This nourishing dish (or bowl, rather) is like yoga in a meal. Cooked brown rice (or any hearty whole grain, like farro) topped with vegetables from the earth (sweet potatoes, yellow and orange carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, avocado) and the sea (seaweed-I used wakame, but nori, arame, or hijiki would also work). Tofu, when steamed, becomes satisfyingly firm and chewy even without any oil, and adds healthy vegan protein. The orange vegetables contain Beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that reduces cell damage, helps maintain good vision, and boosts your immune system. Asparagus is a diuretic and will cleanse your system. But seaweed is probably my favorite ingredient here. It is one of the most beneficial hormone-balancing foods for women, and one of the few plant sources of vitamin B12. And in Korean culture, new mothers eat a brothy, healing seaweed soup for weeks, an ancient tradition that apparently originated when whales were observed eating seaweed after giving birth. (How amazing is that?!) It’s also the ultimate diet food–1/2 cup only has 16 calories, and in 2006, Japanese scientists found that fucoxanthin, the brownish pigment in wakame, stimulates the burning of body fat. Pour the sweet and sour ginger dressing on top, and you have the most balanced and delicious meal in a bowl to heal you–mind, body, and soul.
Earth and Sea Buddha Bowl with Sweet Ginger Dressing
1 1/2 cup steamed brown rice, or any whole grain
1/2 block extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2″ thick squares
1 medium sweet potato, 3/4″ dice
1-2 medium carrots (I used one each of yellow and orange, for color), sliced diagonally
10-12 stalks asparagus, chopped into 2″ pieces
5-6 medium sliced white mushroom, or any other mushroom (shiitake, oyster, enoki, etc)
1/2 cup dry seaweed like wakame
1/2 medium Hass avocado, in 1/4″ slices
2 1/2 tbsp agave syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced very fine
1-2 small garlic cloves, minced very fine
a dash of gomashio (sesame salt)
1. Put water in a large pot with a steamer. In the steaming tray, put sweet potatoes, carrots, and tofu, in that order. Put the steamer pot on high heat until boiling, then reduce to medium-low heat. Steam for about ten minutes.
2. In the meantime, soak the dry seaweed in water for about 5 minutes, or until it is fully rehydrated. Drain and squeeze water out completely, then chop thinly and set aside.
3. Lift the lid of the steamer and add the asparagus and mushrooms–be careful as the steam will be very hot. Close the lid again and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the asparagus turns bright green. Immediately take off the heat and lift the lid, so that the asparagus and mushrooms don’t overcook.
4. Make the dressing by whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl.
5. To assemble, lay the brown rice at the bottom of the bowl, then top with each of the steamed vegetables and tofu. Add the chopped seaweed and avocado, then sprinkle generously with gomashio. Pour the dressing to taste.
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling – Buddha Bowl Recipe