Spiced Chickpea & Tofu Steak Bowl

If you haven’t learned by now that I am addicted to flavors of the Asian continent, then you haven’t been paying attention. There are so many different flavor profiles, cuisines, spices and dishes to try that I worry I won’t get through them all before I die. That’s how much I love them.

So when I’m looking for something that is:

Easy

Healthy

Quick (ish)

I turn to my favorite way to enjoy a vegan meal, a Buddha bowl.

Today we have what I like to call a vegan shawarma bowl.

You get a little bit of everything with a bowl. Spiced tofu steaks, spiced chickpeas, couscous and sauteed onion and bok choy greens.

This meal requires one thing: a very well stocked spice cabinet.

You’ll need everything from cumin to smoky paprika, turmeric (for the couscous water), ras el hanout, baharrat, cardamom….you get the drift, right?

The key to perfectly spiced chickpeas? Drying the beans after you rinse them. I used canned garbanzo beans here so I rinsed them twice and lined a colander with a paper towel and tossing them until dry. Then put all of your spices–salt & pepper included–in to a bowl and add the chickpeas. Toss until well coated and put on a baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes or until it reaches desired crispiness.

This was a last minute addition to the meal because I wanted to add something green and I wanted to use the last of the bok choy before it went bad. A teaspoon of olive oil along with a halved & sliced onion until translucent and brown, then add the greens for another minute or two.

The yogurt sauce was vegan yogurt, fresh dill & parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It was a nice cooling agent if needed, or just a hint of citrus if you don’t.

The prep time on his meal is about 20 minutes but the tofu and chickpeas go in the oven, couscous is done in 5 minutes and the greens took about 10 minutes total. It seems complicated and it tastes like it takes hours to cook…but it doesn’t.

Next time you’re in the grocery store, grab a few spices you’ve never heard of and test’em out.

Mix & Match Vegan Dinner Bowls

I’ve made no secret of my love of Buddha Bowls, Burrito Bowls, Asian Bowls…you name it and I’ve pulled together the ingredients for a delicious, nutritious meal. These bowls contain everything you need for a well-balanced diet packed with vitamins and nutrients, and the best part of all is that with portion control, you’ll drop any excess weight holding you down.

The thing I absolutely love about a good bowl is that you can slap one together even if you haven’t gone to the store yet or if you don’t have a plan for dinner.

Whether you want the bowl cooked or completely raw–I’m a fan of a blend–this is an easy way to get dinner on the table without a lot of work on your part.

The question you might have is, how do I get started?

Let’s start with the grains. If you’re not super comfortable in the kitchen, start with rice because it’s easy to cook and you can find rice that cooks in 10 to 15 minutes. Besides, there are so many types of rice on the market you could probably go through a dozen vegan bowl recipes and not repeat them. Once you’re feeling a bit more confident, move on to bulgur, couscous, quinoa, amaranth and any other grain that strikes your fancy.

With the grain issue settled, it’s time to get down to the fun stuff…the veggies!

When it comes to a Buddha bowl, I try to use at least 3 different vegetables but really it depends on what I find at the supermarket or the Farmer’s Market. The bowl above has zucchini, carrots, potatoes and bell peppers, all tossed with a drizzle of olive oil, herbs & seasoning and it was tossed in the oven to cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

If you’re feeling adventurous or extra healthy, or if you just want to get a little roughage in your diet, feel free to use 2 cooked vegetables and pair it with a salad, slaw or relish.

This is a cooked corn relish I made with onion, red & green bell pepper and garlic, tossed with lime before it was plated.

vegan buddha bowl

Now it’s time to talk about the “extras”. If you want to add anything else, there’s always tofu. It’s not entirely necessary but I do enjoy cooking and sometimes I want to experiment like here, I used a jerk spice blend on the tofu to get it a little blackened and it worked really well the rice and the corn relish…plus the lemon-dill yogurt sauce!

Which brings me to the final piece of a proper bowl…sauce!

This Buddha bowl was made by the Hubs, and he prefers an earthy nutty flavor like the spicy tahini blend he used here. These sauces don’t have to be incredibly complicated or time consuming. The one pictured above is peanut butter, tahini, Sriracha and herbs.

Then, there’s yogurt based sauces which are VERY easy. Dill, lime, salt & pepper and BAM…done.

But let’s not forget about pesto! There’s always room for pesto and if you have some fresh veggie greens and a food processor, well that’s all you need! If you find your pesto packs too big a punch, add a tablespoon of vegan yogurt for a creamy pesto!

Soon, we’ll go over another favorite bowl of mine…burrito bowls!