Some of you know that I used to work at a very well known restaurant here in The Peg and they have a menu item that I sometimes ordered after my shift called a Dragon Bowl. This bowl is, essentially, grains, a few fresh and sauteed veggies, and tofu with an Asian-inspired sauce.
While I enjoyed it from time to time, I was always left a little let down because of the lack of freshness about it and the fact that I felt the sauce weighed it down. As any good foodie does, I set out to make my own version that left me feeling full, fresh and light instead of oily and a little bloated.
My version of a dragon bowl involves far more fresh greens (they’re like my Frank’s Red Hot!), usually quinoa (although it could be any grain), garlic-ginger seared tofu and TONS of other fresh veggies for colour and crispness. Sometimes I find myself looking at my beautiful creation and wondering how I could eat anything so pretty. And then I do. Nom nom nom…
This meal-sized salad is really more about assembly than anything so you could mix up the dressing and have a totally different (but equally delicious!) salad going on. But the recipe below is pretty damn satisfying. Enjoy…and excuse the really rushed pictures I took!
Makes one large bowl for a hungry veggie lover
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp dragon sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 pound of tofu
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
2-3 cups fresh greens (spring mix and spinach/baby kale are my jam)
1/2 bell pepper, any colour
1/2 cup snap peas
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or, if you’re a cilantro fiend like me, add more!)
2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1-2 tbsp sri racha (chili garlic sauce), to taste
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup water
1.) Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce using a whisk, fork, blender, what have you.
2.) Boil the water and add the quinoa once it’s boiling.
3.) Chop and prep all the other ingredients while the quinoa is doing it’s thang INCLUDING pressing the tofu, if it’s not pressed already. This will help it to absorb all the flavour!
4.) Once everything is chopped and ready to be thrown into your giant salad bowl, preheat a pan to medium heat and toss the tofu in there (you can also add 1 tsp of coconut or sesame oil for additional flavour). Cook until one side is starting to get brown and then toss the garlic and ginger powder in there. Toss to coat all the tofu. Continue cooking until most sides are a light golden brown.
5.) Once the tofu is ALMOST totally cooked, add some of the sauce and cook for a few more minutes to let the tofu absorb all the goodness. Once the sauce is no longer liquid, turn off the heat.
6.) By now, the quinoa should be fully cooked. Add the sauce to the pot with some cilantro and give it a stir.
6.) Now, for assembly: put down a layer of greens followed by the quinoa in the centre. I like to get all fancy and disperse the veggies in their own little section within the bowl (see pictures). Add the tofu on top of everything and finish off with the rest of the cilantro.
7.) If you want, pour a couple more tablespoons of the sauce (or just plain ol’ soy sauce) on top of everything. Dig in!
Again, apologies for the terrible pictures. I don’t have a DSLR and sunlight has been at a premium these last few weeks. I hope to improve my food photography skillz soon!
See ya, Internets,