Dinner Together: Glory bowls a quick, easy family meal

Glory Bowls are essentially a simple layered rice bowl. (Lorie Hutson)
Glory Bowls are essentially a simple layered rice bowl. (Lorie Hutson)

When things are really hectic at my house, I dream about calling in reinforcements for dinner – or as my 6-year-old calls it, the “pizza taxi.”

I’m always happier if I settle on something quick and fresh instead – something that makes me feel good instead of guilty.

We were first introduced to Glory Bowls by our longtime friend, or we might not have been brave enough to try the recipe. The meal is really a simple layered rice bowl with a rainbow of crunchy vegetables – beets, carrots and spinach – but it is topped with an addictive savory dressing that includes soy, tahini and a healthy dose of nutritional yeast.

You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section of natural food stores and some well-stocked grocery stores. The flakes give the dressing a savory flavor that is equal parts nutty, cheesy and creamy. The original recipe included too much oil for our taste, so over the years we’ve cut it back and added more water and cider vinegar instead. I love the tang that the extra vinegar adds to dressing, but if you like things a little creamier, consider making the dressing as it appears in the recipe instead.

I like to use the brown rice to soak up the extra dressing, but white rice is fine if that is what you keep on hand. We just pan-fry firm tofu in a little bit of cooking spray and let it soak up the flavors of the dressing. If you or someone you’re serving insists on meat, cubed cooked chicken or turkey would be the best substitute.

Toast the slivered almonds (or whole almonds) to add a more substantial crunch to the dish.

The recipe came to our house by way of our friend, but it looks like the original recipe is one of the most requested dishes from the 2008 cookbook “Whitewater Cooks,” by British Columbia chef Shelley Adams. She named it for a favorite ski bowl at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, B.C. – somehow that makes me like it even more.

Glory Bowls

Cooking spray

2 cups cubed extra-firm tofu

8 cups hot cooked brown rice

2 cups grated carrots

2 cups grated beets

2 cups packed baby spinach leaves

2 cups slivered almonds, toasted

For dressing:

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 cup Tamari or soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons tahini

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (see note)

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry tofu, stirring often, until brown and crispy, 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

For dressing: In blender, purée together nutritional yeast flakes, tamari, vinegar, water, tahini and garlic. With motor running, add oil in slow, steady stream. Blend until smooth. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.) To serve, divide rice among 8 bowls; drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Top each with tofu, carrots, beets, spinach and almonds. Drizzle each with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.

Note: We like to cut the oil in this recipe in half, adding more cider vinegar and water to taste, to cut calories and fat.

Yield: 8 servings

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