Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 (16-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-by- 3⁄4-inch pieces
1 cup quick-cooking brown rice
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch-long strips
4 medium radishes, cut into thin half-moons
4 scallions, trimmed, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 (9-ounce) bag baby spinach
1. Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, honey and sesame oil until the honey is dissolved. Place the tofu in a separate bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the soy mixture; let stand 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the tofu and cook until golden, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a bowl and reserve. Return the skillet to the heat: Add the asparagus, cook 1 minute and add 2 tablespoons water. Continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until bright green, about another 1 1⁄2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in the skillet: Add the bell pepper; cook 2 minutes and transfer to a small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon canola and add the radishes, cook 1 minute and transfer to a small bowl. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, add the scallions and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes; transfer to a small bowl. Return skillet to the heat and add the spinach: cook, tossing, until wilted, 1 1⁄2 to 2 minutes.
4. To assemble: Divide rice among 4 bowls. Arrange remaining ingredients in piles in each of the 4 bowls and then drizzle with remaining soy-sauce mixture. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 422 calories, 18 g protein, 56 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 14 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 528 mg sodium
TIP: To make the Buddha Bowl even faster, stir fry all the vegetables together.
LENTIL SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS, ORANGE AND FENNEL
1 cup lentils
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced across
2 cups Boston lettuce, torn in bite-size pieces
1. Combine the lentils with 2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft but not mushy, about 22 to 25 minutes. Drain.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey, mustard, oil, salt and pepper until the honey is dissolved.
3. Fill a skillet with about 1⁄2 inch water; bring to a boil, add the asparagus and cook until it is bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.
4. Add the lentils, asparagus, fennel, oranges and lettuce to the bowl and toss with the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 350 calories, 15 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 358 mg sodium
SIMPLE PASTA WITH FRESH TOMATOES
12 ounces linguine
1 (15-ounce can) low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 minced cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped in 1⁄2-inch pieces
1⁄4 cup loosely packed basil, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente. At the last minute, add the beans to the pot for 30 seconds; drain in a colander.
2. While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium; add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato, cook, stirring, 2 minutes until slightly softened, and remove from heat. Stir in the basil and parsley. Toss with the pasta and beans.
3. Just before serving, add the cheese and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 450 calories, 18 g protein, 72 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 283 mg sodium