Plant Based 411
By Nancy Eisman
Food in bowls is here to stay. Acai & fruits, etc., for breakfast, and anything savory during the day or night, what’s not to love about a variety of tasty, colorful and artfully arranged ingredients in a pretty ceramic, glass, metal, or paper container?
Generally referred to as Buddha Bowls because they represent a spiritual and nourishing amount, not-too-much and not-too-little, of healthful grains, protein, and cooked and/or raw vegetables. Drizzled with a sauce or dressing, and embellished with nuts, seeds, edible flowers or herbs, this one-dish meal is a perfect balance of plant-based variety, not a lot of any one thing.
Inspired by the orange and black colors of October’s Halloween holiday, this recipe I call BOOda bowl is frightfully delicious. Spiralized and sautéed butternut squash is topped with pan-fried tofu, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, and raw black radishes. Pickled white pearl onions are added for some zestiness, roasted orange peppers (bell or veggie sweet) and steamed golden beets or shredded raw beets are added for color and texture, and just a bit of roasted black garlic for its tangy, mild molasses-like flavor and ability to ward off vampires. Feel free to add white asparagus, white eggplant, carrots, or any other white, orange, or black ingredient you like – salsify anyone?
The dressing is made with blood orange juice, sesame oil, rice vinegar, fresh turmeric, s/p, and black sesame seeds. Served in a bowl or cauldron, this BOOda bowl is the perfect dish for a spooky seasonal meal.
½ blood orange, juiced
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, grated
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 package white pearl onions
¾ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Vegetable oil for sautéing
1 butternut squash, neck only, at least 8” long, 4” wide, peeled and spiralized
1 cup black radish, unpeeled and diced
1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
1 package dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and patted dry
1 orange bell pepper or 6 orange veggie sweet peppers
1 cup steamed golden beets, diced or 1 cup raw golden beets, shredded
1 package roasted black garlic
Whisk the dressing ingredients together, adjust seasoning, and set aside.
Blanch the white pearl onions in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, remove peels, and then cover with the vinegar, sugar and salt and let marinate/pickle for at least 15 minutes.
Sauté the spiralized butternut squash in a little vegetable oil for about 3-4 minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Sauté the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms in a little oil about 2 minutes and then season with salt and pepper – set aside.
Season the cubed tofu with salt and pepper and then pan fry about 2 minutes on each side – set aside.
Place a wire baking rack over the burner on your stove and cook the peppers, turning over to get all sides, until blackened. Let cool. Peel off as much of the charred outer skin as you’d like but leave some for color.
Divide the spiralized butternut squash into 4 bowls.
Artfully top each one with an even amount of the tofu, shiitake mushrooms, black radishes, roasted orange peppers, pickled white pearl onions, golden beets, and roasted black garlic. Drizzle the dressing over each bowl. Offer red pepper flakes for some devilish heat.