A bowlful of brown rice, tempeh, kale, and other veggies has "health food" written all over it, but in our house we hardly think of this recipe as macrobiotic or vegan or anything else but satisfying. Brimming with the perfect balance of flavors and textures, it satiates the senses and even has my barbecue- and burger-loving guy requesting it for dinner.
This hearty one-dish meal is partly inspired by the "macro bowls" I've had at restaurants like Native Foods, but I've added a few of my own touches. Well-balanced in terms of nutrition, flavor, and texture, it's got nutty brown rice (I like using fluffy brown basmati), savory-sweet maple-glazed tempeh, creamy avocado, crisp and tangy sauerkraut, earthy kale, and salty seaweed. Bringing it all together is my go-to tahini-miso sauce, spiced up with a bit of ginger.
The first time I made this I was a bit apprehensive about serving something so "crunchy" but my omnivorous partner gobbled it up before I could even ask what he thought. (To his credit, he eats even more kale than I do!) All of the components are pantry staples of ours, so we eat this for dinner at least every couple of weeks. For a dish that's so multidimensional, it's actually very simple to make, especially when using precooked brown rice (or any other whole grain) and marinating the tempeh overnight.
Brown Rice Bowl with Maple-Glazed Tempeh and Tahini-Miso Dressing
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
4 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 (6-inch) piece dried wakame seaweed
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon light miso
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated ginger
About 1/4 cup warm water
4 cups kale cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup sauerkraut
1 avocado, sliced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
To marinate the tempeh, combine soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and garlic. Place tempeh in a shallow dish, pour marinade over, and turn to coat. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes or as long as overnight in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, prepare the other components.
To prepare the wakame, place the dried wakame in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 15 minutes to expand. Drain wakame and pat off excess water with a towel. Remove any thick center stems and cut wakame into 1/4-inch ribbons.
To make the dressing, mix tahini, miso, lemon juice, and ginger into a creamy paste in a small bowl. Gradually stir in warm water to achieve the consistency of sauce.
To make the kale, fill a pot with about 1 inch of water and place a steamer basket inside. Bring to a boil. Place kale in basket, cover, and steam for about 5 minutes until tender but slightly crisp.
To finish, cook the marinated tempeh in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Halfway through cooking, pour remaining marinade over tempeh.
Divide the steamed kale between two bowls. Place brown rice on top. Then arrange tempeh, sauerkraut, avocado, and wakame on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with dressing on the side.
Related: Recipe: Brown Rice Bowl with Lemongrass, Tofu, and Cashews
(Images: Emily Ho)