It’s been a little while since I shared a plant-based recipe with you guys and seeing that The Little Plantation is first and foremost a vegan food blog, I thought it was about time I got back in the kitchen and prepared something for you. I shouldn’t actually say that this vegan dish is just ‘something’ and instead name it for what it is: EVERYTHING.
Now before you think I’m a conceited cook, I’d like to let you know that today’s recipe is in fact adapted from the brand new cookbook BENTO POWER: BRILLIANTLY BALANCED LUNCHBOX RECIPES, conceived, shot and written by my incredibly talented instagram friend, Sara Kiyo Popowa. You may know Sara on instagram as @shisodelicious where she shares her lovingly made, colourful plant-based bento box meals. But, does the idea of plant forward Japanese inspired bento boxes translate into a great cookbook? I’ll tell you what I really think and let you know how you can win a copy.…
SO WHAT'S THE BOOK LIKE...
BENTO POWER is an absolutely GORGEOUS cookbook! The photos are to die for and overall the cookbook is so well thought out, with lots of attention to detail. The design is stunning and as you flick through the cookbook you just know how much love, care and attention has gone into its creation. It’s palpable. I feel so honoured to have received my copy for free (the perks of being a food blogger) but truth be told, I’d have gladly gone to the bookstore and spent £18.99 to own it. It’s simply that good.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK INCLUDE...
Sara very helpfully includes a section on what bento actually is, how to construct a bento box, how to make your plant-based Japanese meal as nourishing as possible, whilst at the same time keeping the information she shares easy to understand and accessible.
Further highlights include the array of colourful and delicious looking recipes including tons of plant-based Japanese inspired breakfast ideas and 15-minute bento meals. The cheatin’ bibimbap bento, the fluffy grain-free pancakes and today’s recipe which in the book is called the granola salad bento, were some of my personal favourites.
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF...
Though BENTO POWER is certainly very plant forward, it’s not a fully vegan cookbook and consequently some recipes (including today’s in fact) refer to the use of honey and/or eggs. However, the honey can be easily swapped for maple syrup and eggs can be replaced by a vegan protein (I used tofu in today’s creation). Hence I don’t feel that this is a big issue, even for my vegan readers :).
The other thing I would point out is that you need to have some key Japanese staples in your cupboard to make most of the recipes happen - tamari or soy sauce, sesame seeds, brown rice vinegar and sesame oil crop up throughout the book. But, having them in your kitchen is the only way you’ll be able to get those Japanese flavours to come through ;).
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN A COPY
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED! All you need to do for a chance to win is tell me: What’s your favourite cookbook on your bookshelf and why?Please be quick with your answers, entry to this giveaway closes at midnight (Greenwich Time) on Friday, February 8th, 2019. The winner will be picked and notified within a week of the closing date. THE WINNER IS MARCIA. CONGRATULATIONS!
Please note that this competition is open to UK residents only. Therefore, I'd be super grateful if you can be clear when you comment whether you live in the UK or not. And even if you don't, please still feel free to let me know what your favourite cookbook is. I'd love to know. Good luck!
Recipe below :).
VEGAN JAPANESE BUDDHA BOWL RECIPE
Recipe adapted from BENTO POWER to suit the winter season I’m in and to suit the bits and bobs available in my cupboard ;). BTW please do not let the long ingredients list put you off. This recipe is UTTERLY delicious and well worth all the little steps and final touches. I therefore hope you’ll enjoy this meal as much as I did.
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BOWL:
1 pack of firm tofu (I used a pack of 250g), pressed and cut into little cubs
1 tbs walnut oil
1.5 tbs tamari or soya sauce
200g of quinoa
4-6 broccoli or broccolini stems
4-6 little gem lettuce leaves (or any other greens you have available), washed
1 carrot, peeled, washed and cut into little sticks
2 tbs of pink peppercorns (optional, but a lovely extra)
1 blood orange, sliced
1 spring onion, finely chopped (optional)
INGREDIENTS FOR THE QUICK AND EASY SAVOURY GRANOLA
75g whole almonds
25g sunflower seeds
1/2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tamari or soy sauce
1 tbs maple syrup
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt and pepper
Start by pre-heating your oven to 200C/400F. Then take your tofu and discard the water it came in. Place the tofu on a kitchen towel to soak up any residual moisture and gently place another kitchen towel on top, press lightly, carefully absorbing more moisture. Next, cut your tofu into equal sized cubes, place in a container, pour over the tamari sauce and oil and combine well. Grab a baking tray, cover it with non-stick paper/grease-proof paper, place your tofu cubes on top and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the tofu cubes start to brown.
Whilst the tofu is baking in the oven, cook your quinoa, by first washing it and then placing it in a pot together with about 400ml of water and bring to the boil. Then simmer with a lid over the pot for approximately 20 minutes.
As the tofu is still in the oven and the quinoa cooking away, quick blanch the broccoli by pouring boiling water over it for 5 minutes, then draining the water away with a strainer. Set aside. Cut up and wash the carrots, oranges, lettuce leaves and spring onions and set aside too.
Next make the dressing by combing all ingredients in a little container (I used a small glass). Set aside.
Finally, prepare the quick and easy savoury granola by measuring the ingredients, and placing them all in a non-stick pan over a low to medium heat, mixing continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to melt, in total this should take no more than 10 minutes. You’ll make way more than you need, but please just put the extra granola in an air tight container and sprinkle over future salads and such :).
Place all the ingredients in 2 bowls, leaving the toppings, granola and dressing to be added last. Serve immediately and enjoy!
BTW - Never want to miss a cookbook giveaway or a vegan recipe? Then please join my mailing list at the end of this blog post. I'd love to have you on board.