I developed this plant-based grain bowl recipe as part of my course work for The Nutrition Institute, part of the module 'Protein'. I was particularly interested in learning more about how to create plant-based meals packed with protein and offering the most beneficial nutritional value, as my daughter has been a vegetarian from a young age. I am always conscious to ensure her daily protein intake is sufficient.
This delicious Miso Broccoli & Tofu Black Rice Bowl with Zingy Carrot Dressing ticked all the nutritional boxes and has now become a family favourite.
In an ideal world, your daily diet contains proteins comprising all 20 different types of amino acids.
Consider Your Daily Protein Intake
Protein is essential for every single process in the human body. In an ideal world, your daily diet contains proteins comprising all 20 different types of amino acids, required for the body to function properly. Animal products (such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs) are sources of complete proteins, which means they contain all 20 amino acids.
Incomplete protein sources also exist; these have low amounts or do not contain all of the essential amino acids. This is more common in plant-based food sources of protein, such as lentils, legumes, and cereals. Eating 2 or more of these incomplete proteins together forms a complementary protein – a protein that then contains all the essential amino acids required by our bodies in sufficient amounts, so essentially the same as a complete protein.
There are 3 main ways to create a complete protein from plant-based products:
Combining grains with complementing legumes/beans
Combining legumes/beans with complementing grains, nuts & seeds
Combining nuts & seeds with complementing plant food legumes/beans
For vegetarians or vegans, those who choose to eat minimal sources of animal products, or those with limited access to animal products, complementary proteins become an important part of ensuring the daily protein intake is adequate.
As explained above, combining certain plant-based food groups will create complementary proteins, but luckily there are plant-based foods that in itself already are complete proteins including quinoa, soy, buckwheat, chia seed, spirulina, hemp, pumpkin seed and tempeh.
The benefits of black rice
For this recipe I have used black rice. You can of course use brown rice, or any other type of grain (try quinoa for example). I chose black rice because when it comes to nutrients, none of the conventional rice varieties outperform the black rice: the dark grain is am absolute mineral bomb. With a particularly high iron value, it is good for blood circulation. But black rice is also rich in protein and trace elements and contains an extraordinary amount of antioxidants. Plus, it looks good!
This recipe is yum as is but it is also very flexible. Feel free to change it up to suit your taste or use whatever you have in your pantry. You can use another grain, vary your vegetables, mix up the protein (if you want to keep it plant-based, consider tempeh or chickpeas) or add another dressing.
2 cups cooked black rice
1 large avocado, sliced
150 gr edamame beans
500 gr firm tofu
large spoon of miso paste
thinly sliced red radish
red pepper flakes, optional
For the zingy carrot dressing:
1 large carrot
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup of good quality olive oil
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
Step 1: Roast the carrot & prepare the black rice
Turn on the oven on 200 degrees, slice the carrot into manageable chunks, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until it's soft and suitable to blend.
Prepare the black rice according to the instructions. Keep in mind that black rice takes a little longer to cook, and will always have a firmer texture than white rice.
Step 2: Prepare your grain bowl toppings
Cut the firm tofu onto 1cm blocks and fry in olive oil until they're nice and golden. Slice the radish and avocado. Shell the edamame beans. Cut the broccoli into florets.
Mix the spoonful of miso with olive oil in a bowl to create a smooth mixture and coat the broccoli florets. Add to the air fryer and cook for 8 mins on 180 degrees. If you don't have an air fryer you can use the oven.
Step 3: Prepare your carrot dressing
Combine the roasted carrot with the olive oil and apple cider vinegar and add them to a blender. Blend until smooth. If you want a more runny sauce, add some water. If you want to add some salt, you can, but I personally don't think it's necessary.
Step 4: Assemble your grain bowl
Now it's time to combine all your elements and create your delicious black rice grain bowl. Scoop some black rice into a deep plate, top with the miso broccoli, fried tofu, radish, avocado, edamame and microgreens. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and red chili flakes to taste. Serve with the zingy apple cider carrot sauce.
This delicious Miso Broccoli & Tofu Black Rice Bowl with Zingy Carrot Dressing is a healthy lunch or dinner time option packed with nutrients for anybody, not just vegans or vegetarians, helping to build a healthy body and mind.
Have you tried this recipe? Show me and tag me on Instagram!
Are you interested in studying nutrition as well? Check out The Nutrition Institute. Use this link and receive a discount.