When I was in first year of university, I stumbled upon this little hippy shop across the street from campus. It was there that I found my fellow vegetarians. It felt like coming home. Spelt bread, soy chai lattes, tofu and tempeh as far as the eye could see. I used to go there on a fairly regular basis to drink chai, study and pretend I was all grown up.
The stand out dish for me at that café was a rice bowl. The first time I had it I was blown away. It was everything I wanted in a dish.
It had baked tofu and steamed vegetables all lying on a bed of brown rice that had been tossed with a creamy lemon tahini dressing.
Aside from being incredibly delicious, it also helped me on my road to tofu love. Even if you hate tofu, just give this a try.
The baking process really helps to change the texture and taste of the tofu.
And although eating this is not quite the same without the smell of patchouli and peppermint in the background, you can still catch me eating this with a big mug of chai, staring off in to the distance. But this time, I’m trying to pretend that I’m not grown up at all.
- 1 batch of baked tofu (recipe on site)
- 1 head of broccoli cut in to chunks
- 2 large carrots, cut in to chunks
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut in to chunks
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 4 cups of cooked brown basmati rice
- ¼ cup Tahini
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- ¼ cup flaked nutritional yeast or more, to taste
- 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1 tsp sea salt + freshly ground black pepper,
- 3 tbsp water, or as needed
- Preheat the oven to 210 C (425 F).
- Toss broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Transfer vegetables to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Put in oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned.
- In a blender, mix tahini, garlic cloves, vinegar, ½ cup lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and water. Blitz until smooth. Season to taste.
- Toss ½ of dressing with rice and place the rest off to the side.
- Place one cup of seasoned rice in each bowl.
- Top with roasted vegetables and baked tofu.
- Drizzle with remaining sauce.
I went to university in Manchester in the early nineties. The closest thing to vegetarian food back then, at least in the circles that I moved in, was egg and chips. Maybe a Margherita pizza (although we called it a plain pizza back then).
Maybe if there had been some hippy cafes like the one Jen went to, I would have fallen in love with tofu, beansprouts and healthy food.
Part of me fears that it is too late to change now, but I know deep down that it is not. When there is delicious, nutritious food like this available, then I will choose it over egg and chips. Ninety five per cent of the time.