While in Montreal, it was a whirlwind of a trip between the wake and funeral. However, I successfully managed to visit Aux Vivres for a quick dinner with Rob, my Dad and grandmother. Rob and I went there during our last visit, and I wanted to return for a veggie-packed meal that would appeal to some of the most serious veggie critics (my Dad!).
I love the bowls at Aux Vivres because they are mostly loaded with veggies. They should be called veggie bowls, not rice bowls, because the rice is hidden at the bottom. You really have to dig around to find it. But when you do, it is some of the best rice I have tasted. Coupled with the vegetables, and any of their decadent sauces, you have a tasty meal on your hands.
Don’t get me wrong, Aux Vivres is definitely one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal, but glancing at the menu, you are left thinking, I bet I could make this at home. Actually, when I tasted their miso tahini sauce from their Macro Bowl, I thought: I have this sauce at home, I just made it!
So when I got home, I was able to compile all the ingredients to make a great copy cat version of their Macro Bowl filled with wakame, sauerkraut, sprouts, steamed baby bok choy and brown rice. I skipped the steamed spinach.
I have been following this year’s Healthy Lunchbox Series (recap here) and was positively smitten when I saw Dawn’s post about bento boxes. Perusing her site, she had some incredibly cute lunches, including a barn made out of granola bars complete with watermelon animals and spinach grass. I almost died from its cuteness.
I thought I might try a much simpler bento box with this multi-component meal. After its assembly, I told Rob I was ready to go for our dinner picnic. However, I looked down and realized I was short possibly the most important component of the meal. The tempeh! I needed some emergency tempeh, and fast. Aux Vivres’ tempeh is actually fairly plain with limited marinade but I thought mine could use a bit of flavour. While Rob usually scoffs at Tess’ declarations of making meals in under 30 minutes, I quickly located a quickie tempeh recipe that still included the all-important steaming. A simple glaze of tamari, agave, toasted sesame oil and raw garlic was exactly what I needed. Perfecto. Under 30 minutes, mostly hands off, to boot, leaving me able to clean up the kitchen and snap a few photos as the tempeh caramelized away.
The verdict? The bento box was not really appropriate because the best part of the bowl is mixing it all up. I needed a bigger container for proper mixing. The salty sauerkraut, the briny wakame juxtaposed against the salty dressing and fresh greens. With them individually separated in the box, it was hard to mix them up. At least with my Salad in a Jar, I mix it up before I eat it. I may need to look into a layered version of this, too!
Have you ever tried to make a cute bento box? Just at these cuties!
This is being submitted to this month’s Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food for lunches, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, and to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Siri.
Macro Veggie and Tempeh Bowl with Miso Tahini Sauce
Inspired by Aux Vivres
1 cup dry medium-grain brown rice
16 baby bok choy, washed and trimmed
2 tbsp dry wakame, soaked for 20 minutes
1 cup sprouts
1 cup sauerkraut
Emergency Sweet and Simple Glazed Tempeh (see recipe below)
Miso Tahini Sauce (see recipe below)
1. Cook your rice. Or ask Rob to make it for you. Even if it just means rinsing it and putting it in the rice cooker.
2. Soak your wakame.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the miso tahini sauce. Set aside until ready.
4. Make your tempeh. See recipe below.
5. While the tempeh is caramelizing, bring 1 inch water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the baby bok choy, cover and steam until tender and a brilliant green, around 3-5 minutes.
6. By now, hopefully everything is ready and you can assemble your bowls. Between 4 bowls, divide the cooked rice. Top with sauerkraut, sprouts, wakame, steamed baby bok choy, tempeh and drizzle with miso tahini dressing just prior to serving.
Miso Tahini Sauce
Adapted from Fresh Young Coconut
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.5 tsp maple syrup or agave
1/8 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/3 cup water, or to your desired consistency
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Thin with additional water if required. Store in refrigerator and stir before using.
Makes a scant 1 cup.
Emergency Sweet and Simple Glazed Tempeh
Adapted from Radiance 4 Life
8 oz. tempeh, cubed
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp low-sodium tamari
1 tbsp agave
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
1. In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat water and tempeh over medium-high heat. Cover and steam tempeh until water has been absorbed, around 5-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the tamari, agave and sesame oil in a small bowl.
3. Once the water has been absorbed, uncover the skillet and add the sauce. Stir fry the tempeh until the tempeh is golden and caramelized in places and the sauce is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in pressed garlic.
Serves 4, if you are lucky.