Bowl food is to be huggable, comforting, and naturally nourishing. This recipe, inspired by the smoky, spicy, creamy, and bright flavours of Southwestern cuisine, came together when I needed all of those aspects in one complete meal. With this combination, I’ve partnered warm brown rice, sweet potatoes, spiced baked tofu, and kale with a luxuriously smooth, dairy-free pumpkin seed sauce. It’s mellow yet rich, and had me nearly licking the bowl clean.
The recipe I have here is plant-based, fully vegan, but you can play around with the add-ins if you’re looking to include a different source of protein. What I enjoy most about grain bowls are their versatility, easily switched up with what appeals to your mood–or what you have in the fridge–at the time.
Grain Bowls with Smoky Tofu and Pumpkin Seed Sauce Recipe
A gluten-free and vegan bowl recipe with sweet potato, brown rice, kale, smoky tofu, and creamy lime pumpkin seed sauce. Inspired by the flavours of Southwestern cuisine, this naturally nutritious meal is appealing on all levels, and to all palates.
2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled or peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 cup uncooked short-grain brown rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 pkg extra-firm tofu, pressed to remove excess water
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 bunch (4 to 5 cups) de-stemmed kale, roughly torn (leave some water clinging after washing)
Creamy Pumpkin Seed Sauce
1/3 cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or a mixture
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp recently boiled water
Zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic
- For the bowls, arrange over racks to accommodate two trays and preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sweet potato rounds in a large piece of parchment-lined aluminum foil and make a package, securing edges. Roast on top rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, add the brown rice and water to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender.
- In the last 15 minutes of the sweet potatoes’ cooking time, add tofu to a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with the smoked paprika until evenly covered. Move sweet potatoes to the bottom rack and place tofu on the top rack, and bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and hot. Remove tofu from oven, and then place kale on top of tofu and bake for an addition 2 minutes, until wilted and dark green.
- For the sauce, add all sauce ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
- To serve, in four bowls, divide rice, sweet potato, kale, and tofu, and then top with a generous drizzle of sauce.