Tofu & Sweet Potato Maki Roll Bowls
Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Sushi (without the fish) rolls in a bowl! Do you recall when "deconstructed" plates and recipes were all the rage with cooking shows and kitchens creating elaborate odes to a classic recipe in an incongruous manner? Yeah, this bowl is like that, and super tasty. Hello, 20-teens; I miss you sometimes!
I made this bowl after a day at the pool this weekend. We had so much fun in the sun, soaking up the last ounces of summer time before we head back to school (gulp...uh, next week!) By the time we made it home though, we were hungry bears (in fact, I had to wrestle this bowl away from my husband to take a photo for you)! I knew I needed something fast, filling, light(ish), and utilized limited brain power. Boom - tofu and sweet potato air fried in my oven with fresh veggies and a spicy mayo all over brown rice. Sprinkled with furikake (a Japanese seaweed condiment) for that element of "funk" that comes with sushi. Perfect!
Sustainability Spotlight: Sea vegetables (seaweed) are laden with nutrients and flavor! Most notably, seaweed is a popular source for iodine and Omega-3 fatty acids. Seaweed can be the ultimate "Forever Vegetable" as it is fast-growing, needs salt water (not fresh - since 98% of the Earth is covered in salt water, I feel that matters materially, don't you?), and has an ability to combat ocean acidification.
The oceans are in "balance" near a pH level of 7 (typical) for water and the level at which most oceanic life is supported. However, if that balance shifts in basicity or acidity quickly (which is occurring not only with climate change but the world's increasing emissions into the ocean for wastewater containing chemicals), the ocean's plants and animals may not be able to adjust in time before their entire populations start to vanish. Since all ecology thrives upon a food web, break one thread of the web and the entire chain attached to that thread starts to break and effect the entire bio-environment.
Seaweed also offers coastal areas (where fishing has declined due to over-fishing and fish population decreases) a new "life" so to speak for their community and economy. Especially, Australia! Did you know that Southern Australia has the highest biodiversity of seaweed in the world? According to sustainablefoodtrust.org, seaweed is not just a sustainable food source; it is also a great fertilizer (natural), and is being considered by major agricultural companies (such as Cargill) as an organic option for farming applications.
Yes, seaweed is a super vegetable for many reasons, and can be a welcome addition to our kitchens for the health benefits and the benefits of the planet. As always, if we as consumers purchase more products with sustainable components, the "demand" will increase to suppliers, distributors and producers of those products. With more demand, shift towards those sustainable products will be profitable and lead our businesses into a sustainable future - one purchase (use) at a time.
1/2 bag frozen brown rice - cooked according to package directions
1 large sweet potato (cubed into 1-in pieces)
1 block extra firm tofu - pressed & drained (cubed into 1-in pieces)
1/2 cup matchstick (shredded) carrots
1 cucumber - halved lengthwise, then halved again - now slice
2 green onions (diced)
1 small handful cilantro (chopped)
Spicy "Mayo" Sauce:
(1) 1 x 1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled (diced) or 1 tsp ground ginger
3 garlic cloves (diced)
1/2 cup vegan mayo (I use Veganise)
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 tbsp tamari (soy) sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 lime (juiced)
Garnishes for each bowl: 1 tsp furikake & 1 tsp sesame seeds
Pre-heat air-fryer oven to 425 degrees F
Note: if you do not have an air fry oven, that's fine! Just pre-heat your oven (convection if you have it) to 425 degrees F. Set a cooling rack inside a rimmed sheet (jelly roll pan) as your "fryer." You will have to stir and cook longer (add at least another 15-20 min on the bake), but it will still work. You can always cook your potato and tofu ahead of time (another day) and whip this up quickly mid-week.
Add sweet potato to a mixing bowl and mix with ~1 tsp avocado oil; sprinkle with salt to taste. Pour potatoes onto your air fry sheet (or sheet noted above) and slide into oven. Put 25 minutes on the timer.
While your potatoes cook, cube tofu, chop other ingredients for your bowls and make rice (90 seconds in microwave - set aside to cool).
When only ~12 minutes remain on your timer, remove pan (carefully, it's hot) from the oven and add your tofu (sprinkling throughout your potatoes which should be starting to brown and be softening).
Slide pan back into the oven for the remainder of the time on your timer - tofu will be done when slightly browned and your potatoes should be easily pierced by a fork.
While your tofu & potatoes finish cooking, add all Spicy "Mayo" ingredients to a personal blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Once your potatoes and tofu are done, you are ready to build your bowls (recipe makes two adult servings):
Pour 1/2 bag of rice into one of two bowls
Pour ~1/4 cup of your spicy mayo into each bowl - mix with a fork to incorporate
Add ~1/4 cup potatoes and tofu to each bowl
Add half of each of the following in sections in the circle in each bowl:
Sprinkle each bowl with 1/2 of the green onions & 1/2 of the cilantro
Now drizzle more spicy mayo onto each bowl and sprinkle with the furikake (seaweed seasoning) and sesame seeds.
I hope you enjoy these bowls as much as we did! If you have any leftovers, layer it all in a container and have it for lunch the next day (great without the rice and in a wrap with spinach too)!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie