Sunday, October 14, 2012

vegan mofo :: bowling – for vegans...

 Dragon Bowl: a no-brainer,  healthy meal with options for everyone

I'm a terrible bowler. Gutter balls.  Broken fingernails. Broken dreams. And let's not forget the hideous shoes. But I'm a pretty decent Bowl-er, as in a serendipitous creator of tasty Dragon Bowls. 

Dragon Bowls, aka "Bowls"

In the spirit of my VeganMofo theme, going Back to Basics, I thought I'd share another easy-peasy modular recipe. Just about every vegan, vegetarian and health food cookbook includes a Dragon Bowl recipe. In fact, they are so popular in plant-based circles that we usually drop the dragon and just call them Bowls.

Dragon Bowls have stood the test of time for the following reasons:
  1. They are quick to prepare
  2. They are efficient leftover user-uppers
  3. They are frugal [But if you're feeling extravagant, you can easily make them budget burners by using store-bought, fancy-pants ingredients]
  4. They can, in small ways, be modified to fit each diner's preferences – which makes them a fun, weekly meal theme for families with fussy eaters
  5. They require no fancy equipment
  6. They require little cooking ability
  7. They are ever-changing; you can have a different bowl every night!
  8. There are no Bowl rules – no strikes or spares – only suggestions.

For my bowl, I chopped up some Romaine lettuce that was on its way out...
Tonight, I ad-libbed a filling Bowl using some shirataki noodles, shredded carrots, leeks, edamame, peanut butter, Romaine lettuce, sriracha, and a green goddess dressing. I got a little crazy and also tossed in a few tablespoons of my Green Millet Mash-Up.

...I boiled some shiritake noodles, shredded carrots, edamame, and leeks. 
If your first few attempts taste uninspiring, fear not! After you compose a few Bowls, you'll start to get a feel for what goes with what. Best of all, you'll realize that as long as you have a grain, a protein, some veggies and a sauce, you will never again experience a dinner crisis. Adding the Bowl to your cooking repertoire is an empowering culinary act.

Bowl size is important. Left one's too big. Bottom one's too small. Right one is just right.
[Which is why it's on the right.] 
For each person, you'll need a large-ish, pretty bowl. It should have plenty of room in which to mix everything up. Plus, there's just something defiant about eating your dinner from a ginormous vessel. You can use a fork, but I prefer using chopsticks when eating a bowl, even if my bowl does not have Asian flavors. But use whatever you like best. Use your [clean] fingers if that makes you happy. Bowls are all about individualism. Try it and tell me what you made. [Now that I think about it, perhaps a better title for this post would have been "Vegans for Bowling"...]

My Dragon Bowl Formula for One

  • About 1 cup of grain [quinoa, millet, traditional pasta, ramen or soba noodles, shiritake noodles, buckwheat, kamut, etc]
  • About 1/2-to 1 cup of protein [Cubed, cooked or uncooked tofu (seasoned is best!), tempeh, seitan, legumes, soy curls, etc]
  • About 1 cup raw veggies [Chopped lettuce, onions, peppers, spinach, kale, etc]
  • About 1 cup cooked veggies
  • Up to 1/4 cup sauce [Tahini, salad dressing, hummus watered down with some broth or water, Romesco sauce, pesto, salsa for Mexican-inspired bowls, etc]
  • Toppings [Sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, non-dairy cheese
  • Seasonings

Layer the grain in the bowl. Top with your protein and veggies. Add sauce to taste, then season. Mix very well and enjoy. Doesn't get much easier, does it?

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TaraBeth said...

these look amazing, thank you for sharing this recipe! so easy yet so flavorful and healthy!

- Tarabeth

Julie Hasson said...

I love a good bowl! Your dragon bowl looks very close to what I had for dinner; ) Yum!

Kittee Bee Berns said...

I love bowls but don't eat them enough, because Dazee hates bowls (he really does). But, I do love to meat mine with chopsticks, too. Makes them taste better!


Carrie™ said...

What are those shirataki noodles like? I've looked at them, but never bought. They kind of freak me out. Are they mushy? Bowl looks delish, btw!

Celine said...

I don't think I've ever had a Dragon Bowl. I'm a bad vegan. (I've also never gone bowling. I'm a bad...human?)

Theresa said...

I've never heard the "dragon" part of the "dragon bowl" before. Bowls are a thing I should really do more often. This looks good.

urban vegan said...

You're a good everything, lady :)

urban vegan said...

Carrie: I like them with creamy sauces. I don't mind the texture--but you have to think of them as an entirely new food and not as pasta ;) I get them only when they're on sale. They are $$$

Hannah said...

Bowl-meals are my favorite sort of lunch or dinner to fall back on. One bowl means little clean up, easy eating, and generally a balanced assortment of tasty ingredients. My only requirement is tahini sauce on top! My bowl would seem naked with any other condiment trying to take that place.

Andrea said...

Bowls are our favorite meals around here. We love them with noodles or grains, tofu or beans, and lots of veggies. We make them with different sauces depending on our mood. Yours looks delicious!