Soul Food Layered Bowl

jasonlmorrow's picture

Vegan food doesn't have to be complicated.

Tonight I threw something together based on a delicious meal I had at Native Foods Cafe. Marinated some vegan chicken strips for about 30 seconds in homemade barbecue sauce, then put it in the oven swimming in the sauce at 350. I would have used store bought barbecue if I had any on hand. It probably cooked for about 45 minutes but really, the chicken strips were pre-cooked so it was just heating it anyway.

Steamed kale and veggies, then mixed with about equal amounts of homemade vegan ranch and barbecue sauce spooned out of the chicken baking dish. Served it all layered in one bowl like a savory parfait - red beans and rice on the bottom, kale in the middle, chicken strips on top. Then ate the heck out of it. (In the photo it's shown un-parfaited, so you can see all three parts).

The cool thing about kale is that it's one of the most nutritious foods, but a whole bunch of it is only about 60 calories. It's a mild enough flavor so it can go well with practically anything. If you make it the largest part of the meal, then you can get full while indulging in smaller amounts of less nutritious or more caloric foods. Also, beans are nutritious and supposed to be really good for diabetics, so are a good addition to any meal.

Skip the chicken strips for a completely unprocessed meal, or replace with something else like tofu or tempeh. I'm suspecting apple slices would have been good with this, too.

Vegan ranch sauce: a little canola oil, a little soy milk. Splash of lemon juice. Seasonings to taste (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, some Mrs. Dash). It wasn't creamy enough so I put a little chunk of tofu in there. Nope, didn't measure anything, sorry. If you don't like it, keep adding things to either intensify, dilute, thicken, or thin it until you do.

Followed this red beans and rice recipe. I halved the beans, used vegan chicken stock (veggie stock would probably also have been delicious), and Earth Balance buttery spread. I also used a red bell pepper instead of green because I'm just not as into the green.

Got the barbecue sauce recipe from The Vegan Soul Food Kitchen but any kind you like will do. I prefer a thin, sweet, vinegary barbecue sauce over a ketchup-style one, especially if mixing with ranch.