Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vegan Goodness : Dragon Bowl

I am continuing on my more healthful eating journey, and I am hoping it is less of a "diet" and more of a permanent change. However being in the food industry, and sometimes having to stare at delicious images of food all day I think strict denial would be a form of masochism.   I still indulge in treats like ice cream once in a while (try Haagen Dazs half the fat lemon). I have been dabbling in raw, vegan and vegetarian eating for the last few months. The family is accepting it, and last weekend my daughter agreed to have a green smoothie with breakfast. I had been making a fruit smoothie in my blender, serving my kids and then adding greens, such as spinach, kale or rocket to the blender to make my own "swamp" smoothie.  It tastes delicious, but is not incredibly photogenic. I guess my daughter needed to watch me happily drink my own swamp smoothies for a few days before she was brave enough to try.  In the spirit of full disclosure she did not enjoy rocket in her smoothie, but is happy with spinach or kale.    

At first I have to be honest in that I felt very hungry much of the time.  I was having three small meals a day with lots of fruit and vegetables, but I was so used to that overly full feeling that comes with eating lots of bread, dairy and meat that it did take some getting used to. It seems I  have turned that corner.  The benefits seem to be some weight loss, a peaceful stomach, and a strong immune system. I have dodged a few bad colds, and a nasty stomach flu to date. 

Cooking in this way, and preparing meals my whole family will enjoy is greatly inspired by one of my all time favorite restaurants in Montreal:  Aux Vivres.  I think I have mentioned Aux Vivres here before (probably several times). It is a very popular vegan restaurant, and I can honestly say I would be happy eating there every day.  I love their BLT made with smoked coconut instead of bacon.  I love their drinks, spicy chai tea, dark chocolaty desserts and especially their Dragon Bowl.  The Dragon sauce that accompanies the dish is heavenly.  I have searched on line for the recipe and have tried a few that were decent but not quite right.  With a little tweaking I think I have finally succeeded!   A bowl of cooked grains (brown rice at Aux Vivres),  is topped with tons sliced raw vegetables,  and finished with a slice of grilled tofu or tempeh and tons of sprouts. It is satisfying, healthful and incredibly filling.  You do not have to be a vegan to love this meal.

Dragon Bowl
serves 4
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 250 ml (1 cup) quinoa
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons)  tamari soya sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) fresh ginger root, minced
  • 454 g (1 lb) tofu or tempeh, sliced in four
*Dragon Sauce:
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) nutritional yeast
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) white miso
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) filtered water
  • 30 ml (3 tablespoons)  maple syrup 
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) tamari soya sauce
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) rice vinegar
  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 carrots, peeled julienned
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 small cucumber, julienned
  • 250 ml (1 cup) red cabbage julienned
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  •  Sufficient quantity daikon sprouts or other sprouts (daikon sprouts are a little spicy for little mouths)
  • Sufficient quantity fresh coriander or basil
  • Wedges of lime (optional)
  • Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil, add the quinoa, turn the heat down to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Take the saucepan of the heat, remove cover and let sit 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork before serving.
  • In a shallow dish add the first quantity of tamari soya sauce, garlic and ginger.  Take the slices of tofu or tempeh and press them into the soya mixture to coat each slice.  Lightly oil a grill pan and grill each piece for 2 minutes on each side to heat through and create grill marks.
  • Combine all ingredients of the sauce in a blender and puree until smooth (a hand held blender or food processor works just as well).  Divide the quinoa among 4 bowls. Divide the vegetables over the quinoa.  Top each bowl with a piece of grilled tofu or tempeh, sprouts and coriander or basil. Serve the sauce on the side with a wedge of lime.

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