As a chef I am constantly evolving, whether it be my cooking techniques, flavor profiles, and/or ingredient sourcing etc. I used to look at fruits, vegetables, and meats in the market, pick them up and chuck them in my cart without even stopping to think about where it even came from. As I grow, as a person, and as a chef my desire to know where and how the food gets on my plate has grown exponentially.
Now let me preface this post with saying I am not one of those fanatics who needs to know every farm, farmer, the name of the animal I am eating, what clothes the farmers wore when they picked the food etc. But I am one of those people who’s curiosity has sparked a new way of thinking when it comes to the food I eat, especially when it comes to meat; a new appreciation, if you will.
The more I learn about factory farms, animal slaughtering, our gross amount of meat consumption and waste etc the more I am saddened, shocked and quite frankly grossed out at how inhumane and desensitized we have become as a culture. It makes me really think twice about having meat. Granted, as a chef, and appreciator of all food and cuisines etc. going totally vegan is just not something I want to do. However, my heightened awareness has sparked me to eat less meat. I think twice about casually ordering chicken on top of a salad, or ordering a steak at a restaurant. Eating a primarily vegetarian diet has helped me appreciate the times where I do eat meat, and to have a connection with the animal who has died so I can live. I know it sounds so hippy dippy but it has really connected me to food in a way I never thought possible. When I do eat meat, it’s something special, and when I cook it I take the time to really make it worth it.
During the week my diet is primarily vegetarian/pescatarian. I love making these vegan vegetable bowls for dinner or lunch. I am left full and satisfied and feel way less heavy than if I were to have eaten animal protein. It’s small steps that make me feel like I am living with more purpose and intention. I implore all of you to try and pick a day a week to go vegetarian. I promise you you will feel so rewarded in more ways than one.
To stop, and connect with your food source you are able to connect with your body and that connection manifests itself in all aspects of your life. Sounds crazy but try it and you will see what I am talking about.
The thing I love most about this recipe is that it is totally customizable. I chose some of my favorite vegetables to add in mine, but feel free to prepare yours accordingly.
I hope you give it a try!
Gluten Free Vegan Teriyaki Bowl
- For the teriyaki sauce:
- 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce (also known as tamari)
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- For the Bowls:
- 6 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted (instructions below)
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
- 1 1/2 cups peas, cooked
- 2 cups roasted brussel sprouts
- 2 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced into halves
- For Cucumber Salad
- 4 persian cucumbers, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- splash of soy sauce
- [steps]To make the sauce, combine water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and smashed garlic clove in a small saucepan, bring up to a simmer. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and cold water. Slowly whisk into the saucepan. As soon as the sauce thickens remove from heat, remove garlic clove and discard and add the toasted sesame seeds. Set aside.
Preheat oven at 400 degrees farehnheit. Spread cubed sweet potatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender. When they come out of oven drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of your teriyaki on top and mix well so that the sauce gets all over those little guys!