Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways, all delicious and easy to make. This might be my favourite new dinner when I’m craving Sushi, which is often, but don’t want the fuss of rolling and forming. Instead they all come in form of a cosy bowl that you can customize to your exact preferences.
    Use rice or buckwheat as base, top with fresh or pickled veggies and fruit, chose your protein or vegan tuna to top and you have dinner ready for the whole week.

     

    Why You Will Love This

    Delicious as Sushi but Without the Fuss

    Have you ever had an irresistible craving for Sushi, but no restaurant or takeaway nearby and you really couldn’t be bothered with all the shaping and rolling? Then this recipe is for you. It does away with the fuss and only leaves the enjoyment of a nutritious bowl with all the flavours you love.

    Poke at Home

    Have you heard about Poke Bowls? I bet you have. And they always look so tempting, don’t they? Yeah, I think so too.

    If you haven’t: Poke is essentially a Hawaiian dish made from raw fish that is tossed in sauce and eaten as snack or main dish. The most common seasonings include soy sauce, sesame oil, mayo, sriracha and spring onions. You can vary it endlessly to make it your own.
    I have added fresh ginger and rice vinegar in my sauce, as I just love how it reminds me of sushi and transforms the flavour of the fish.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Salmon Bowl

    Typically Poke is just the raw fish in its sauce, but over the years these mixed bowls have become a rather stunning fusion dish, likely stemming from a mix of Korean bibimbap mixed with the Hawaiian Poke. Personally I’m a big fan of fusion kitchen, since it takes and combines the best parts of different kitchens and creates something new.

    So in that tradition of mixing styles, I took ingredients that are commonly used in Sushi, where the fish is served simply raw and unmarinated, and combined it with the Poke tradition of mixing it with different flavours and sauces.

    Versatile Toppings

    I’m giving you 4 different options here, mainly differentiated by their protein or rather topping I should say, as one of them tastes like tuna, but is not a protein, but watermelon.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Protein/Watermelon Tuna

    Tofu is another great topping, which you can even make in the air fryer.

    And of course the two classics, both very easy to source: Salmon and Prawns.

    It also comes with a range of pretty impressive health benefits, among them being high fibre, magnesium, and vitamin B content, making it a great alternative grain.
    Mind you: Even though it’s name has “wheat” in it, it’s not related to wheat grain and contains no gluten.

    Dressings

    Three different dressings are given below, all take just minutes to assemble. Choose one or make several, to vary your bowls over the week.

    We have an Asian Soy-Ginger-Lime dressing that doubles as marinade for tofu or Salmon, a Sriracha Mayo and a Wasabi mayo.

     

    Wait, did you say Watermelon Tuna?

    Watermelon? Seriously? That is sweet I hear you say. And you’d be right of course. But the simple process of marinating it with soy sauce, sesame oil and nori, then baking it and marinating once more, gives it both texture and flavour that is as close to raw tuna as I have ever experienced.

    Watermelon “Tuna”_Process

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t invent this method and could not figure out who did unfortunately, as I’d love to give credit to this genius idea! But I found a variety of different recipes and picked my favourite while varying it slightly to suit my preferences.
    The one I started from was by “Chef Studio”, showing a very easy way to make your own.

    While they use the leftover marinade as it is for the second time marinating, I decided to boil mine down, to get rid of the unnecessary water from the melon that gathered in it from the first round of marinating, resulting in a more intense flavour and less watering down what we just cooked out in the oven.

    2 Choices of Grains for the Base

    As a base I’m using sushi rice in 3 of the bowls and cooked buckwheat in the last. While I love rice, the buckwheat has a nuttier flavour and can be prepared very similar to rice and essentially tastes like sushi rice, if you mix it with sushi seasoning.

    Veggies and Fruits

    As usual in my main dishes I prepare for the week, I use as many different fruits and vegetables as I can possibly fit on top of the bowl.

    In this case I used partially my Quick Pickled Vegetables, a longtime favourite on my blog and partially raw. I just love the crunch and acidity you get from pickling and the zing this option lends to the grains. They are super quick to make too.

    But if you aren’t a fan of pickles or just don’t feel like pickling, feel free to use raw ones. A soy or mayo- sriracha sauce on the side with add plenty of flavour to your bowl.

    I know I’m walking the line with the fruits. They seem to be the marmite of the bowl and salad world. But personally I very much enjoyed both mango and fresh pineapple on these bowls. Leave them out if you don’t. Your bowl, your topping choice. That’s the beauty of them.

    Note on the long Ingredients List

    Since I made 4 different bowls and wildly mixed the toppings during the week, the list is fairly long.

    But if you are not as decision adverse as I am, when it comes to the variety of what you’ll eat during the week, you can very easily par it down to a pretty short list. Simply pick one base, one sauce, one protein and some of your favourite toppings and you are set.

    Ingredients

    As usual, I’m stating just a few key ingredients here and why I used them. Please refer to the recipe for the full list.

    The Grain Base

    Sushi rice is certainly the easiest to find and likely the most familiar tasting if you are going for the typical flavour profile.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Sushi Rice

    But if you feel a tiny bit more adventurous or just want to add more fibre to your diet, try out buckwheat groats. Ideally in form of Kasha, which is the toasted variant.
    While you can toast your own, I felt during my tries that it’s never as even as the pre-toasted version and tends to get a bit mushy. It will still taste great but might not look as pretty.

    At the time of making these bowls, I only had raw buckwheat groats, so that’s what I used.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Buckwheat Groats

    Other great base options are cauliflower rice, brown rice or even couscous, which are easy to prepare and taste great with the sushi seasoning.

    The Protein

    Salmon or prawns – Use the freshest products you can find. Ideally from a fishmonger you can tell you if your fish is fresh enough to be eaten raw.
    I took a bit of a risk with mine, buying a packet of super fresh looking salmon and prawns from Tesco, that had 6 days left on their “use by” date, which seemed good enough to me. Please carefully check the date before you buy and once you open it, smell it. It should smell like fresh seawater with a hint of salmon/prawn. If it smells in any way bad, do not use it.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Salmon

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Prawns

    Tofu

    I used extra firm Tofu from the Tofoo co., which is readily available at Tesco here and tastes lovely.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Tofu

    Watermelon

    Now, while watermelon is obviously not a protein, I’m listing it here as it will act like our tuna.
    While you’d usually go for the sweetest and ripest melon you can find, if you are eating it raw, that would be counterproductive for this use.
    Instead try to get one that is under ripe, as it will be less sweet and have fewer black seeds. They are also usually a bit on the firmer fleshed side, which is exactly what we want for the tuna-like texture.

    Watermelon “Tuna”_Ingredients

    Nori

    This is what puts the “tuna” into the watermelon. You can find nori sheets for sushi in pretty much every supermarket these days. Just cut one piece into tiny snippets using scissors. Don’t leave this out, as it’s the essential ingredient.

    Vegetables

    The options are endless here. Think Sushi and Asian bowls and go from there. You can use whatever you enjoy in your bowl.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Ingredients_Veggies and fruit

    I used some of my favourites which included

    – Red cabbage
    – Carrots
    – Cucumber
    – Mini sweetcorn
    – Radishes
    – Avocados
    – Spring onions

    Apart from the avocado and spring onions, I had pickled and fresh versions of them all and found both delicious.

    You could also use edamame beans (which are near impossible to get here), fresh peas, pickled onions, daikon radish, seaweed, micro greens, red peppers, or zucchini.

    Fruit

    Going with the Hawaiian theme from the Poke, I added fresh mango and pineapple to some of the bowls and absolutely loved the sweet freshness they brought to the party. If you are a pineapple pizza hater, maybe leave them out.

    Sauce

    My personal favourite was a sauce I mixed from soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, honey, and ginger. It felt closest to the Poke Sushi theme I was going for.
    I used it to marinade the salmon and tofu and to drizzle over the finished bowls. So if you go with one of those 2 toppings, make double.

    Soy dressing/marinade ingredients

    A note on soy sauce: I prefer Tamari or reduced salt soy sauce, especially from Kikkoman. If you are using Chinese dark soy sauce, you might have to adjust the amount, as it’s very salty.

    If you like a creamier and hot version, a simple mix of sriracha, mayonnaise, lime juice and honey will be lovely.

    Sriracha Mayo_Ingredients

    Or swap the sriracha for wasabi, to add a different type of heat. I mixed 0% fat greek yoghurt into both, as I wanted a lighter dressing.

    Wasabi Mayo_Ingredients

    Other Toppings

    No bowl is complete without fun additions that make it really sing.
    In this case I went with pickled sushi ginger, black and white sesame, and optional wasabi.

    FAQ

     

    Sushi Seasoning

    No sushi seasoning? No problem. Just make your own.
    Mix 1 cup rice vinegar, ¼ + 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt and whisk until sugar and salt have dissolved.

    Are Poke Sushi bowls healthy?

    They absolutely can be. Combining a source of carbs, protein and a variety of different vegetables gives your body all the nutrients it needs and keeps your gut bacteria happy.
    I love to add at least 5 different veggies and some fruit to my main meal and these Poke Sushi Bowls are now exception. Basically you get all your 5-a-day in one irresistible dish.

    But what about raw fish?

    As long as you make sure to use really fresh fish, it’s perfectly healthy and eaten in Japan and Hawaii on a regular basis.
    However, if you are unsure or have a compromised immune system (I do due to my arthritis drugs, but never had any issues), you could use smoked salmon for example or one of the other toppings. No danger in the watermelon “tuna” for sure.

    Also both prawns and salmon have lime in their marinade, which partially “cooks” them via the acid.

    But I hate fish!

    I get you, I really do. I have a weird, deep dislike for any fish that is not deep fried. Unless it’s raw.
    Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But fresh, raw fish tastes a lot less “fishy” than cooked fish of any sort. And the texture and flavour are more like a really tender filet steak (properly cooked that is, medium/raw).
    So if you want to enjoy the benefits of fish, especially oily ones like salmon, with all their protein and omega 3, but hate most cooked variants, you might want to give this a go. It’s my absolute favourite way to eat it!

     

    The Process

    This part will look fairly long, as I’m covering the different bases and toppings. Simply skip to the bits you’d like to use in your bowl.

    Quick Pickles Vegetables

    If you decide to pickle your veggies, do that first by following my recipe for it. It just takes a few minutes to make and lasts for over a week in the fridge. So you’ll have crunchy pickled veggies for all kinds of dishes and cravings.

    FreshVegetables

    Slice and chop your vegetables of choice into bite sized pieces. Store in separate containers, to assemble later.

    Watermelon “Tuna”

    While the watermelon “tuna” isn’t a lot of work, it does take a while due to the marinating and baking time. So ideally prepare it the day before.

    Cut the skin off your watermelon and cube it into about 1in pieces and drop them into a large freezer bag. They will shrink quite a bit as they bake.

    Watermelon “Tuna”_Process
    Mix all remaining ingredients except the rice vinegar and pour over the melon pieces. Close the bag and shake, to distribute them and cover every bit of melon. In a box or deep dish, where the bag can lay relatively flat, so the cubes are in one layer, store in the fridge to allow to marinate for at least 6h or overnight.

    Watermelon “Tuna”_Process

    Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C.
    Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Once ready to bake, carefully pour the now watered down marinade through a sieve into a small cooking pot. We will boil this down to concentrate the flavours while the watermelon bakes.

    Watermelon “Tuna”_Process

    Distribute the marinated cubes on the parchment lined baking sheet, so they are in one layer, ideally with a tiny bit of space in between them.

    Bake for 1- 1.5h, turning them carefully once, until their texture resembles raw tuna. Try one and see if it needs a little longer if in doubt. They should already be delicious.

    While that is baking, reduce the marinade by boiling it rapidly until you have about ½ cup left. Add the rice vinegar and leave to cool.

    Watermelon “Tuna”_Process

    Once your “tuna” is baked, transfer to a heat proof bowl and drizzle over the marinade. Leave in the fridge for at least 1h, up to 5 days. The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour will be.

    Tofu

    This is next on the list of “takes a while, but is very easy”, as tofu has to be pressed, to remove some of the water content and then marinated to flavour it.

    Start by pressing your tofu. You can do this by simply wrapping it into a clean, dry kitchen towel, putting it between 2 wooden boards or trays and putting something heavy on them to weigh it down. Or, if you’d rather have a less precarious version, get a tofu press like this.
    Whichever method you use, leave for at least 1h. Overnight is fine too.

    Pour away the liquid that has gathered and cut your block of tofu into about ½ in cubes. Transfer to a bowl or freezer bag for marinating.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Tofu marinade

    Mix the soy dressing/marinade ingredients together and pour one portion over your tofu cubes. Leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 1h or longer.

    While your rice is cooking, fry your tofu cubes until golden brown. You can do this in a pan, with a little oil, or in the air fryer.

    To air fry, preheat your air fryer to 400°F/200°C-
    Spray the cooking basket with a little cooking oil. Lay out the tofu cubes in one layer (depending on your air fryer, you may have to do this in batches) and cook for 9 minutes. Slide out the basket, toss the cubes, then cook for another 2-4 until golden brown and delicious.

    Salmon

    Remove any bones and skin from your salmon. Cut into bite sized cubes (about ½ in). Transfer to a freezer bag or lidded container.

    Mix the soy dressing/marinade ingredients together and pour one portion of it over the salmon cubes, turning them to make sure they all have marinade on them. They don’t need to be fully submerged.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Salmon

    Marinade for about 30min-1h. Serve raw. It will be slightly “cooked” by the marinade.

    Prawns

    Wash your prawns and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a bowl with a lid or freezer bag.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Prawns marinade

    Mix the juice of the limes, salt and ginger and pour over your prawns. Leave to marinade for about 30min to 1h. Serve raw. They will be slightly “cooked” by the marinade.

     

    Sriracha/Wasabi Mayo

    In a small bowl, stir all ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

    Sushi Rice

    Rinse the rice under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan. Add the water and salt, then bring to a boil. Stir, cover, lower the heat to the minimum, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is fully absorbed. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Sushi Rice
    Stir in sushi seasoning until well distributed.

    Buckwheat Groats

    If not toasted, quickly toast it on a dry skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.

    Stir in the buckwheat into boiled water and cover saucepan with lid. Bring back to a gentle simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the water is absorbed, 13-15 minutes.
    Remove from heat and let the buckwheat rest covered for 10 minutes.
    Stir in the sushi seasoning. Fluff with a fork.

    For a more detailed recipe including troubleshooting tips for Buckwheat Groats, have a look at this one from “Olga in the Kitchen“.

    Assembly

    Build your bowls starting with your carb of choice. Add about ½ cup of rice or buckwheat to your bowl. Top with your vegetables and/or fruit, then your protein or Watermelon “tuna”.

    Drizzle with dressing of your choice. Decorate with sesame seeds, pickled ginger and, if you like, extra wasabi.

    Dig into your stunning and addictive Poke Sushi Bowls, gratulate yourself for your fantastic food choices.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways

     

    Meal Prep

    Everything in these bowls can be prepared in advance, though for the raw fish options, I would recommend eating them the same day or latest the next day if your fish was very fresh.

    Store every ingredient in separate lidded containers in the fridge, to keep it from going soggy and assemble when you are ready to eat.

    These bowls also make a fantastic work lunch, if you assemble in the evening and just grab one from the fridge in the morning. The tofu and watermelon “tuna” will both keep for 4-5 days.

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways_Meal Prep_Vegan "Tuna"

    Please Leave a Comment

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    For other Asian inspired recipes take a look at these:

    Chinese Duck Pancake Salad with Plum Dressing

    Pork Banh Mi

    Vegan Tom Kha Soup

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways

    Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways, all delicious and easy to make. This might be my favourite new dinner when I’m craving Sushi, which is often, but don’t want the fuss of rolling and forming. Instead they all come in form of a cosy bowl that you can customize to your exact preferences. Use rice or buckwheat as base, top with fresh or pickled veggies and fruit, chose your protein or vegan tuna to top and you have dinner ready for the whole week.
    Prep Time 45 minutes
    Cook Time 2 hours
    Resting/Marinating time, depending on topping 1 day
    Total Time 1 day 2 hours 45 minutes
    Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
    Cuisine Asian, Fusion
    Servings 6
    Calories 350 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    Vegetables of choice, pickled or fresh

      I used:

      • ¼ head red cabbage sliced
      • ½ lb Radishes sliced
      • 1 cucumber sliced
      • 3 carrots julienned
      • ½ lb mini sweetcorn halved
      • 2 avocados sliced
      • 1 mango cubed
      • 1 pineapple cut into chunks

      Protein/ “Fish Like” topping of choice:

      • 1 lb salmon very fresh – Soy, sesame, rice vinegar marinated

      or

      • 1 lb shrimps very fresh

      or

      • 1 lb extra firm tofu

      or

      • Watermelon “Tuna”

      Watermelon “Tuna”

      • 1500 g watermelon seeded & peeled (about 1 medium melon) chopped into about 1in cubes
      • ½ tsp salt
      • 1 tbsp sesame oil
      • 2 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed
      • ¼ cup tbsp tamari or soy sauce
      • 1 sheet nori cut into small pieces
      • 2 tbsp rice vinegar

      Marinade/Dressing

        Make double if you are topping your bowl with Salmon or Tofu

        • 3 tbsp Shoyu or soy sauce Tamari or soy
        • 3 tbsp lime juice about 2 limes
        • 1 tbsp sesame oil
        • 1 tbsp honey
        • 2 tsp Ginger grated
        • 2 spring onions sliced to top after marinating

        Prawn Marinade

        • 4 limes zest of 1, juiced
        • 2 tsp ginger grated
        • ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste
        • 2 spring onions sliced to top after marinating

        Wasabi-Mayo

        • 2 tbsp Mayo
        • 2 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
        • ½ lime juice and zest
        • 1 tsp honey
        • ½ - 1 tsp Wasabi

        Or

          Sriracha Mayo

          • 3 tbsp Mayo
          • 3 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
          • 1 tsp Sriracha
          • ½ lime juice
          • 1 tsp Honey

          Sushi Rice

          • 1 cup sushi rice
          • cups water
          • 1 tsp kosher salt
          • 2 tbsp sushi seasoning

          Or

            Buckwheat Groats

            • 1 cup buckwheat toast, rinse
            • 1 ½ water
            • 1 tsp kosher salt
            • 2 tbsp sushi seasoning

            Instructions
             

            Quick Pickled Vegetables:

            • If opting for pickled veggies, prepare them using the recipe provided above in the post. This step is quick and can be done ahead, offering crunchy pickled vegetables for various dishes.

            Vegetables Fresh:

            • Slice and chop your choice of vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Store them separately to assemble later.

            Watermelon "Tuna":

            • Prepare the watermelon "tuna" a day in advance for optimal flavor.
            • Remove the skin from the watermelon and cube it into 1-inch pieces. Place them in a large freezer bag.
            • Mix all remaining ingredients except rice vinegar and pour over the watermelon. Seal the bag and shake to coat evenly. Refrigerate in a flat container for at least 6 hours or overnight.
            • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
            • Strain the marinade into a pot and boil it to concentrate flavors while the watermelon bakes.
            • Arrange marinated watermelon cubes on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 1-1.5 hours, turning once, until the texture resembles raw tuna. Adjust the baking time if needed.
            • Reduce the strained marinade, add rice vinegar, and let it cool. Drizzle over the baked watermelon "tuna" and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 5 days.

            Tofu:

            • Press tofu between two boards or trays with weights on top for at least 1 hour or overnight.
            • Discard the accumulated liquid and cut tofu into ½-inch cubes.
            • Marinate in a mixture of soy dressing for at least 1 hour.
            • Fry the marinated tofu until golden brown in a pan with oil or in an air fryer preheated to 400°F/200°C for 9 minutes, toss, then fry for another 2-4 minutes until golden brown.

            Salmon:

            • Remove bones and skin from salmon, then cut into bite-sized cubes. Marinate in soy dressing for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

            Prawns:

            • Wash and pat dry prawns, then marinate in lime juice, salt, and ginger for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

            Sriracha/Wasabi Mayo:

            • Mix all ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

            Sushi Rice:

            • Rinse sushi rice, then cook with water and salt for 15-20min until fully absorbed. Let it rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in sushi seasoning.

            Buckwheat Groats:

            • Toast buckwheat on a dry skillet until golden brown if not already toasted.
            • Cook buckwheat in boiled water for 13-15 minutes until tender, then let it rest covered for 10 minutes. Stir in sushi seasoning.

            Assembly:

            • Start with a base of rice or buckwheat in each bowl.
            • Top with fresh vegetables/fruits, protein (tofu, salmon, shrimp, or watermelon "tuna").
            • Drizzle with desired dressing and garnish with sesame seeds and pickled ginger.
            • Enjoy your vibrant and flavorful Poke Sushi Bowls!

            Notes

            Please note: For this particular recipe, as there are so many variables, I'm not giving specific nutrition calculation, but rather an average for the sushi bowls as I made them. This will vary depending on the sauce, protein, grain and vegetables you are using, so it's just a very rough estimate.
            Similar for the cooking and preparation time.
            The 2 days resting and 2h cooking are for the Watermelon "Tuna", which simply needs a while to take on the flavor. But it's very little hands on work.
            The average hands on work would be around 45min plus cooking and marinating time for rice/Protein.
            Everything in these bowls can be prepared in advance, though for the raw fish options, I would recommend eating them the same day or latest the next day if your fish was very fresh.
            Store every ingredient in separate lidded containers in the fridge, to keep it from going soggy and assemble when you are ready to eat.

            Nutrition

            Calories: 350kcal
            Nutrition Facts
            Poke Sushi Bowls 4 Ways
            Amount per Serving
            Calories
            350
            % Daily Value*
            * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
            Keyword For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, meal prep, Protein, vegan, Vegetarian, versatile
            Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            This super pretty pink Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein will brighten up your table while bringing you a zesty and nutty tasting cake that is very easy to make. The sponge is full of pistachio-orange flavour, while still feeling light enough to have it any day with a nice cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. What’s more: It comes with about 10g of protein per slice, meaning you get your nutrition from your dessert. The candied orange slices are optional, but highly recommended and once you made them, you’ll wonder why you ever bought them, it’s so simple.

             

            Why You Will Love This

            I mean look at it! Doesn’t it lift your mood simply because it’s there? It sure does for me. But if you need more reasons, here we go.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            Easy to Make

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein is essentially a very simple sponge cake you can whip up in a few minutes. The only special equipment you’ll need is a food processor, do grind the pistachios, as they can be hard to find pre-ground.

            The icing comes together in seconds and the candied oranges take just a few minutes on the hob and some drying time.

            This cake is just as good as impressive centre piece for afternoon tea with guests, as it is to have just by yourself during the week, because of how easy it is to make and how well it keeps due to the pistachio-rich batter.

            Pretty Pink and Entirely Natural Icing

            Blood Oranges give you an incredibly pretty icing without any food colouring. Even though not all of them have the dark red shades on the skin, the juice tends to be a really intense red, which will colour the simply icing sugar mix just on its own. No colour needed.

            Protein

            If you read some of my dessert recipes, you probably noticed I include protein powder in most of them. This is because I made dessert essentially a main meal. Due to my busy fulltime job, I rarely have time to eat breakfast, so usually I meal prep lunch and something sweet for the evening on my weekends, to have it ready during the week.

            Now, would I eat “normal” desserts, which usually have very little nutrition, that would probably not be a good idea. But I try to incorporate fruits, nuts, protein, and nutritionally dense carbs in everything I make, meaning I fuel my body with them and there is no reason to feel bad about eating them.

            Dessert for Breakfast. Or Dinner?

            The above distribution of my meals (including this Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein) is very intentionally structured around what I feel like eating at the time of day I have the food.
            Usually, having “lunch” as my first meal, I feel like something savoury, ideally with lots of veggies, that will fuel me until dinner.

            While in the evening, after the stresses of the day, I almost always crave something sweet. Do I use the food to reward myself? Absolutely. But by doing this in an intentional way and including all the nutrition my body needs in it, I feel pretty great about it too.

            Pistachios for Lovely Contrast and Flavour

            This recipe was inspired by one from “Nistisima” by Georgina Hayden for a vegan walnut-orange cake, that is often eaten during fasting.
            I wanted protein in my cake and pretty green pistachios instead of walnuts, to provide a contrast to the bright colours and flavour of the blood oranges. Also slightly lower calories. So I adapted the recipe accordingly.

            The Ingredients

            I’m giving just a few of the ingredients here and why I used them. For the full list, please see the recipe.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Ingredients

            Blood Oranges

            Blood oranges are in season, so I wanted to make a dessert that really showcases their pretty colour and bright, intense flavour. I feel this Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein does just that. Both their juice and zest are used in the sponge, more juice to make the pink icing and they get candied to create an amazing and very snackable topping.

            They also contain lots of fibre and vitamin C together with and whole range of other nutrients, meaning they are really good for you. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/blood-orange-benefits

            If Blood Oranges are not in season, you can of course use normal oranges. They just won’t add the pink colour to the icing. Or use blood orange juice from the fridge in your supermarket. I’ve seen one brand having it relatively regularly.

            Pistachios

            While it was near impossible to get shelled pistachios in Ireland for a while, they are slowly becoming more common. I found mine at Holland & Barrett, but also saw some at Dunnes.
            Depending on where you live, you might want to check health food shops for them, as they seem to be easier to find there.

            Pistachios are rich in nutrients, one of the lowest calorie nuts and high in protein.

            That being said, Pistachios are not a “nut” in the biological sense, but rather in the same family called “drupes” together with cashews and almonds. Which also explains their affinity with most foods that almonds go so well with.

            If pistachios are very expensive where you live, you could replace either half or all of them with almonds and the cake would still be delicious. Just not as pretty light green.

            Protein

            I’m using as usual my favourite (neither sponsored nor affiliated) MyProtein Whey. In this case their Buttered Popcorn flavour.
            Vanilla flavour would work great too.

            You could use vegan or casein protein powder, which I read are especially great for baking, but I absolutely despise the flavour of all vegan powders I have tried, and found MyProtein Whey to work rather fantastic in any dessert. So swap at your own risk.

            Apart from the beneficial added protein, the powder replaces part of the plain flour and sugar, which brings the nutrition up and the calories down. Win/win.

            Whole Wheat Flour

            To up the nutty flavour of this cake, I swapped part of the more typically used plain flour for whole wheat flour. Fine to be specific. This is particularly nice for cakes, as it’s finer ground than the typically coarse whole wheat flour you’d use for bread, but still has all of the nutrition of the whole grain.

            Icing

            Blood Orange Icing_Ingredients

            All you need for the pink icing is icing sugar and blood orange juice. Extremely simple and very delicious. It also “seals” the cake, keeping in the moisture, so it will last for a few days on your counter.

            Candied Oranges

            Candied Blood Oranges_Ingredients

            I know, everything candied sounds so very complicated, doesn’t it?
            I can assure you, it’s not. Orange slices, sugar and water is all you need. It’s entirely made on the hob. A sugar thermometer is needed.

             

            Making this Cake Vegan

            To transform this cake into a vegan one, simply replace the 2 eggs with another 1/2 cup of light olive oil and use a vegan protein powder.

            The Process

            The Candied Blood Oranges

            Start by making the candied oranges if you chose to include them. This will make a few more than you need, which is perfect, as they are great for nibbling.

            Prepare a sheet pan with a wire rack by placing some baking parchment under the wire, for less mess to clean up later.

            First bring a pot with water to the boil and prepare a bowl of iced water. Once boiling, gently lower your orange slices into the water and simmer for 2 minutes, taking them out with a slotted spoon when done and plunging them into the ice bath. This will remove some of the bitterness from the peel.

            Candied Blood Oranges_Process

            Next add your cup of sugar and ½ cup of water to a medium saucepan. The little red flecks you see in the pot above are orange juice from the cut off ends I squeezed into it.

            Stir while bringing it to the boil, so the sugar can dissolve. Once it boils, stop stirring and just swirl the pot occasionally, to prevent sugar crystals from forming. If any form on the sides of the pot, use a wet brush to push them down.

            Let the syrup come to 225°F/110°C, then gently and in layers, lower all the orange slices into it.
            Continue to simmer the mix until it reaches about 230°F/115°C (Keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to turn into dark caramel accidentally) while carefully turning the orange slices once with thongs or a spatula. Once the target temperature is reached, your syrup should be fairly thick.

            Pick out the now candied orange slices one by one with a fork or thongs and place on the wire rack. Be sure to keep a bit of space between them, so they don’t stick together.
            Leave to cool for at least 1h.

            Candied Blood Oranges

            If you are not using them immediately, they can be stored in a lidded container in the fridge for up to a week. So you can prepare them ahead of time. Ideally keep them in single layers on baking parchment, to keeping them for becoming one huge sticky orange piece.

            The Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            Start by greasing a springform and line the bottom with baking parchment. This is easiest if you lay the parchment over the loose bottom, then fasten the ring around it and cut off the overlap.

            Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C

            In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or with your stand mixer, whisk together sugar and oil. Note the sugar won’t entirely dissolve, as it might in butter. That’s fine. Just whisk for a few minutes until it’s mostly there. Add the eggs one by one and mix until light and foamy and the sugar has dissolved. In doubt rub some of the mix between your fingertips. If it’s still slightly grainy, mix a bit longer until it feels smooth.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Process

            Now you can add all the remaining wet ingredients and the protein powder. Continue whisking until really smooth and foamy. This will add lift to the sponge.

            In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients, keeping ¼ cup of chopped pistachios back for garnish later.

            Add the dry to the wet and gently fold in with a spoon or silicone spatula until no dry flour remains. Don’t overmix, or you will develop the gluten and your sponge will become tough.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Process

            Pour the batter into your prepared springform. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, rotating once if your oven bakes unevenly, until it’s nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Process

            Leave the cake to cool in the form for about 10minutes, then take it out of the springform and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t add the icing while still warm, or it will just soak into the cake. Which is still delicious, but not as pretty.

             

            The Blood Orange Icing

            Juice your last blood orange and add the icing sugar to a bowl or small jug. Start by adding 2-3 tbsp of the juice to the sugar and, using a small whisk, incorporating it until there is no liquid left. Judge the consistency. It should be thick, but still drizzleable (is that a word? If not, it should be!). Add more juice or sugar if it’s not quite right.

            Blood Orange Icing_Process

            Pour the icing over your cake, first one half, spread with a spatula or back of a large spoon, then add more where you feel it’s a bit thin. You could also do this in two layers, letting the first one dry completely before you add the second. Use a spatula to spread some of the icing that has run off onto the sides to complete the look.

            Blood Orange Icing_Process
            Let the icing dry completely before you decorate the cake.

             

            Decorate and Serve

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            Just before serving your Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein, decorate it with the candied oranges and remaining chopped pistachios. Slice and enjoy with a lovely cup of hot tea or coffee. Earl Grey would be particularly fitting here.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            Getting Ahead

             

            Both the sponge and candied oranges can be made the day before. The orange slices keep well in a lidded container in the fridge. Ideally each layer separated by baking parchment, to prevent them from sticking to each other.

            The cake will be fine for up to 5 days covered with kitchen foil or clingfilm. I used kitchen foil and domed it, so it wouldn’t touch the oranges and stick to them.

            The cake also freezes well. Even with the icing, though it will soak into the cake a bit when thawing and not be as pretty anymore. So ideally ice later. Or just enjoy the extra flavour that soaked into the cake.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            If you liked this recipe, you might also like:

            Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein 

            Lemon Poppy Sourdough Zucchini Bread with Protein 

            Banoffee Protein Mousse Pie

            Please Comment

            Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
            Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
            What other recipes would you like to see?

            If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

            This super pretty pink Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein will brighten up your table while bringing you a zesty and nutty tasting cake that is very easy to make. The sponge is full of pistachio-orange flavour, while still feeling light enough to have it any day with a nice cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. What’s more: It comes with about 10g of protein per slice, meaning you get your nutrition from your dessert. The candied orange slices are optional, but highly recommended and once you made them, you’ll wonder why you ever bought them, it’s so simple.
            Prep Time 40 minutes
            Cook Time 1 hour
            Cooling and drying time 2 hours
            Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
            Course Cake, Dessert
            Cuisine American
            Servings 12
            Calories 468 kcal

            Equipment

            • Food Processor, sugar thermometer, springform

            Ingredients
              

            Sponge:

            • ½ cup olive oil light
            • 2 eggs
            • 2 ¼ cups pistachios finely chop 1 cup, keep 1/4 for decorating, grind rest
            • 4 blood oranges zest 1 + juice until you have 1 cup.
            • ¾ cup plain flour
            • ½ cup +2 tbsp whole wheat flour fine
            • 2/3 cup protein powder I used MyProtein buttered popcorn flavour. Vanilla works too
            • ¾ cup brown sugar
            • 2 tsp baking powder
            • ½ tsp baking soda
            • ½ tsp kosher salt
            • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

            Icing:

            • 1 blood orange
            • 1.5 cups icing sugar

            Candied Blood Orange Slices:

            • 3 Blood Oranges cut into 0.2in slices
            • 1 cup sugar
            • ½ cup water

            Instructions
             

            Candied Blood Orange Slices:

            • Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of iced water.
            • Blanch the orange slices in boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer them to the ice bath.
            • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
            • Once the syrup reaches 225°F/110°C, gently add the orange slices in layers.
            • Simmer until the syrup thickens and reaches about 230°F/115°C, ensuring the orange slices are evenly coated.
            • Using tongs or a fork, transfer the candied orange slices to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Allow them to cool for at least 1 hour.

            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein:

            • Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Grease a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
            • In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil and brown sugar until mostly dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until light and foamy.
            • Stir in the blood orange zest, juice, and protein powder until smooth and foamy.
            • In a separate bowl, combine the flours, ground pistachios (reserving 1/4 cup for garnish), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
            • Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
            • Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
            • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

            Blood Orange Icing:

            • In a bowl or small jug, combine the blood orange juice with icing sugar. Start with 2-3 tablespoons of juice and adjust to reach a thick but pourable consistency.
            • Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
            • Allow the icing to set completely before decorating.

            Decorate and Serve:

            • Arrange the candied blood orange slices on top of the cake and sprinkle with the reserved chopped pistachios.
            • Slice and serve the cake with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

            Notes

            Getting Ahead
            Both the sponge and candied oranges can be made the day before. The orange slices keep well in a lidded container in the fridge. Ideally each layer separated by baking parchment, to prevent them from sticking to each other.
            The cake will be fine for up to 5 days covered with kitchen foil or clingfilm. I used kitchen foil and domed it, so it wouldn’t touch the oranges and stick to them.
            The cake also freezes well. Even with the icing, though it will soak into the cake a bit when thawing and not be as pretty anymore. So ideally ice later. Or just enjoy the extra flavour that soaked into the cake.

            Nutrition

            Calories: 468kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 12gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 238mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 3gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 2mg
            Nutrition Facts
            Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein
            Amount per Serving
            Calories
            468
            % Daily Value*
            Fat
             
            21
            g
            32
            %
            Saturated Fat
             
            3
            g
            19
            %
            Trans Fat
             
            0.003
            g
            Polyunsaturated Fat
             
            4
            g
            Monounsaturated Fat
             
            12
            g
            Cholesterol
             
            37
            mg
            12
            %
            Sodium
             
            238
            mg
            10
            %
            Potassium
             
            326
            mg
            9
            %
            Carbohydrates
             
            63
            g
            21
            %
            Fiber
             
            3
            g
            13
            %
            Sugar
             
            48
            g
            53
            %
            Protein
             
            12
            g
            24
            %
            Vitamin A
             
            172
            IU
            3
            %
            Vitamin C
             
            6
            mg
            7
            %
            Calcium
             
            107
            mg
            11
            %
            Iron
             
            2
            mg
            11
            %
            * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
            Keyword Easy, For Guests, fruit, Protein, Vegetarian
            Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

             

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            This Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu answered all my cravings for the crunch of KFC chicken, the spiced marinade, and the urgent need for creamy, tangy, and punchy Caesar dressing on a fresh salad. Super satisfying, packed with protein from the tofu with a cashew based sauce, adding all the nutrition you could possibly want for dinner in one delicious plate.

             

            Why You Will Love This

             

            Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            Did you ever feel you really wanted the crunch and flavour of KFC chicken, but in Tofu? Or anything other than meat really, but Tofu really offers itself due to the structure and tenderness you get, when you first press then marinate it. In this case in a marinade made from almond milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a spice mix from Joshua Weissman that is very similar to KFCs.
            This infuses the tofu with lovely tang and lots of flavour, getting it ready to be coated in crushed cornflakes. You can bake it in the oven or pan fry, but I found it bakes best in the air fryer, giving you perfectly crunchy and golden pieces, that are rather addictive when dipped into the Caesar Cashew dressing.

            The all-important Caesar Dressing made vegan

            While typical Caesar dressing is made with mayonnaise and anchovies, I’m using a base of cashews, which are blended into a super creamy dressing with capers, to give the salty, briny umami notes you’d usually get from anchovies and Worcester sauce. Nutritional yeast replaces the parmesan, making the dressing vegan.

            While you could of course use a vegan mayonnaise, I prefer the nutritional benefits of cashews, adding protein and minerals. Plus the more natural taste they give to any salad dressing. And I use them for many different ones like my Cashew Ranch Dressing.

            Thyme Lemon Garlic Croutons

            Another defining and rather addictive element of the Caesar salad are the croutons. They are also an ideal use for any stale bread you might have. I used homemade sourdough bread, but any reasonably good bread will do. A few days old is perfect, as it will crisp up in the oven or air fryer. I added fresh thyme from my garden, grated lemon zest from the lemon I used for the dressing, some garlic powder, salt, and olive oil, to give it a lovely herby and fresh flavour.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Crouton Ingredients

            Making them in the air fryer is fantastic, as you only need to shake them once and it’s hands off apart from that. They come out perfectly golden and crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.

            Mixed Salad

            While the classic Caesar Salad would be Romaine, I always like different veggies in my dinner, so I added shredded carrot, thinly sliced white cabbage, sweetcorn, red onions that are being quick pickled in some lemon juice.
            I’ve also added black grapes, but if you are not a fan of fruit in your salads, you could swap them for black olives, which would go really well with the vegan Caesar dressing.

            You could just leave out or swap around any of the veggies I added here. Cucumber and tomatoes would be nice too, radishes, different types of greens, kale in particular or even added asparagus.

             

            The Ingredients

             

            I’m just mentioning a few key ingredients here and why I’m using them. For the full list, please check the recipe card.

            Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Tofu Marinade

            For the Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu I’m using firm tofu. In Ireland I find the best one of those I tried is from “The Tofuu Co.” https://www.tesco.ie/groceries/en-IE/products/294476706
            You can use any brand, as long as it’s very firm, so it doesn’t fall apart when marinating and then breading.

            Since I wanted to get as close as I could to buttermilk fried chicken, similar to KFC, but without the chicken and huge amount of fat, I used almond milk mixed lemon juice and spices. Don’t be put off by the fairly long list. You will likely have them in your spice collection already, as they are very common.
            The Joshua Weissman recipe for the spice mix I adapted had celery powder in it, which I couldn’t find here, so I used celery salt. This made also up for the fact that Tofu is a bit more neutral than chicken on its own, so it can take more salt.
            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Breading

            I left out the MSG though. Not last because I didn’t have any, but also due to its rather questionable reputation. Personally I admit I haven’t looked into it much, as I rarely eat out, let alone buy convenience food, so it wasn’t much of a topic for me to focus on.
            If you are a fan, feel free to include some. I think the marinade does a fantastic job as it is though.

            Seasoned Flour and Cornflakes are then used for “breading”. And because I’m not working with raw meat, the marinade does double duty instead of eggs, to attach the two dry coatings to the tofu.

            The Cashew Caesar Dressing

            Using cashews as base has become my favourite way to create super creamy, delicious, and nutritious salad dressings. I honestly wouldn’t go back to mayonnaise based, even without the calorie and nutrition consideration. I tried one recently again and simply didn’t like the greasy texture and taste anymore. The cashews are neutral enough to add any flavourings you like and with even a small highspeed blender like the Nutribullet you get an extremely smooth base.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Caesar Cashew dressing

            While the original Caesar dressing didn’t have anchovies, they have become a rather classic way to add umami and saltiness to this tangy sauce. Brined capers, even though I’m not a fan of them on their own (wouldn’t eat anchovies on their own either) have a very similar effect when blended and add a hint of their briny flavour, which goes really well with the tangy punch of mustard and lemon juice that give the dressing its characteristic taste.

            Often parmesan is used to add more saltiness and a cheesy background flavour. So you can use either grated parmesan or, like me, nutritional yeast for a very similar effect.

             

            The Process

             

            Salad

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Meal Prep

            Prepare your salad ingredients:
            Roughly chop the Romaine Lettuce, grate the carrots, finely shred the cabbage, drain and wash the sweetcorn, wash the grapes (or drain olives if you prefer salty to sweet) and keep all in separate containers.

            Peel and thinly slice the onions. In a small bowl mix with ¼ tsp salt and 2-3 tbsp lemon juice. Cover and leave to marinade until ready to use.

            All the veggies will keep well for 3-4 days, if you keep them separate.

            Cashew Caesar Dressing

            Drain the soaked cashews. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender. You can use a normal blender or food processor, but it won’t get as lovely smooth and creamy.
            Blend until creamy.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Caesar Cashew dressing
            Have a taste and add more salt, mustard, or lemon juice to balance the flavours to your liking.

            Croutons

            In a small bowl, mix your olive oil, chopped thyme (or any other hardy herb you might have on hand. Rosemary works very well too), garlic powder and salt.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Croutons

            Add your bread cubes to a larger bowl. Drizzle over your olive oil mix, turning the cubes over after half over it, so they are all coated evenly. Stir carefully to distribute the oil mix and let them sit for a few minutes so the oil can absorb.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Croutons

            Bake in your air fryer at 400°F/200°C for 4 minutes, toss and turn once, then bake for another 2 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a paper towel lined plate until ready to serve. Nibble a few, you know you want to.

            The Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            Similar to chicken, that improves dramatically with brining, tofu needs a bit of help to come to its full potential. So this needs a bit of planning ahead. Start about 2h before you plan to fry the tofu or the day before.

            First remove your tofu from its package, drain the fluid and press it. You can either wrap it into a clean kitchen towel between 2 wooden boards and put something heavy on top. Or, if you want a much easier and less precarious solution, get a tofu press like this one and put it in the fridge for an hour or longer.

            Once your tofu has given up some of its liquid, it’s time to marinade it. Cut into about ½ in / 1cm thick slices and halve them diagonal. You could just leave them in one piece, but I think more corners mean more crunch and more crunch is always better.

            Mix your plant milk with a tbsp of lemon juice and let it stand while you get your spice mix together. Add the marinade spice mix to the now curdled milk and whisk well. In a container that is large enough to hold all tofu pieces in one layer or a freezer bag, add first your tofu then pour the tangy, spicy milk mix over it. Now let this marinade in the fridge for at least 1h, better even overnight.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Breading

            Meanwhile, mix the flour with the spices and herbs for the dredge mix. This will season the tofu even more and give it that characteristic crust you’d get on fried chicken.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Breading

            Now obviously we are not deep frying this, so the incredible crunchy crust that develops when the marinade-flour (and usually egg) mixture hits the hot fat, will come from crushed cornflakes.

            In a firmly closed freezer bag, crush your cornflakes either by hand or, carefully, so you don’t pop the bag and scatter the crumbs across your kitchen (never happened to me…ahem…) with a rolling pin or bottom of a cooking pot. You want relatively rough crumbs, not fine as panko. Check the picture for the texture we are aiming for.

            When you are ready to fry your tofu, set up a breading station with 3 rimmed containers or deep plates. Into one add your flour-spice dredge, the second will hold all the remaining marinade that wasn’t absorbed by the tofu, the third has the crushed cornflakes.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Breading

            Using one hand for dry and one for wet, to avoid the dreaded dough fingers, firmly press your tofu first into the flour, coating it very well, pushing it in, so it sticks. Then into the marinade, turning once until coated- Last into the cornflakes, again, pressing firmly, covering it with the crumbs and pushing down until every last bit is well coated.

            Spray both your air fryer basket and the tofu pieces with a bit of vegetable or avocado oil.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu_Tofu

            The crunchy tofu will take about 15 minutes in your air fryer at 400°F/200°C, turning it once very carefully after 10minutes, the fry for another 5 until golden and crunchy.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            I you are making them in the oven, this will take about 25-30minutes at 450°F/225°C, turning them after 15 minutes.

            Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            To Serve

            First drape a bed of romaine lettuce on a plate, followed by the carrots, cabbage, sweetcorn, onions and grapes or olives. Drizzle everything with a bit of the Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing. Top with croutons and crispy tofu and serve with more dressing on the side, to drizzle over or dip your tofu pieces into.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

             

            Meal Prep

             

            I prepared this Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu on my weekend, to have a fresh salad during my workdays. Keeping everything separate in containers, the tofu in a paper towel lined box, means you can assemble freshly, and everything remains crunchy.

            I re-heated the tofu pieces in the air fryer before serving, so they were just as crispy as freshly made.

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            If you liked this, you might also enjoy:

            Sweet Potato Grape Salad with Goats Cheese

            How about a fresh dessert?

            Mango White Chocolate Cheesecake with Protein

            Please Comment

            Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
            Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
            What other recipes would you like to see?

            If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

             

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            This Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu answered all my cravings for the crunch of KFC chicken, the spiced marinade, and the urgent need for creamy, tangy, and punchy Caesar dressing on a fresh salad. Super satisfying, packed with protein from the tofu with a cashew based sauce, adding all the nutrition you could possibly want for dinner in one delicious plate.
            Prep Time 45 minutes
            Cook Time 20 minutes
            Tofu Pressing and marinading 2 hours
            Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
            Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad
            Cuisine American, Fusion
            Servings 6
            Calories 553 kcal

            Equipment

            • High Speed Blender, oven or air fryer

            Ingredients
              

            Salad

            • 1 Romaine Lettuce
            • 1 can Sweetcorn
            • ¼ white cabbage thinly sliced
            • 2 carrots coarsely grated
            • 2 cups Grapes
            • 2 onions thinly sliced
            • 1 Lemon juice
            • ¼ tsp salt

            Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing

            • ½ cup raw cashews soaked for 30min in just boiled water
            • ½ cup water
            • ¼ cup lemon juice
            • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
            • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
            • 2 tsp capers
            • 2 cloves garlic

            Homemade Croutons

            • 4 slices sourdough bread cubed into bite sized pieces
            • 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
            • ½ tsp garlic powder
            • 1 tsp kosher salt
            • 3 tbsp olive oil

            Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu

            • 1 Block tofu pressed
            • 1 cup plant milk with lemon juice
            • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
            • 1 tsp ground white pepper
            • 2 tsp smoked paprika
            • 2 tsp garlic powder
            • 1.5 cups crushed cornflakes

            11 Herbs and Spices Dredge

            • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
            • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
            • 1.5 tbsp Kosher salt
            • 2 tsp ground white pepper
            • 1 tsp ginger powder
            • 1 tsp celery powder or celery salt
            • 2 tsp garlic powder
            • 1 tsp smoked paprika
            • 1 tsp dried oregano crushed
            • 1 tsp dried thyme crushed
            • 2 tsp mustard powder

            Instructions
             

            Salad:

            • Prepare all salad ingredients as mentioned. Marinate sliced onions in salt and lemon juice. Keep all ingredients separate.

            Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing:

            • Drain soaked cashews.
            • In a blender, combine soaked cashews, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, capers, and garlic cloves.
            • Blend until creamy. Adjust salt, mustard, or lemon juice to taste.

            Homemade Croutons:

            • Preheat air fryer to 400°F/200°C.
            • In a small bowl, mix olive oil, chopped thyme, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
            • Toss cubed bread in the olive oil mixture until evenly coated.
            • Air fry for 4 minutes, toss, then fry for another 2 minutes until golden and crisp.
            • Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

            Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu:

            • Press tofu to remove excess liquid.
            • Cut tofu into slices about ½ inch thick, then half diagonal.
            • Mix plant milk with lemon juice and let it curdle.
            • Combine the plant “buttermilk” with salt, white pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Marinate tofu in this mixture for at least 1 hour in the fridge. Overnight is better.
            • Crush cornflakes into coarse crumbs.
            • Mix flour with spices for dredge.
            • Set up a breading station with flour-spice dredge, remaining marinade, and crushed cornflakes.
            • Coat tofu slices in flour mixture, then marinade, and last crushed cornflakes.
            • Spray air fryer basket and tofu slices with oil.
            • Air fry tofu at 400°F/200°C for 15 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.

            To Serve:

            • Arrange romaine lettuce on plates.
            • Top with grated carrots, sliced cabbage, sweetcorn, marinated onions, grapes (or olives), and croutons.
            • Drizzle with Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing.
            • Add crispy air-fried tofu on top.
            • Serve additional dressing on the side for dipping or drizzling.
            • Enjoy your Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu!

            Notes

            Meal Prep
            I prepared this Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu on my weekend, to have a fresh salad during my workdays. Keeping everything separate in containers, the tofu in a paper towel lined box, means you can assemble freshly, and everything remains crunchy.
            I re-heated the tofu pieces in the air fryer before serving, so they were just as crispy as freshly made.

            Nutrition

            Calories: 553kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 20gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 3778mgPotassium: 614mgFiber: 8gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 4893IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 226mgIron: 14mg
            Nutrition Facts
            Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Crunchy Air Fryer Tofu
            Amount per Serving
            Calories
            553
            % Daily Value*
            Fat
             
            17
            g
            26
            %
            Saturated Fat
             
            3
            g
            19
            %
            Polyunsaturated Fat
             
            4
            g
            Monounsaturated Fat
             
            9
            g
            Sodium
             
            3778
            mg
            164
            %
            Potassium
             
            614
            mg
            18
            %
            Carbohydrates
             
            84
            g
            28
            %
            Fiber
             
            8
            g
            33
            %
            Sugar
             
            18
            g
            20
            %
            Protein
             
            20
            g
            40
            %
            Vitamin A
             
            4893
            IU
            98
            %
            Vitamin C
             
            31
            mg
            38
            %
            Calcium
             
            226
            mg
            23
            %
            Iron
             
            14
            mg
            78
            %
            * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
            Keyword Healthy, High Fibre, meal prep, Protein, vegetables, Vegetarian, versatile
            Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
            Vegan Taco Casserole

            Vegan Taco Casserole

            It’s Veganuary, time for vegan comfort food, which is exactly the right time for Vegan Taco Casserole. All the flavour of an amazing Taco Casserole, none of the meat. Instead an alternative made from mushrooms to bring all the umami flavour, lentils and walnuts for protein and texture and a super creamy vegan queso topping you’ll want to pour over everything after making it the first time. Fantastic for meal prep for the whole week too, so you have less stress on workdays.

            The recipe makes a very large casserole with about 8-10 portions and freezes great. So you can make a large batch and freeze some for busy weeks. Or cook it for a crowd.

            Not sure about you, but I just could not resist the Christmas sweets, they are always my downfall. So, of course I gained a few pounds that I’d like to shed again. Recipes like this one, heavy on veggies, light on calories and super satisfying, help me to very easily get rid of the few extra pounds, without feeling I’m on a diet.

             

            Why You Want to Make This

             

            Vegan. Taco. Casserole.

            I mean, need I really say more? I do? Ok then:
            While I’m not a vegan as such, I do enjoy vegan food. Weird you think? Not after you try this Vegan Taco Casserole. I often find minced meat a bit odd texturally and am plain not a big fan of it. But making it vegan adds for me flavour and texture wise. The mushrooms together with lentils, walnuts and a few “secret” ingredients give you tons of very satisfying meatiness while sneakily adding all of their benefits to your favourite comfort food.

            Vegan Taco Casserole

            Essentially we have a layer of soft tortillas as a base, topped with a mix of the vegan mince meat mix together with beans, which of course belong into any Taco and also add more protein. Sweetcorn goes in too for me, as I love it in pretty much everything and it adds more veggie content. If you can’t stand it, just leave it out or add more beans. This mix is flavoured with your favourite Salsa and a few spices, then fried for even more flavour.

            Really Good for You

            All the deliciousness of it will give you 4 different legumes plus mushrooms in one go, which makes it incredibly good for you. The toppings of lettuce and cherry tomato add not just juiciness and crunch, but also to your daily veggie intake.

            Vegan Queso

            The fantastic Vegan Queso recipe is from “Rainbow Plant Life” and her incredible Crunchwrap Supreme video.
            I made it a little less spicy but add as much spice as you like. It’s utterly addictive and dare I say better than dairy queso? I honestly prefer the taste of the creamy blended cashews with all the spices and flavours to the texture of typical Queso any day.

            I have topped the casserole with vegan grated cheese too, but I think you could even leave it out and be more than satisfied.

            Optional but delicious Toppings

            For me, the toppings are the best thing about Tacos, so of course it’s the same for Vegan Taco Casserole.

            I top mine with homemade Guacamole https://forthepleasureofeating.com/easy-guacamole/, Vegan Greek Style Yoghurt mixed with some lime juice, zest and salt, making it similar to the crema you usually get with Tacos.

            For extra crunch I added some chopped romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and, of course, tortilla chips. Most of them are incidentally vegan, but some have dairy in the seasoning. So if you are strictly vegan, check the ingredient list to be sure.

            The Ingredients

            Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or fridge. Just a few fresh veggies and you have the Vegan Taco Casserole of your dreams ready.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

            The Taco Mix

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

            Mushrooms

            Mushrooms have a list of powerful health benefits according to studies. Decreasing the risk of cancer, lowering sodium intake and promoting lower cholesterol are just a few of them.
            To me, their amazing umami flavour is enough to add them. I hear some complaints from the backrow there about texture, to which I say: Fry them until browned and crispy and see how you feel about them like that.
            I quite enjoy the brown inexpensive button mushrooms I get at any supermarket here. But any will do. You can try a mix with Shiitake if you find it.

            Legumes

            Legumes, with again impressive health benefits containing B vitamins, folate and iron, and a great vegan source for protein, I’m adding them here for texture and flavour. Together with mushrooms and walnuts, they make a fantastic meat alternative. The colour doesn’t matter much. I just used the green ones I had in my store cupboard and cooked them according to packet instructions. You could use brown or black too, canned if you like. They will all be delicious.
            Add Kidney and Black beans to the filling gives even more protein and keeps you full until the next meal. For ease of preparation I’m using them from cans.

            Walnuts

            Walnuts add that slightly nubbly texture you usually find in ground meat to our Taco Casserole plus a range of health benefits and healthy fats.
            Anti-inflammatory benefits and improvement of cholesterol levels being just two of the impressive ones. You could use pecans instead if you prefer.

            Onion and garlic for flavour are the basics.
            But here are what makes this taste “meaty”: Miso paste. I used brown for its intense umami notes.
            Tomato puree and sundried tomatoes together with nutritional yeast and some coconut aminos give the mushroom-legume-walnut mix incredible depth of satisfying meat like flavour.

            Of course typical Taco spices like smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, chili, onion powder for extra punch and oregano.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Spices

             

            The Queso

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

            For the Queso I’m using soaked cashews, some vegan Greek yoghurt for tang. A bit of salsa (use your favourite, the rest will go into the mushroom-legume mix), nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt, smoked paprika, chili powder and a bit of cumin. To add that original queso tang and a bit of fiery chili background, some pickled red jalapenos (are they still Jalapenos when red? Please correct me if that’s wrong…I’m just a German living in Ireland.) and a bit of the pickling liquid.

            The Guacamole is of course made from avocados, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and a hint of chilli powder. If you don’t feel like making your own, you can use shop bought here. But honestly, it’s made so quickly and tastes so much better, I don’t feel it’s worth saving the few minutes.

            Topping wise: fresh cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and crunchy romaine lettuce add that real taco feeling for me. They are optional though.
            And any tortilla chips you like, to use for dipping, crumbling over, eating on the side, however you enjoy your casserole.

             

            The Process

             

            While this looks like a lot of ingredients, the process is surprisingly simple.

            The Taco Mix

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Lentils

            First pre-cook your lentils according to package instructions if using dried as I did. They should have a tiny bit of bite left for that ground meat texture. I usually add some vegetable stock powder to my cooking water and maybe some herbs and garlic, to start flavouring them. Use whatever you have on hand. Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary or oregano all work well.

            Walnuts

            While your lentils are cooking, briefly toast your walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Set aside.

            Mushrooms

            Fry your finely chopped mushrooms in batches in a large pan with a bit of oil. Only stir occasionally, so they can brown beautifully for that lovely meaty flavour we are looking for. Season with salt and pepper and set aside too.

            Seasoning

            Gently fry onions and garlic until translucent in a bit more oil, then add all parts of the Mexican seasoning and toast until fragrant. Lastly the sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, nutritional yeast and coconut aminos join the pan for a quick stir and heat through.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Process

            Now add the garlic-onion-spice mix together with fried mushrooms, walnuts and cooked, drained lentils to your food processor and pulse until it resembles minced meat. It should stick together mostly, but fall apart when you try to crumble it, much like meat would.
            Taste it. It should be delicious. Add more salt to taste.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Mix with beans and sweetcorn

            Tip the whole mix back into the pan and fry on medium-high heat until you have a bit of browning everywhere and it smells delicious. Tip in the drained and rinsed canned beans and sweetcorn, canned tomatoes, 1 1 ½ cups of your favourite salsa (the last ½ cup will be used for the queso), stir and heat through.
            Taste and add salt or any other spices you feel it might need. I don’t like mine very hot, but you might of course.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Casserole assembly

            Lightly grease your casserole form. Cut the tortillas into quarters and lay them across the bottom with a little overlap, so you have one layer.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Top with the mushroom-bean mix.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Queso

            To make your queso, add all the ingredients for it into a high speed blender like the Nutribullet and blend until super smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt or chili if needed.

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Bake

            Top your Vegan Taco Casserole with the vegan queso, sprinkle over some grated vegan cheese (or dairy if you are not vegan). Cover the casserole with kitchen foil and bake at 375°F/190°C for 15min, remove the foil and bake for another 15min uncovered until it is hot throughout and the cheese has melted.#

            Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

            Toppings

            While the casserole is in the oven, prepare your toppings. Mash the Avocados with lime juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper and chili.

            Mix the remaining vegan yoghurt with some lime juice, zest and salt to taste.

            Chop romaine, spring onions and cherry tomatoes and put in separate containers. Tip tortilla chips into a bowl.

            Vegan Taco Casserole

            Serve

            To serve, add a piece of your Vegan Taco Casserole to the plate and let everyone pick their own favourite toppings. Enjoy the satisfied munching sounds.

            Vegan Taco Casserole

            Meal Prep

             

            You can make everything the day before, but I would add the queso on top just before baking, so it doesn’t soak into the taco filling layer, but remains as cream, cheesy layer on top.
            After baking, the Vegan Taco Casserole stays fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat either in the microwave until piping hot or in oven or air fryer.

            The casserole also freezes really well. I always keep a few pieces in the freezer for emergency taco cravings.

             

            Looking for more vegan recipes?

            Try my Vegan Tom Kha Soup for a warming Thai soup full of veggies.
            Or the Asian Bowl with crispy Cauliflower and Tofu, for a nutritious and delicous meal.

            Please Comment

            Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
            Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
            What other recipes would you like to see?

            If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

            Vegan Taco Casserole

            Vegan Taco Casserole

            It’s Veganuary, time for vegan comfort food, which is exactly the right time for Vegan Taco Casserole. All the flavour of an amazing Taco Casserole, none of the meat. Instead an alternative made from mushrooms to bring all the umami flavour, lentils and walnuts for protein and texture and a super creamy vegan queso topping you’ll want to pour over everything after making it the first time. Fantastic for meal prep for the whole week too, so you have less stress on workdays.
            Prep Time 1 hour
            Cook Time 1 hour
            Total Time 2 hours
            Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
            Cuisine American, Mexican
            Servings 8
            Calories 580 kcal

            Equipment

            • Food Processor, High speed blender like Nutribullet

            Ingredients
              

            Taco Mix:

            • 3 cloves garlic minced
            • 1 onion chopped
            • 2 cups lentils, cooked. About 1 cup dried. You can use cans instead.
            • 2 packs mushrooms finely chopped
            • ½ cup walnuts
            • 1 tbsp tomato puree
            • 5 sundried tomatoes
            • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
            • 1-2 tbsp brown miso paste use any colour, but brown has the most meat-like flavour
            • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
            • 1 can tomatoes
            • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
            • 1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
            • 1 can sweetcorn drained and rinsed
            • 2 cups salsa use your favourite. Set ½ cup aside for the queso

            Seasoning:

            • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
            • 1 tsp cumin
            • 2 tsp ground coriander
            • 1 tsp onion powder
            • 2 tsp oregano
            • Salt and pepper to taste
            • 3-4 corn or flour tortillas to cover the bottom of your casserole
            • 1 cup vegan shredded cheese of choice

            Queso:

            • 1 cup cashews soaked for 30min in hot water or overnight in cold
            • ½ cup vegan yoghurt I used Greek
            • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
            • 2 tbsp water
            • ½ cup salsa
            • ¼ -1/2 tsp chili powder I like ancho chili, but use whatever you have and enjoy
            • ½ tsp cumin
            • 1 tsp smoked paprika
            • 1 tbsp pickled jalapenos
            • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno brine
            • 1 tsp kosher salt

            Toppings (Optional):

            • Guacamole Ready made or, to make yourself:
            • 5 avocados mashed
            • 2 cloves garlic minced
            • 3 limes juice
            • 1/2-1 tsp Chili powder
            • Salt and pepper to taste
            • 1 cup Vegan sour cream or Greek yoghurt
            • 1 Lime zested and juiced
            • 1 head Romaine lettuce chopped
            • 2 cups Cherry tomatoes halved
            • 3 tbsp Cilantro chopped
            • 1 bunch Spring onions chopped
            • 1 bag tortilla chips

            Instructions
             

            • Pre-cook lentils according to package instructions, leaving a bit of bite for texture.
            • Toast walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Set aside.
            • Fry mushrooms in batches until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
            • Sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add Mexican seasoning, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, nutritional yeast, and coconut aminos. Stir and heat through.
            • Combine garlic-onion-spice mix, fried mushrooms, walnuts, and cooked lentils in a food processor. Pulse until minced meat-like texture.
            • Transfer mix back to the pan and fry until browned. Add drained beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes from the can and 1 ½ cups salsa. Stir and heat through.
            • Lightly grease a casserole dish. Place quartered tortillas on the bottom, slightly overlapping.
            • Top with mushroom-bean mix.
            • For queso, blend all queso ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning.
            • Top casserole with vegan queso, sprinkle vegan cheese. Cover with foil, bake at 375°F/190°C for 15min, then uncover and bake for an additional 15min.
            • While baking, prepare toppings: guacamole, lime yogurt, romaine, spring onions, cherry tomatoes, and tortilla chips.
            • Serve casserole pieces with desired toppings. Enjoy the flavorsome vegan taco casserole!

            Notes

            Total for the Dish (excluding optional toppings) assuming 8 portions:
            Calories: Approximately 580 kcal
            Protein: Around 22g
            Carbohydrates: Roughly 73g
            Fat: About 25g
            Fiber: Around 17g
            Sugar: Approximately 11g
            Please note that these values are approximate and may vary based on the specific brands and types of ingredients you use. The queso portion is a rough estimate, and the optional toppings are not included in the total dish values.

            Nutrition

            Calories: 580kcal
            Nutrition Facts
            Vegan Taco Casserole
            Amount per Serving
            Calories
            580
            % Daily Value*
            * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
            Keyword For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, Low Calorie, meal prep, vegan, vegetables, Vegetarian
            Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

             

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

            The Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu is a great start for the Veganuary. Lots of colourful crunchy veggies in a flavourful fruity-hot Asian sauce topped with crispy air fried cauliflower and tofu. Meal prep a large batch and you are all set for your work week with a seriously delicious and nutritious meal.

             

            Why You Want to Make This

             

            All the Nutrition in One Bowl

            I’m often aiming to get all my veggies for the day in my main meal and this Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu is no exception. If you use the same vegetables as I do, you get a phenomenal 7 portions of veg, protein from the tofu and healthy carbs from the rice.

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

            Versatile

            Of course you could swap the vegetables out for any you might enjoy. Courgettes, broccoli, asparagus, sugar snaps or kale would all fit nicely into this dish.
            Protein wise, if you are not a fan of tofu, you could use any meat you enjoy or even some fish. Though do try this way of preparing tofu. It’s super flavourful from the marinade, which doubles as sauce and crispy with tempura batter!

            The Sauce

            The Sauce is made with a delicious mix of Asian and Middle Eastern flavours, which may sound odd, but work wonderfully. It is both used to marinade the tofu and coat the vegetables, quick pickling the red cabbage in the process, making for a seriously flavourful bowl that you’ll want to keep eating.

             

            The Ingredients

             

            Vegetables

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Ingredients

            Cauliflower – I found a rather pretty orange cauliflower at my local Tesco and just couldn’t resist. You could just steam or roast it as is, after cutting into small florets, but I opted for coating it in crispy tempura batter and air frying it. If you are using a whole head, you can either fry it in batches or simply put it in the oven. I tried both and found the air fried pieces to be a bit crisper, so that would be my favourite method.

            For the remaining veggies, you could use anything in your veg drawer. I had spinach, carrots, mushrooms, red cabbage, mini sweetcorn, and a bag of soy sprouts for a nice Asian inspired mix.
            To top the bowl with bright green accents and more flavour, I used a bunch of spring onions and cilantro.

            Protein – I’m using tofu here, which gets marinated in part of the sauce, then dipped into tempura batter, same as the cauliflower, and air fried/oven roasted. The sauce imparts lots of flavour here, so no need to worry about bland tofu.

            The Sauce

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Sauce Ingredients
            A mix of low sodium soy sauce, orange juice, balsamic and rice vinegar, honey, pomegranate molasses, gochujang paste (or any chili sauce of your choice), nutty sesame oil, garlic and ginger make this a very more-ish dressing that you’ll want to drizzle on anything from salads to stir fry.
            The pomegranate molasses has a distinct fruity sweet and sour taste. Most healthfood shops have it these days. If you can’t find it, use a little more balsamic vinegar and a bit more honey.

            The Tempura Batter

            While you could roast both cauliflower and tofu just covered with the sauce and they will be delicious, the batter adds that extra crispy shell and makes this bowl irresistible. You only need flour (gluten free works too), cornstarch, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, pepper and ice cold sparkling water.

            Carbohydrates – I had rice as carb with this bowl, but you could use noodles or any other grain you enjoy. Frekkeh would be particularly good here due to its nutty flavour.

             

            The Process

             

            Pressing the tofu

            Start by pressing the tofu, so it’s easier to fry to that perfect chewie texture and can soak up the marinade. If you don’t have a tofu press as mine in the picture, you could wrap it in a clean kitchen towel, then top with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, to push out the moisture. Be careful though, I had a heavy cast iron pot slide off it once and drop to the floor, leaving a chip in my tiles. Hence my tofu press. I figured it’s less expensive than having to get tiles re-done or buy a new cast iron pot. About 30 minutes should be enough, but you can leave it for longer if you have time.
            Once it has given up a good bit of moisture, cut it into bite sized cubes.

            Vegetable Preparation

            While the tofu is left to its devices, prepare the veggies. Cut the cauliflower into florets, half or quarter the mushrooms, depending on size, julienne or slice the carrots, shred the cabbage thinly, slice the mini sweetcorn in half lengthwise and wash and roughly chop your spinach. Slice the spring onions and roughly chop the cilantro if using.

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Process

            The Sauce

            Peel your ginger. This is easiest done by scraping the skin off with a teaspoon. Sounds weird, I know. But give it a try. I promise you won’t look back.
            Peel and mince your garlic.
            Mix all the sauce ingredients in a jar and shake well.

            Marinate

            Use ¼ of the sauce to marinate your tofu cubes. Keep in the fridge for at least 30minutes, so they can soak up all the delicious flavour.
            In a large bowl, coat the shredded cabbage with about 3-4 tbsp of the sauce and mix well. Let it marinate until ready to serve.

            Line either your air fryer basket with some baking parchment (after pre-heating, as the empty air fryer will pull the paper up and might cause burning) or 2 baking trays. If using the air fryer, you might have to fry in batches, but the results will be a little crispier.

            The Tempura Batter

            To mix the batter add all dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly add the water, whisking as you go, until you have a smooth batter that will coat tofu and cauliflower. Add the water slowly, you might not need it all.

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Process

            Bake

            Pre-heat your air fryer or oven to 400°F/200°C.

            Dredge your tofu and cauliflower pieces through the batter, shaking each lightly, to let excess batter drip off. Distribute between the trays or add to your hot air fryer basket. Spray lightly with some oil or cooking spray. Air fry for about 17-20min until golden brown and crispy, flipping the pieces halfway through.
            In the oven, they will need about 30-35 minutes.

             

            Cook rice, fry vegetables

            Cook your rice according to packet instructions and drain when done.

            Meanwhile, heat 2 frying pans. Coat both with some oil or cooking spray. Add the mushrooms to one pan and fry until nicely browned, stirring only occasionally, to not disturb the browning process.

            In the second pan, stir fry the mini sweetcorn, followed by the julienned carrots, then soy sprouts and lastly the spinach until wilted. Add the remaining sauce to the pan and let it bubble up briefly, to take the raw edge off the garlic and ginger.

            Serve

            Start by adding rice to your bowl, then top with the remaining ingredients, finishing with the crispy cauliflower and tofu. Drizzle some sauce over. Sprinkle with some spring onions, cilantro and sesame if you like. Enjoy your colourful and healthy Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu.

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

            Meal Prep

             

            I made the ingredients for the Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu on my weekend and stored them in separate containers, to keep them fresh. While I fried each vegetable on its own to show them in the bowl, it makes more sense from a flavour perspective to stir fry them all in one pan and also store them that way. No need to go through all the trouble I did. Though if you want to keep them separate, you can just microwave them with the rice later, to heat them.

            For the tempura battered tofu and cauliflower, I lined a large container with kitchen towels, and stored them in layers, to stop them from sticking. I then re-heated them in portions in the air fryer for a few minutes, to crisp them up.

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Meal Prep

            The ingredients keep stored as above for about 4 days in the fridge. I wouldn’t necessarily advise to freeze them, especially the tofu and cauliflower, as they will go soggy.

            Looking for more ideas for Veganuary? Here are some of my favourites:
            Vegan Tom Kha Soup

            Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

            Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

            Please Comment

            Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
            Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
            What other recipes would you like to see?

            If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

            The Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu is a great start for the Veganuary. Lots of colourful crunchy veggies in a flavourful fruity-hot Asian sauce topped with crispy air fried cauliflower and tofu. Meal prep a large batch and you are all set for your work week with a seriously delicious and nutritious meal.
            Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
            Cook Time 40 minutes
            Total Time 2 hours
            Course Dinner, Main Course
            Cuisine Asian, Fusion
            Servings 6
            Calories 750 kcal

            Ingredients
              

            • 1 pack tofu
            • 1 head of cauliflower
            • ¼ red cabbage
            • 1 pack mini sweetcorn
            • 3 carrots
            • 1 pack mushrooms
            • 1 pack bean sprouts
            • 1 bag spinach
            • 1 cup rice
            • 1 bunch Spring onions - sliced
            • 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped, optional
            • sesame seeds for serving, optional

            Sauce

            • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
            • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
            • 1/2 cup orange juice
            • 1/3 cups honey
            • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
            • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
            • 1 tablespoon molasses or pomegranate molasses
            • 1 tsp gochujang paste
            • 2 tbsp sesame oil
            • 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
            • 1 inch fresh ginger grated

            Tempura Batter

            • 3 cups gluten free flour blend or brown rice flour
            • 4 tbsp cornstarch
            • 2 tbsp baking powder
            • 2 tsp salt
            • 2 tsp garlic powder
            • ½ tsp black pepper
            • 3 cups sparkling water extra cold

            Instructions
             

            Pressing the Tofu:

            • Press the tofu for about 30 minutes to remove excess moisture, then cut it into bite-sized cubes.

            Vegetable Preparation:

            • Cut cauliflower into florets, mushrooms into halves or quarters, carrots into julienne strips, shred the cabbage thinly, slice mini sweetcorn in half lengthwise, and wash and roughly chop the spinach.
            • Slice spring onions and chop cilantro if using.

            The Sauce:

            • Peel and mince the garlic, and peel and grate the ginger.
            • Mix all sauce ingredients in a jar and shake well.

            Marinate:

            • Use ¼ of the sauce to marinate tofu cubes. Keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
            • In a large bowl, coat shredded cabbage with 3-4 tbsp of the sauce and let it marinate.

            The Tempura Batter:

            • Mix all dry tempura batter ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add sparkling water, whisking until a smooth batter forms.

            Bake:

            • Preheat air fryer or oven to 400°F/200°C.
            • Dredge tofu and cauliflower through the batter, shaking off excess. Air fry for 17-20 minutes or bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway.

            Cook Rice, Fry Vegetables:

            • Cook rice according to package instructions.
            • In separate pans, fry mushrooms until browned in one pan. Stir-fry mini sweetcorn, carrots, bean sprouts, and spinach in the second pan. Add remaining sauce to the stir fry and let it bubble briefly.

            Serve:

            • In a bowl, layer rice, vegetables, and crispy tofu and cauliflower. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with spring onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds if desired.

            Meal Prep:

            • Prepare ingredients and store separately for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave and crisp up tempura battered pieces in the air fryer.
            • Enjoy your colourful and healthy Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu!

            Notes

            Total for the Dish (including rice, excluding optional toppings):
            Calories: Approximately 750 kcal
            Protein: Around 19g
            Carbohydrates: Roughly 110g
            Fat: About 26g
            Fiber: Around 15g
            Sugar: Approximately 26g

            Nutrition

            Calories: 750kcal
            Nutrition Facts
            Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu
            Amount per Serving
            Calories
            750
            % Daily Value*
            * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
            Keyword Healthy, High Fibre, Protein, vegan, vegetables, Vegetarian
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