happened to be my day off work), I decided to prep the tofu so it’s got a head start and would be ready for dinner.This may take a while, but it is totally worth it if you like your tofu to have more of a tougher texture that basically mimics the texture of chicken. Here are the following steps I took:
- Unpackage the extra firm tofu and drain.
- Place tofu in a tofu press and let it sit in a deep pan or bowl for roughly 2 hours. (while waiting, I decided to watch a film; Cowspiracy, Fed up, Forks over Knives and Earthlings are all good health/vegan related ones to check out :)) Don’t have a press? See note below!
- After the 2 hours are up, carefully take the tofu out of the press and place on a cutting board.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Slice your tofu into strips about 1/4 of an inch thick.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully add your tofu strips to the parchment, and place into the pre-heated oven.
- Let it bake for about 20 minutes or until it darkens just a couple shades in color. This is just to dry out any leftover moisture from the tofu strips and toughen up the texture.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Line a dish with paper napkins and place tofu on it. Refrigerate for the rest of the day or until you’re ready to prep your bowl.
Note 1: If you don’t have a press, use a deep pan and bowl. Place as many paper napkins as possible on the deep pan and place the tofu on it. Place your bowl on top of the tofu and slowly add something heavy (oranges, grapefruit, etc.) to your bowl so that it presses down on the tofu. If you have something heavier, you could always use that instead of a bowl. A heavy cast iron, for example, would work really well here. If using this method, make sure to change the napkins about halfway through.
Note 2: if you’d like to skip this and save time, buy packaged tofu that is pre-baked. This will be a bit more expensive depending on the brand you choose, but it will be worth it if you want to save time.
Note 3: if you REALLY don’t have time, you could always prep the tofu the day before- it holds up good in the fridge overnight.
Step Two: Sweet Potato
Since the tofu was done in the morning, that was one less thing to worry about. So as dinner time rolled around we got started with the next step. Sweet potato is something that the boyfriend really loves, so we decided to throw in some baked sweet potato fries into our bowl. Here’s how we prepped that:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Take your medium sweet potato and peel it.
- Slice into rounds
- Lay each round flat on cutting board and slice those into strips.
- Toss all of your strips into a large bowl.
- Add any seasonings you like and toss the strips around until coated evenly. Here’s what we used:
- 1 tsp extra virgin Olive Oil
- a pinch of black pepper
- 1-2 tsp of italian seasoning
- A generous amount of Garlic Powder (no salt added)
- 1 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (if foil is not non-stick, spurt a thin coat of non-stick spray to keep it from sticking to the foil)
- Place your strips on the foil, making sure that they are all spread out and none are sitting on top of others.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges have browned nicely and you’ve reached your preference. We like ours super browned -but not burned- so we always check on it every couple of minutes after the 20 minute mark.
- After that’s ready, we take it out of the oven and put it aside while we work on the main ingredients.
Step Three: Tempura
This is when our kitchen got really busy last night! I’m going to leave the rice and veggie cooking instructions up to you because many people use different brands of rice (most have cooking directions in bag/box), and also because you may choose to steam or boil different veggies or even decide to eat them raw -it’s really up to you. So for the following directions, we’ll focus more on the tempura tofu 🙂
For the tempura mixture, I actually got this recipe from #HighCarbHannah, who used it to make sweet potato tempura sushi, which was also delicious! I’ll have my variation of that recipe up soon as well. I decided to take it in a different direction and use that recipe on tofu slices -this was an experiment, but it tasted so good, I decided to do it again! Here’s how I prepped that:
- Preheat oven at 425 degrees
- Make tempura mixture: stir together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup almond milk, and 1/4 cup sriracha and whisk lightly until all of the flour has dissolved, leaving no lumps.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, or parchment paper. If needed, use a non-stick spray for the surface. Set aside
- Dip each of the sliced tofu strips into tempura mixture and coat evenly, then place onto baking sheet.
- After all tofu strips are coated, take a hand full of the bread crumbs, and sprinkle over each strip. Try to cover each strip with bread crumbs as much as possible.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until browned to your preference.
While the tempura tofu was in the oven, I easily had time to make the rice and veggies on the stovetop. The rice was ready in about 20 minutes. For the veggies, I just boiled broccoli and green beans and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. By the time the tofu was done, everything was ready!
Step Four: Assemble
To assemble the bowl, I just took a serving of rice and sort of smashed it into the side of my bowl to take up 1/3 of the bowl. Then I gently placed the drained veggies in another third of the bowl. The last third of my bowl was for my sweet potato fries and Tofu. Lastly, I gave it a nice drizzle of sriracha sauce just before digging in. …and of course, I had it with a bottle of Kombucha! 🙂
It’s a wonderful, filling dish and it looks just as delicious as it tastes! I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as we did!
Let me know what you think!