Here in New Zealand, winter is fast approaching meaning we’ll soon be chipping ice off our windscreens with our old bus cards. Typically in winter, well for me anyway, the temptation for hot, mostly unhealthy, food rises. Lately I’ve been discovering new meals that are healthy and perfect for winter.
Meaning: A hearty, wholesome bowl so full that it is rounded like a Buddha’s belly. Commonly filled with grains like rice or quinoa, greens, roasted and raw veggies, nuts, seeds and a dressing.
Buddha bowls are wonderful for getting a lot of nutrients from wholesome, plant based foods. They’re a great option for salad eaters who want a change and are great for winter because they’re filling and can have hot and cold elements.
A lot of people have told me that they hate tofu because it tastes likes a gross sponge. Granted, it can taste gross if not cooked well. The secret is preparation. If you have time the morning before, make the marinade and soak the tofu throughout the day. This ensures the flavours have time to absorb into the tofu.
Also squeezing as much moisture out of the tofu before hand will help it absorb the marinade better, adding to the flavour.
Prep the tofu by cutting it into slices or cubes. Lay a few paper towels underneath it and a few on top of it. Place a heavy frying pan or chopping board on top and leave for 5 minutes. If the tofu appears to have a lot of moisture, change the top paper towels and replace the chopping board for another few minutes.
Next, place the tofu on a baking tray and drizzle with a bit of oil and toss to coat. Bake at 180C for about 15-20 minutes, tossing in the middle, until the edges start to brown.
Remove from the oven.
Make the marinade and place the tofu in it. Mix it around a few times to evenly coat then glad wrap and place in the fridge for the day. If you didn’t have time to prep, pop it in the fridge whilst you prepare the rest of the meal.
I’ve found this is the best way to make sure your tofu has the most flavour in it. Later, you will fry the tofu in a pan to crisp it up before adding it to the Buddha bowl. This is my favourite way to make tofu as it is crispy and sticky and full of flavour.
Buddha Bowl Veggies
When I make different Buddha bowls I always love have a few cooked elements and also some raw veggies too. I love researching benefits of different vegetables and it helps me decide which ones i’m going to put in my Buddha bowl.
Beetroot: This Buddha bowl has roasted beetroot in it which I absolutely love. It’s hearty and delicious and great for boosting your immune system, which we all need during the winter.
Broccoli: It’s has a long list of nutrients in it but is especially good for getting a boost of calcium. Vegetables with a variety of ingredients are great for keeping the body healthy everyday and can prevent chronic diseases.
Red Onion: Red onion is a lot like broccoli with a variety of vitamins and minerals although I tend to add it for taste more than anything.
Spinach: It is commonly known for packing lots of iron but not many people know that it also has a decent amount of protein in it (yes you can get protein from plants) and calcium. Pretty much an all round super food.
Capsicum: This veggie is proven to prevent macular degeneration and improve vision. It also packs a decent amount of vitamin C which is great for immune boosting during winter.
Avocado: Known for being a healthy fat, they also contains more potassium than bananas.
If you haven’t tried a Buddha bowl yet,you really need too. These bowls are delicious, nutritious and a wonderful way to pack in the vitamins and minerals over winter. Here is the recipe for this wonderful Buddha bowl.
Crispy Tofu Buddha Bowl w Roasted Beetroot
A healthy, nourishing Buddha bowl perfect for packing in a decent amount of vitamins and minerals.
FOR BUDDHA BOWL
- 1 Packet of firm tofu
- 2 Beetroots
- 1 Cup of broccoli
- 1 Capsicum (any colour)
- 1/2 Red onion
- 1/2 Cup of spinach
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1 Cup couscous
- Olive oil (dressing)
FOR TOFU MARINADE
- 2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp tahini
- 1 tsp aoli (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cut beetroot into cubes and place on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Cut tofu into cubes and place between paper towels. Place a heavy frying pan or chopping board on top and leave for 5 minutes to press out all the liquid. Place tofu on a separate baking tray and drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Place in oven and bake for 15- 20 minutes or until the edges appear golden.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade and place aside.
- Cut broccoli florets in half and cut onion into slices. Set aside
- Cut all other ingredients as desired. Set aside.
- Remove tofu from oven and place in bowl with marinade. Toss to coat.
- In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add broccoli and red onion and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
- Whilst broccoli and red onion are cooking, heat a little oil in another frying pan over medium heat.
- Add tofu to pan and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.
- While tofu is cooking, bring 1 cup of water to the boil in a small pot. Add couscous to water, turn off heat and cover. Leave for 5 minutes.
- Remove beetroot from oven.
- With a fork, fluff the couscous.
- Place the couscous in the bottom of the bowl. Top with spinach, capsicum, broccoli, red onion, spinach, roasted beetroot, tofu and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil or your favourite salad dressing. Enjoy!