There is a restaurant in Toronto that successfully mainstreamed vegetarian food for the masses. It’s so popular, that a line-up at peak eating hours is a guarantee seven days a week. The restaurant I speak of is Fresh Juice For Life.
Fresh will always hold a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. It was the very first all-vegan restaurant I ever ate in. Before I moved to the city, I didn’t know that such a thing even existed! I cannot describe how exciting it is to go to a restaurant and order any thing you desire off the menu without reservation. If you are vegan or have food allergies, you know what I mean. Fresh was also where T took us on our first date. So, you know- I blush.
Now that I am officially a city-slicker the novelty of Fresh has worn off. I appreciate that it’s a crowd pleaser, but I’m a little sick of the hype. I hate the line-ups, and I think it’s pricey for what you get. I guess I’m a bit Freshed out. T and I now compare it to vegetarian fast food. Not because it’s unhealthy (it really isn’t), but because it’s got the same convayor belt, mass-produced-for-crowds feel of fast food. I’m also surprised it hasn’t done more to support local, organic food production.
Despite my critical attitude, if you’ve never been before it is worth checking out. It’s consistently tasty.
However, if you like me would rather avoid the hectic atmosphere there is still a way to have your Fresh and eat it too. You just need to get your hands on the Fresh cookbooks. They are really fabulous. Mostly because they allow you to make tasty Fresh meals, using organic ingredients (if you choose) in the comfort of your very own home (and in your pj’s). The recipes I’ve tried are identical to the food in the restaurants. Thanks Fresh!
I had a hankering for my very favourite Fresh rice bowl (the Green Goddess) just the other day, and decided to break out the aforementioned cookbook. I’ve got the original, no longer available version cause I’m old school like that. If you don’t have a copy of this cookbook, don’t despair- you just need to find yourself a recipe for tahini dressing- this one is also spectacular. I added parsley to my tahini dressing, which is what turned it a lovely shade of green. There, now we’re all on the same page.
Here’s how to build your rice bowl.
Start by cooking some rice. I used brown rice, but quinoa or any other grain of choice would work I’m sure.
Drizzle the greens with about 1/4 tsp of both tamari and sesame oil, then top with a GIANT blob of tahini. The combination of cooked and raw veggies makes this bowl really awesome. I did not have any pickled ginger in the fridge, but if I did it would have been another addition to this bowl. Next time!
Finally, pan fry some marinated tempeh strips. If you are lazy like me, you can buy this kind of pre-marinated tempeh from most health food stores. Place a few slices of tempeh on the bowl like so:
And here’s the recipe for those of you wanting to replicate this at home.
Green Goddess Rice Bowl a la Fresh Juice For Life
Per bowl, you will need:
- 1 serving of cooked brown rice, or other grain of choice
- 2 C steamed greens of choice
- 1/2 large tomato, chopped
- 3-4 or more strips of marinated pan fried tempeh
- large handful of sunflower sprouts
- 1 Tbsp pickled ginger (optional, but recommended)
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp tamari
- 2-3 Tbsp tahini dressing