Sweet and Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu and Vegetables

Sweet & Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu & Vegetables
Sukiyaki, with its sweet, savory and richly beefy broth despite the tiny amount of beef in it, turns a wide range of vegetables and tofu products into delicious Japanese comfort food. DASH diet followers need to watch for the sugar (just don’t drink the broth!), but otherwise it’s an easy DASH diet dinner item.

Sukiyaki is one of the better known Japanese dishes. Yet, despite its name recognition, sukiyaki doesn’t seem to be a regular on US Japanese restaurant menus these days. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s really tasty, easy and versatile. This sweet and savory sukiyaki with tofu and vegetables makes a tasty Japanese comfort dinner on cold, drizzly winter night.

Sukiyaki in its original form is a hot pot dish. You gather around a simmering shallow cast iron pot on the table, where thinly sliced beef, onions, mushrooms, tofu and other goodies are cooked right there. It’s a fun party dish when you have a group or just for the family. In Japanese homes, sukiyaki is sometimes made in the kitchen and brought out in individual bowls to the table, just like other non-hot pot foods, which is what I’m doing here.

The “soup” base is pretty simple, just a mix of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine, which can be substituted with sugar). The beef can be, and often is, made the star of the show, but sukiyaki can also be made with just a couple of ounces of beef and a ton of vegetables. To make sure that a rich, beefy essence permeates all the other ingredients, use a cut of beef with a good layer of fat, or nice marbling throughout. I think mine was a brisket.

Other possible items you can use: Various mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, beech/shimeji, enoki, king trumpet, etc.), leeks, shirataki, napa cabbage, komatsuna, chrysanthemum leavescarrots, turnips and even potatoes. Sukiyaki can also be made with pork or chicken. If going vegetarian, I’d use kombu (kelp) to boost the umami in the broth and maybe swap the broiled tofu with a fried tofu to give it a bit more of a bite.

One yellow flag in this sukiyaki dish for DASH diet followers is that it can fill up your daily sugar intake limit . The trick is to not drink the broth. Without the broth, the amount of sugar absorbed in the tofu, vegetables and beef is probably half of what’s used, which makes it a much more reasonable 1/4 serving or so of sugar.

Print Recipe
Sweet and Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu and Vegetables
DASH diet considerations: This sukiyaki tofu and vegetables leverages the typical Asian approach of using meat as seasoning to cut down on the DASH diet servings of meat. The bulk of the protein comes from the tofu, rather than the beef. The dish can be loaded up with a lot of different vegetables, and the sweet, savory and rich broth makes everything taste addictively delicious and comforting.

One yellow flag in this sukiyaki dish for DASH diet followers is its impact on your daily sugar intake. Sukiyaki broth is on the sweet side, and one serving of the sukiyaki does come with ¼-½ serving of sugar. All is not lost, though: You can stay on the low side of the spectrum by not drinking the broth. (This is hard to do--it’s so yummy! Lol.) For this reason, it’s probably better to serve the sukiyaki and rice separately, rather than make it into a sukiyaki don (sukiyaki rice bowl).

DASH diet servings:
2.5 vegetables & fruits
1 meats & fish
2 nuts & beans
¼-½ sweets & sugar
400-500 mg sodium
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the gobo, daikon and onion in a saucepan and pour water until it comes up to about 80% of the ingredients.
  2. Add the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Stir, and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium simmer.
  4. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until all the ingredients are cooked through.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the brisket and broiled tofu. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the beef is cooked through and tofu is heated.
  6. Serve with pickled red ginger. If you don’t have it, don’t sweat it, but the pickled ginger does add an awesome acidic tang to this sweet-savory dish.

Roasted Pumpkin & Chorizo Black Bean Quinoa Bowl

DASH Recipe: Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Pumpkin

There’s a lot of flavors going on in the roasted pumpkin and chorizo black bean quinoa bowl: Hearty black beans, caramelized sweetness of the roasted pumpkin, a bit of heat and Tex Mex zing from jalapeño and chili powder, the bright acidity from tomatoes and lime juice that lightens up the whole thing. On top of all that, just a small amount of Mexican smoked chorizo lends an amazing depth and savoriness to this almost-all-veggie bowl. It’s a complete meal in one bowl, but thanks to all these flavors and a variety of textures, you won’t get bored till the very last bite!

In our home, the recipe below yielded 2 dinner servings, plus about ⅓ cup of black bean-quinoa mixture left over. I’m thinking that it’d be awesome in a quesadilla format… I can even toss in the remaining roasted pumpkin I still have in the fridge. (It was a big pumpkin.)

Print Recipe
Roasted Pumpkin & Chorizo Black Bean Quinoa Bowl
DASH benefits: This pumpkin and black bean quinoa bowl has a lot going for it from the DASH perspective: A ton of vegetables, sweetness without the added sugar (roasted pumpkin, I love you!), amazing meaty flavor from a tiny bit of chorizo. Aromatic chili powder and tart lime juice also reduce the need for extra sodium to create a satisfying flavor profile. This quick and economical bowl is also packed with a good amount of lean protein: Both black beans and quinoa are high on the list of great plant sources of protein.

DASH servings:
1 grains
3 vegetables & fruits
0.75 meats & fish
1 fat & oil
1 nuts & beans
DASH Recipe: Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Pumpkin
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
DASH Recipe: Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Pumpkin
Instructions
  1. Place the quinoa with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 13-14 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion, jalapeño and chorizo. Sauté on medium heat until the onion is slightly browned.
  3. Drain the can of black beans and add 1 cup of the beans to the skillet. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the liquid is mostly gone. Season with chili powder. Taste, and add salt and pepper of needed.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, tomato, scallion and cilantro. Drizzle with the juice of one lime half and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  5. To the skillet of black beans, add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper of needed.
  6. Line two salad bowls with torn lettuce leaves. Add the black bean-quinoa mixture. Top with the pumpkin-tomato mixture. Cut the remaining lime half into two and place on the side of the bowls.
Recipe Notes

*Any pumpkin or winter squash would work here. Sweet potato and yam would be lovely as well.

Cauliflower Cod Chowder with Garlic and Thyme

Cauliflower Cod Chowder IngredientsMake this hearty chowder when you end up with a giant head of cauliflower that doesn’t fit in your fridge and you don’t know what to do with, like I did. Cauliflower replaces the potatoes that typically show up in chowders, and it does a surprisingly good job of substituting them. Garlic, thyme and just one strip of bacon give the cod chowder the savory, aromatic backbone it needs. I skipped making the bechamel and left the chowder more on the soupy side, but you can add that at the end if you prefer a thicker chowder.

This may be a weekend meal–it does take a fair amount of chopping, and the somewhat active cooking time is on the long side. The good news is that the chowder will be even better after it sits in the fridge overnight. I made a big pot and plan to eat the rest later in the week.

Serve it with some crusty bread. Go ahead and add an ale, too. (I did!)

Print Recipe
Cauliflower Cod Chowder with Garlic and Thyme
DASH benefits: This filling chowder has loads of vegetables and lean protein without the fat and heaviness from the butter and heavy cream found in a lot of chowders.

DASH servings (if dividing into 8 servings):
2.5-3 vegetables & fruits
0.25 dairy
2 meats & fish
0.75 fat & oil
Prep Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a big pot and add the bacon, onion, shallot and garlic. Turn the heat to medium.
  2. Saute, stirring often to prevent the alliums from burning, for 6-7 minutes, or until they are fragrant and softened.
  3. Strip the thyme leaves off the stem and add to the pot. Saute for another minute until the thyme starts releasing the aroma.
  4. Add the celery, carrots and red pepper to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until they start to soften.
  5. Turn the heat to high and add the water to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are cooked through.
  6. Add the milk and bring the pot to just before a boil. (Try not to let it boil too vigorously, or you’ll get milk scum floating on top--which is not a problem for me, but some people find it unpalatable.) Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Keeping the pot at just below a boil, add the cod. Submerge the pieces gently and add the cauliflower pieces. Let the pot simmer until the cod chunks are cooked through and opaque, for 5 minutes or so.
  8. Stir in the sour cream and add salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve with crusty bread.

The chowder should keep in the fridge for 5-6 days. (Just make sure to reheat it thoroughly every time.) It can also be frozen and reheated later. I turned this into a quick and tasty Jamaican curry soup a few days later and had it over basmati rice. Yum!