For Vegan MoFo, I’m doing a series called Back in Thyme, in which I travel to other periods of my life. Today I’m setting the date to the year 2009, when I would regularly visit Flore Vegan Restaurant and have this Buddha bowl with baked tofu…
We have a bird feeder just outside our dining room window. One of the kitchen table chairs acts as a kitty perch, where the cats watch Feline TV and make catcalls to the birds outside who are having dinner. The birds don’t seem to notice or care, but it gives the cats a chance to be as menacing as their adorable, furry selves can manage.
Knowing how hard it can be to wait for your favorite shows to come back on television, I try to keep the birdseed in full supply, so that the cats don’t miss their program. This means that with some regularity, I go to the grocery store to get a huge bag of birdseed. And whenever I leave the store, hefting a 20 pound bag, I always laugh to myself, thinking about if someone were to catch a picture of me at that moment – a vegan with an enormous bag of birdseed leaving the grocery store. I think of them sizing me up and saying, “Yep. That’s about what I thought.”
When it comes to so-called “vegan food,” people have a lot of opinions. In addition to seeds, they imagine it’s all tofu, rice or barley, carrots, tahini, sprouts, avocado, and kale chips… Oh, did I tell you that I have a recipe for you?
That’s right. As much as I always talk about how vegan food is just food (and it is), the truth is, I like all of those crunchy, granola foods for which vegans are mocked. I like green smoothies, green juices, hemp seeds, coconut water, and yes, I also like salt & pepper potato chips and cookie dough coconut milk ice cream too.
Welcome to a who’s who of much maligned plant foods… When a vegan throws a dinner party, this is likely what people fear they will be serving.
This bowl was inspired by the Basmati Brown Rice Bowl I would often get at Flore, a vegan restaurant in Silver Lake, California. (You can find my write-up about their restaurant here.)
For this Buddha bowl, I use my go-to baked lemony tofu recipe. Not only is a big batch of baked tofu good for a bowl like this one, it’s also so handy to have as a straight-out-of-the-refrigerator snack, slipped into sandwiches or salads, or added to stir-fries for a quick weeknight meal.
For the grain, I opt for barley or brown rice, but you could go with quinoa, millet, farro, or whatever tickles your fancy. It’s then topped with all of the carrots, avocado, sprouts, and kale chips your heart desires.
Enjoy the filling warmth of the tofu and brown rice. Revel in the crisp texture of the kale chips against the creamy, nutty tahini. Sink your teeth into the fatty goodness of avocado until every drop is gone. After all, sometimes an Iowan has to have corn-on-the-cob. Sometimes a cat has to meow. And sometimes a vegan has to have a dinner of tofu & kale chips.