I’ll be honest with you. This month’s Recipe Redux challenge of cooking up a “plant protein power bowl” gave me a touch of anxiety. How many times have you gone to your fave social media feed and saw perfectly manicured, gorgeous plant based protein bowls and thought, “wow, that looks amazing. I wish my food looked like that!” Then, you realize the recipe has a TON of ingredients, requires multiple cooking procedures and your final product just doesn’t look like the original pic that the photographer probably spent a lot of time poking and primping to look just right. I don’t have that kind of time!!! Therefore, I wanted to give you something that was FAST n’ EASY and something that can easily be brought to the office for lunch.
My lunch at work is often a plant protein power bowl. Throw a bunch of ingredients into a container and nuke it in the microwave. This is what they usually look like. Not very Instagram worthy I must say, but they are pretty darn tasty.
“Bowl” meals aren’t about following a specific recipe. I’d rather follow a loose formula to create a mish-mash of delicious and healthy ingredients. Plant powered bowls are filled to the brim with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, healthy fats, and protein. You also won’t get hungry right away after eating them. The fiber and protein help the satiety factor linger for hours. And, what’s the best part of plant based bowl meals? It’s a fantastic way to clean out the fridge!
Here’s my formula for delicious plant powered bowls:
Note: Cheese, many pestos, and yogurt based sauces like tzatziki are vegetarian rather than strictly plant based.
Protein: tofu, tempeh, seitan, beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, edamame
Grain/starchy vegetable: Sliced sweet potatoes, corn kernals, quinoa, rice, wild rice, wheat berries, farro, spelt, millet, barley, sorghum, bulgur, polenta, kamut, amaranth
Grains also contain a good amount of protein. Quinoa, sorghum, spelt, kamut & amaranth contain some of the highest amounts in the grains category.
Veggies: anything and everything! Veggies can be raw, sauteed, roasted, steamed, microwaved. Personal faves include kale, red cabbage, bok choy, winter squashes, cauliflower, broccoli, roasted carrots and beets, raw cucumber
Sauce: hummus, tahini sauce, pesto, tomato sauce, thai peanut sauce, tzatziki, salsa, pico de gallo, vinaigrette, cashew “cheese” sauce, salsa verde, extra virgin olive oil, nut oils
Garnish: avocado, sauerkraut, sliced almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, pomegranate seeds, strong cheeses like feta, parmesan, or blue cheese
My Curried Chickpea, Sweet Potato, Tofu & Veggie Bowl with Tahini Sauce is a staple I often bring to work and heat up in the microwave. If you’re the type of person that hates tofu, try sprouted, high protein, super firm tofu. The texture is so firm that it’s almost like eating cubes of cheese! Wildwood brand is pretty easy to find at the grocery store. I only just discovered this product last year and it’s been a staple in my fridge ever since! No need for pressing to drain the water out! Between the chickpeas, tofu, veggies, pepitas, avocado and tahini sauce, you’ll easily top 20 grams of protein for 1 bowl.
This is a prep the night before, bring to work and heat in the microwave for lunch type of dish. Throw most of the ingredients into a container, microwave to cook and top with the sauce + garnish. Easy!
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped broccoli
- 1/3 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup packed chopped or torn kale leaves (ribs removed)
- 3 ounces sprouted high protein tofu, cut into small cubes, about 1/2"
- 1/2 cup diced peeled sweet potato
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon white miso
- 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce or sriracha
- 2 Tablespoons water
- Small pinch kosher salt
- 1/3 of an avocado, diced
- 2 teaspoons pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- Place the broccoli, chickpeas, kale, tofu, sweet potato, curry powder and olive oil into a microwave safe container. Place cover on top, but leave slightly ajar. Cook on high for approximately 4-5 minutes or until sweet potatoes are just tender.
- In a small bowl, mix the tahini, miso, chili garlic sauce, water and salt until smooth. Pour just enough sauce over the veggie-tofu mixture until everything is coated. You may have some sauce leftover.
- If eating at work, add avocado and pepitas to the container and enjoy!
- If not eating at work, place contents of container on a plate. Top with avocado and pepitas.
You can also add the avocado to the container and heat with the veggie-tofu mixture. Hot avocado tastes amazing and it's a lot easier to include it in the main bowl, rather than bring it in a separate container to work.