Vegan Spanish-Style Buddha Bowl With Squash and Mango
Buddha bowls are one of the newer trendy foods I keep seeing. I made my first one recently, and everyone liked it so much that I had to try a new variant. Part of what makes these dishes so appealing is that they can be endlessly tweaked to suit your personal preferences, tastes, and what you have accessible.
Spanish-style foods are hands-down my favorite. Everything from tacos, burritos, enchiladas, paella, pupusas, empanadas, rice and beans—the whole 9. When they're made well, it comes out bursting with flavor. One of my preferred flavor combinations is mixing savory and sweet. I know this is pretty common in desserts (think chocolate-covered pretzels, salted caramel, etc.), but I've also discovered I love it in my entrees as well. I've been putting fruit in my salads for years, and I decided today was the day I was trying it in my Buddha bowl.
I know it doesn't fit the expectation of a Buddha bowl, but I love to break rules! There's very little in the way of formal rules when it comes to Buddha bowls. If you do a quick Google search, there isn't one specific definition of a Buddha bowl. It's suggested to incorporate grains, legumes, vegetables, and some type of healthy fat. But why not get creative and break some rules like the rebel I like to think I am?
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 4 cups (2 bags) cauliflower rice
- 1 squash, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- 2 packets sazon
- 1 tablespoon adobo
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- coconut oil spray, to coat the pan
- Slice and drain the tofu (see some tips on draining tofu below). Dice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Microwave the cauliflower rice as per instructions on the bag.
- Spray a large skillet with coconut oil spray. Add the tofu, adobo, chili powder, and sazon and incorporate well. Sauté on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes. Add the squash and peppers. Continue to cook until the squash and peppers soften a bit (about 5 minutes).
- Dice the mango (see below for the best way to cut up a mango).
- Place 1 cup of cauliflower rice into a bowl, then top with 1/4 of the skillet contents and half a mango. Enjoy!
How to Drain Tofu
Tofu has a somewhat spongy texture. This means it has to be drained before using it. Here's how to do it:
- Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices.
- Cover a baking sheet with saran wrap.
- Place a double layer of paper towels on the baking sheet and place the tofu slices on top in a single layer. Cover them with another double layer of paper towels and another sheet of saran wrap.
- Place another baking sheet on top and whatever you have handy that's heavy—think cookbooks or textbooks, or a watermelon.
- Let sit for about 30 minutes to ensure that you've gotten all the water out.
Other Tofu Tips
Working with tofu always seemed really intimidating to me, but once I started, I realized it's not that bad. Some other important things to note:
- Do not use an oily marinade on tofu. It won't absorb into the tofu and will wind up sliding off rather than soaking in.
- Once the tofu has been pressed dry, dice it into small pieces.
- Tofu doesn't have any real flavor that I could discern. It tasted a bit like a bland sponge when I tried it. This is why seasoning is so important. It lends some flavor to the tofu, making it so much more enjoyable to eat.
How to Dice a Mango
Mangos are another intimidating food to use for the first time. I'm sure there's a lot of ways to cut up a mango, but this is my favorite way. You'll need a cutting board and a sharp paring knife. There's a large flat pit running through the center of the mango.
- Stand the mango up (long way) and slice it about 1/4" from the center. Repeat on the other side of the pit.
- Using the knife, make shallow cuts the long way on the sliced parts (still in the skin). Make sure you don't cut through the skin. Turn the mango slice and make cuts in the other direction.
- Take a spoon and scoop the cubes out of the skin. Voila!
21 Day Fix Container Counts
This recipe is 21 Day Fix approved. Container counts for this recipe are as follows:
- 2 green containers
- 1 red container
- 1/2 purple container
Buddha bowls are by definition a food that is highly individualized and endlessly changeable. I'll periodically be posting new Buddha bowls since they're my new favorite thing, but here's some ways you can tweak this one.
- Low-carb. Using cauliflower rice instead of regular rice is a good start. Mango is a very sweet fruit, and isn't low-carb, so if you want to keep this dish low in carbohydrates, skip the mango.
- Looking to bulk up? Instead of using cauliflower rice, try sweet potatoes, white rice, or brown rice.
- No squash on hand? Use any other vegetable you want. Some that come to mind for me are zucchini, pieces of cauliflower or broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach (raw or cooked), jalapeños, basically any vegetable you like.
- Toppings. This would go perfectly with some avocado or spicy pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Add a sprinkle of tomatoes, cilantro, or hot sauce for some more flavor.
- Don't like tofu? Try beans - black beans, pinto beans, or any other kind you like.
- Cheese. If you aren't vegan, add some cheese to this. My preference would be something like a shredded taco blend. Try a little Greek yogurt or sour cream to add a smooth, creamy flavor. I'd blend it with some hot sauce because I like a tiny hint of a kick with my food.
- Are you a total carnivore? This works really well with animal protein as well. You could try using chicken, turkey, beef, or pork (if you're not kosher). If you are kosher, make sure not to include cheese if you plan to use meat.
Let me know what you come up with!
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