Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or an omnivore looking to add more vegetables to your diet, I’m sure you’ve come across plenty of vegetarian dishes that were more about covering up the vegetables than showcasing their awesome flavors and textures. While I’m no longer vegetarian, I still make an effort to cook vegetarian meals at least 2-4 times/week and not just for the health and environmental benefits, but mostly because I just love the flavors and textures you can come up with. When I first started cooking for myself in college I was vegetarian, but my idea of vegetarian food was to douse rice, beans, and veggies in copious amounts of soy sauce or pre-made, sugar-laden marinades. It wasn’t until I discovered Life Alive Café in Cambridge, MA that I realized the potential of vegetarian cooking. One bite of their Rebel Bowl and I was hooked. While I would love to be able to get take-out from Life Alive every night, my schedule and budget are not flexible enough for that. Instead, I’ve been trying to re-create this veggie-heaven-in-a-bowl at home. And, I must admit, I’ve gotten pretty darn close.
Life Alive’s Rebel Bowl consists of beets, broccoli, kale, carrots, tofu, quinoa, short-grain brown rice, flax oil, tofu, and their famous Sesame Ginger Nama Sauce. Looking to make this myself, I knew the veggies and tofu wouldn’t be a problem, same with the quinoa and short-grain brown rice (trust me on this one, please get short-grain rather than long-grain rice! It provides a chewiness to the dish that is addicting). But the flax oil and Sesame Ginger Nama Sauce would be more difficult. I ended up nixing the flax oil as it is pricey and I knew I wouldn’t use in enough right now to justify the purchase. The ginger sauce was a matter of trying and re-trying and re-trying again. While it’s not a perfect copy of Live Alive’s sauce, it’s still very delicious and doesn’t overpower the veggies.
For the beets, I made it easy on myself by purchasing pre-cooked beets. But, if you are feeling ambitious, you can buy raw beets and cook them yourself either by roasting or boiling them.
This is another great recipe for lunch leftovers. It saves well and tastes just as good cold if you don’t have a way to heat it up during the day. So here’s a toast to letting the vegetables be the star of dinner tonight!
Rebel Veggie Bowl
For the Honey Ginger Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbs fresh ginger minced
- 2 Tbs honey
- ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
For the Bowls
- 1 package very firm tofu drained and pressed
- ½ lb carrots peeled and diced
- 1 head broccoli chopped
- 4 cups kale chopped
- 4 small pre-cooked beets diced
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- ¾ cup uncooked short-grain brown rice
- 1 recipe of Honey Ginger Sauce
- Prepare quinoa and short-grain brown rice according to package directions. In general, for ¾ cup of quinoa or rice, use 1 and ½ cups of water.
- While grains are cooking, dice veggies and cube tofu (make the cubes quite small). Steam carrots and broccoli until tender. Add kale, beets, and tofu to the steamer and continue to steam until beets and tofu are warmed through. Remove from heat.
- Make Honey Ginger sauce by whisking together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- When grains are done cooking, divide among 6 plates and top with veggies. Drizzle sauce over each plate (you may have leftover sauce). Toss well and enjoy!