If you’ve been following me on my social media accounts, you’ll know that I’ve seriously been into meal-prepping as of late. In all honesty, I have long been a fan of the packed lunch but admittedly, I had fallen out of the habit for quite some time – opting instead for a haphazardly thrown together (and usually not terribly satiating) salad or worse – ordering expensive takeout for weekday lunches.
But enough was enough. When I found myself about to embark upon a particularly busy weekend last month, I decided to get ahead of the work-week and prep this sublime Asian-inspired bowl.
Now it may seem daunting, but the trick to a quick and efficient meal-prepping session is to:
- Start with the things that require the longest cooking time and minimal effort – ie. cooking rice or quinoa, boiling edamame or marinating tofu.
- Chop all raw veggies before you start any cooking – using smaller bowls or empty Tupperware boxes is useful for storing prepped veggies and setting them aside before you start.
- Clean up as you go – the last thing you want is a sink full of dishes and counters littered with vegetable scraps at the very end.
So with that in mind, let’s move on to the recipes. I’ve separated the main components of the bowl out into separate recipes for convenience, but have listed them in the order I would go about making them if you’d like to recreate the bowl.
- 1 20 oz container of extra firm tofu
- Juice of half an orange
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos OR light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Black pepper to taste
- ½-1/3 cup warm water
- Remove the tofu from the packaging and drain the water well, pressing it with paper towels gently to absorb some excess moisture. Slice it up into equal rectangles and divide up according to how many servings you're making. A 20 oz packet should yield 7 servings, so you will have extra left over but the marinade is enough for the whole batch.
- Add the marinade ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well to combine - taste to adjust flavourings as needed.
- Layer your tofu slices in a shallow Tupperware box and pour the marinade on top. Allow to marinade in the fridge for 1 hour (overnight is best), flipping the box in between to ensure equal flavour absorption all around.
- Once done, preheat your oven to 190 C.
- Assemble the tofu in a baking dish and douse any remaining marinade on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes before flipping and cooking for a further 15 minutes uncovered.
- If you have an air-fryer, you can cook them at 170 for about 12-15 minutes, just don't pour any excess marinade into the basket
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup chopped zucchini
- In a large wok melt the coconut oil before adding in the onion, garlic and ginger. Sautee gently on medium heat until fragrant.
- Add in the rest of your raw veggies and stir well to coat. Allow the vegetables to cook while stirring for about 5 minutes - at this point you can add a splash of water, cover and allow to cook down until vegetables are cooked but still crunchy - about an additional 10 minutes. Add soy sauce or seasonings if using and stir to combine before taking off the heat.
- 4 servings of Orange Sesame Ginger Tofu, baked
- 4 servings of Simple Stir Fry Vegetables
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup of boiled and shelled edamame
- 3 carrots, spiralised or shredded
- 1½ cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup Alfalfa sprouts
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Now comes the fun part - assembly! Set out 4 containers (or bowls, if serving as a meal) and starting with the fresh vegetables, layer with ½ a cup of baby spinach, a handful of carrots, red cabbage. Next add in ½ a cup of brown rice, ¼ cup edamame and your stir fried vegetables. Top with your baked tofu and alfalfa sprouts.
While my opinion is far from objective, this bowl really does have it all.
The fantastic crunch and colour of the raw veggies paired with the protein-packed tofu and edamame, as well as the flavourful stir-fry and brown rice makes for one heck of a satisfying meal. I served mine with my Miso Coriander Tahini dressing that I stored separately and added right before eating each day.
One question I get asked a lot is if the food keeps fresh and if it still tastes as good come the end of the week and the answer is yes, with a few caveats.
- When combining any cooked and raw ingredients such as in this bowl, I always wait for the cooked items to cool down before combining to avoid any wilting. When it comes to dressings and sauces, I always store them separately.
- If I’m prepping a meal of mainly raw vegetables and leafy greens like a salad, then I’ll typically only prepare 3 portions at a time, however, a meal like this one tasted perfect all week long. That said I don’t advise preparing anything more than 5 days in advance, just to stay on the safe side.
Until next time, dear readers!