JAPANESE BUDDHA BOWL

I am a HUGE Buddha bowl fan, as you will come to see ūüėČ

Buddha bowls are simply a combination of plant-based ingredients, such as grains, veggies, fermented goods, and nuts & seeds.

One of my favorite go-to Buddha bowls is this Japanese-inspired bowl, containing marinated tofu, freshly pickles veggies, avocado, and quinoa.

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JAPANESE BUDDHA BOWL

Prep time: 15 minutes (+time for marinated tofu & pickles)

Baking time: 30 minutes

Author: Envi Eats

Type: Buddha Bowl

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

MARINATED TOFU
  • 12 oz extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp¬†rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
BUDDHA BOWLS
  • Avocado
  • Pickled radishes, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, etc.
  • 1 cup quinoa (or brown rice)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice pressed tofu into cubes or flattened squares (as I did, picture above). Add the tofu to a tupperware and add soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, and sesame oil. Shake and let sit for at least 1 hour, or over night. Prepare the pickles.
  2. Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F. Once the tofu is marinated, place on a lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
  3. If the quinoa is not yet prepared, do so with 1 part quinoa: 2 parts water. Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. (This can also be done is a rice cooker with the same ratios).
  4. Remove the tofu from the oven when it is crisped on the edges and firm to the touch, around 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  5. Create a simple sauce by adding soy sauce and wasabi together and mixing vigorously. Add more wasabi for bite, and more soy sauce for umami.
  6. Prepare the Buddha bowl by adding cooked quinoa, sliced avocado, pickled veggies, and baked tofu slices to a bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds, Sriracha, and/or the soy/wasabi sauce.

 

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SPICY TOFU BANH MI SANDWICHES

I’d consider myself a sandwich lover.

And this is my all-time favorite sandwich: a banh mi.

As a vegetarian, I have yet to try a banh mi in a restaurant (they are almost always made with pork belly), but I have always been obsessed with the smells, colors, and flavor combinations of these sandwiches.

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I have spent many months perfecting a vegetarian version of this Vietnamese classic, and have tried many recipes (my favorite coming from Love & Lemons).

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This sandwich starts with baked, spicy marinated tofu and a fresh¬†baguette, and is topped with peppery Sriracha mayo, homemade pickles, and cilantro. It’s the perfect combination of spicy, peppery, bread-y, and pickle-y.

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SPICY TOFU BANH MI SANDWICHES

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 40 minutes

Author: Envi Eats, adapted from Love & Lemons

Serves: 4 

INGREDIENTS

SPICY MARINATED TOFU

  • 1¬†package of extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 tsp¬†sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced (removed of seeds if sensitive to spice)
  • 1 tsp black pepper

BANH MI SANDWICHES

  • Fresh baguette
  • Mayonnaise, or vegan mayo
  • Sriracha
  • Black pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh pickles

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make 1 day before: Press tofu 15 minutes, then slice it into 1 inch thick strips (picture above). Combine all of the spicy marinated tofu ingredients in a sealed container and allow to marinate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the marinated tofu on the baking sheet and allow to bake for 20 minutes. Flip, coat with a layer of leftover marinade, and allow to bake for 20 more minutes. Let cool before serving.
  4. Combine mayo, black pepper, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Ratios are based on preference; I love spicy flavors, so I add mayo and Sriracha in equal parts (2 TBSP each), then add pepper (~1 tsp).
  5. Slice the fresh baguette into sandwich sized portions. Smear with Sriracha mayo, add a few baked tofu slices, and top with fresh pickles and cilantro.

NOTES

Tofu will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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EASY PICKLED VEGGIES

I’m a fermented food guru. Miso, kefir milk, sourdough bread, kombucha, beer, yogurt…I think you get the idea. All of these foods are packed with probiotics (bacteria and yeast which aid in your digestion and general health), and pair well with many dishes.

One of the easiest things to ferment at home is pickled vegetables. They are crisp, salty, vinegary, and are extremely simple to make.

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I commonly use cucumber, daikon, radish, jalapeno, cabbage, and carrot, but any hard veggie will work. Pictured above is a batch of jalapeno, garlic, cucumber, and daikon pickles. My favorite ways to eat these pickles are with homemade Banh Mi sandwiches, on brown rice with seared tofu, in Buddha bowls, and on veggie burgers!

 

EASY PICKLED VEGGIES

Prep time: 10 minutes

Fermenting time: 24-36 hours

Author: Envi Eats

Type: Fermented Food, Side

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • firm vegetables, cut into matchsticks (ie. daikon root, jalapeno, cucumber, carrot, garlic, radish, etc.)
  • white wine vinegar and/or¬†rice vinegar*
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 pinch of¬†sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Thinly slice the rinsed veggies into matchsticks or thin rounds, and place into any sized jar; add enough veggies so that your jar is full. Add jalapenos for more spice, and smashed garlic cloves for bite.
  2. Cover the veggies half way with the white wine and/or rice vinegar, and add the salt and sugar. Fill the jar with water until the veggies are all submerged. Cover and shake to mix.
  3. Let chill for at least an hour or up to a week; the longer you store the veggies, the more flavor they will have.

NOTES

*I like the flavor of rice vinegar more, so I tend to make these pickles with only this, or with a higher percentage of rice vinegar over white wine vinegar.

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CLASSIC MOSCOW MULES

IT’S MULE SEASON!

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Purchasing ginger beer from a grocery store can be expensive, and the packaging is over the top¬†(glass AND cardboard). Beyond that, I haven’t found a store bought ginger beer that balances ginger bite with sweetness. Because of this, I have opted to start homebrewing ginger beer!

It’s cheap, produces zero waste, and is customizable.

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CLASSIC MOSCOW MULES

Prep time: 30 minutes

Fermenting time: 24-36 hours

Author: Envi Eats

Type: Beverage, Cocktail

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

HOME BREWED GINGER BEER
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 lemon, juiced*
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
SPICY SIMPLE SYRUP
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup honey (or other natural sweetner, such as agave or cane sugar)
  • 1 knob ginger
MOSCOW MULE
  • 1 cup home brewed ginger beer
  • 1/4 lime, juiced
  • 2-4 tbsp honey simple syrup
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Fresh lime wedge for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add 4 cups of water, the juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 cup of grated ginger to a pot and bring to a full boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve it. After the sugar dissolves completely, add the rest of the cold water (4 cups), and allow the mixture to cool completely.
  2. Once the mixture has reached room temperature, stir in the yeast and cover the pot with a towel. Allow the yeast to rise in a dark, undisturbed place for 2-3 hours.
  3. Add the mixture to a 64 oz growler, or to any 2-liter container, making sure to leave a few inches of head space for the carbonation to occur.** Store the bottle(s) in a cool, dark place for 36-48 hours, occasionally checking the the brew for carbonation build-up. You’ll know when the ginger beer is fully carbonated when you hear a hissing noise.***
  4. Store the ginger beer in the refrigerator to chill and to significantly slow down carbonation.****
  5. For the spicy simple syrup, cut ginger into matchsticks, and combine all ingredients in a small pot. Boil over high heat, then reduce to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the reduced simple syrup into a glass jar for serving.
  6. To make a single Moscow Mule, add 1 cup of ginger beer, 1/4 of a freshly squeezed lime, spicy simple syrup (use more for a sweeter drink), and 2 ounces of vodka to a copper cup full of ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

NOTES

*I typically use 1 Meyer lemon, but any lemon will work great.

**Carbonation occurs as a byproduct of metabolism when yeast consume sugars and oxygen. Using an air-tight container for carbonating will trap the CO2 byproduct in the ginger beer, making the resulting beverage fizzy.  By leaving a few inches of head space in the container, the built up CO2 in the ginger beer will have a place to escape once the pressure in the bottle is released. Too much head space will lead to an uncarbonated beverage, and too little head space will likely make the bottle explode.

***CAUTION: bottles will explode if left to carbonate for too long. As CO2 is produced by the yeast, it will carbonate the liquid. Once pressure is reduced (by twisting the cap), the CO2 will be released from the ginger beer in the form of tiny bubbles. If the ginger beer is over carbonated, the liquid could explode from the container when the pressure is released. WHEN RELEASING PRESSURE FROM THE CARBONATING BOTTLE, DO NOT POINT THE CAP AT YOUR FACE, AS IT COULD PROPEL FROM THE BOTTLE AT A HIGH SPEED. I suggest always releasing pressure over the sink, in the off chance that the beverage is over carbonated.

****Metabolism speeds are greatly reduced in cooler temperatures. By placing the bottle in the refrigerator, you will essentially be stopping yeast metabolism, thus halting carbonation.

Ginger beer recipe adapted from The Roasted Root.

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