Hawaiian Bowls (gluten-free)

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It’s always this time of the year — when the air is brisk and the rain relentless — that I long for my self-proclaimed second home of Kauai. Okay, I’ll be honest: the Hawaiian islands are always calling my name but right now, as I sit in my house and think about how we need to clear out our rain gutters, that call is louder than ever.

I won’t be saying “Aloha” anytime soon so I did the next best thing. I gave my family a taste of the islands because what better way to evoke good memories than via our tastebuds? Oh, the sushi rice, fresh greens, crisp tofu, succulent fruit, tender edamame, fragrant coconut, all drenched in a sweet and sour teriyaki sauce did the trick! We were transported.

This is a fairly simple bowl to prepare (lots of steps but all are easy to do!) but it presents like something you’d order in a restaurant. It’s perfect for a fun dinner at home or for when you want to impress your dinner guests. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to plan a mid-winter Hawaiian-themed dinner party!

Here’s what you’ll need (serves 6)

  • 3 cups (dry) sushi rice
  • 1/2 of a 5-oz container/bag of mixed greens
  • 1 container of extra firm tofu
  • one fresh mango, cut into large cubes
  • one fresh pineapple, cut into spears
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame (if you use frozen, set the edamame out in a bowl to thaw to room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • black sesame seeds for garnish
  • 6 wooden skewers, soaked in water

For the teriyaki sauce:

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free Tamari 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Prepare your sushi rice in a rice cooker or on the stove top.

Next, set your oven to broil and line a baking sheet with foil. This will be for your mango-pineapple skewers.

Drain your tofu to remove as much water as possible. I use this amazing tofu press called Tofu Xpress. It’s so easy. You simply place the block of tofu inside, attach the coiled lid, leave it be for about 10 minutes and then drain the water. The result makes for a firm tofu that crisps up evenly in the pan. If you don’t have a tofu press, place your tofu on a paper towel atop a cutting board. Then place another paper towel on top of the tofu and lay a heavy plate or dish on top of that. This will drain most of the water and you may want to repeat this a couple of times, replacing with dry paper towels each time.

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My Tofu Xpress doing its thing!

As your tofu drains, prepare your toasted coconut. Place the shredded coconut in a small skillet over low, dry heat (no oil). Stir continuously and watch your coconut carefully as it can easily burn if you get distracted! Toast until golden brown.

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Toasted coconut is gorgeous, isn’t it?

Remove your skewers from the water. Now that they’re moist, they won’t burn in the oven. Assemble your fruit skewers with one pineapple skewer and 2-3 cubes of mango each. Place the skewers on the foil-lined baking sheet and place them into the broiler for about 10 minutes, checking often. You want your fruit to be slightly browned on the edges but still juicy.

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Fresh pineapple is a must for these Hawaiian bowls

Once your tofu has sufficiently drained, cut the block into 12 even rectangles. In a large skillet over medium heat, add some cooking oil and then grill your cuts of tofu until golden. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your skillet. Remove your tofu from heat and set them aside with a cover to keep warm. No need to season these as the teriyaki sauce provides plenty of flavor!

Now it’s time to prepare your sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, water, garlic powder, brown sugar and agave. Whisk the ingredients together over medium heat. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Add this cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. Lower the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Once all your ingredients are ready, it’s time to assemble! In large bowls, place about one cup of cooked sushi rice on one side and a handful of fresh mixed greens on the other. Gently lay two pieces of your grilled tofu on top. Sprinkle with some shelled edamame and some toasted coconut. Place one of the fruit skewers across the bowl. Then spoon your teriyaki sauce in a diagonal pattern for a beautiful drizzle. Finally, sprinkle on some black sesame seeds as a finishing touch.

Serve immediately and enjoy your escape to the islands.

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Happy eating!

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