Lentil Tofu Bowls with Smoky Romesco Sauce

Let’s talk about sauce for a minute. Because I kind of think it’s the most important part of our recipes. It’s the one component of the bowl that has the magical ability to transform humdrum ingredients – you know, random veggies, cooked grains, a few eggs, bland tofu – into something actually good. Delicious even. So if the idea of “meal prep” overwhelms you, start small by trying this simple tip: make one killer sauce on Sunday (or even Monday night) and use it in a variety of ways throughout the week. Need somewhere to start? This smoky (gluten-free!) romesco sauce is calling your name.

 Lentil Tofu Bowls with Smoky Romesco Sauce | Gluten-free and Vegan. | Loveleaf Co.

These lentil tofu bowls with smoky romesco sauce are a great example of how we like to eat around here. Lots of veggies? It's my mission. Protein? Check. Healthy carb? Hello, lentils. Crunchy topping? Yep. Magical sauce? The gang's all here. While I give you the recipe for a full bowl meal here, feel free to improvise (as always) using any ingredients you have on hand. Swap out the tofu for some eggs, chicken, or tempeh. Use spinach or broccoli instead of kale (check out some of our favorite greens for inspiration). Mix and match ingredients as much as you like and then tie them all together with the smoky romesco sauce and roasted almonds.

This recipe will most likely make extra sauce (and trust me: that's a good thing). Here are some other ways to use the sauce throughout the week:

  • Top on roasted or grilled fish or chicken.
  • Use like a pesto on pasta.
  • Drizzle on fried eggs. Serve with rice or quinoa to make it a full meal.
  • Use as a dip for roasted veggies, like asparagus.

Looking for more sauces that you can turn into a week of meals? I've got you covered with this coconut curry sauce, this vegan ranch dressing, or this ginger tahini maple sauce.

Lentil Tofu Bowls with Smoky Romesco Sauce | Gluten-free and Vegan. | Loveleaf Co.

Lentil Tofu Bowls with Smoky Romesco Sauce

INGREDIENTS

LENTILS AND TOFU

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 1 (14-oz) package of extra firm tofu, drained

ROMESCO SAUCE

  • 1 cup roasted walnuts (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (see notes)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 roasted red peppers (one 12 oz jar, drained)
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more if needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

BOWLS

  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, destemmed, thinly sliced, and massaged with a bit of olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped (see notes)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the tofu. Wrap tofu in a dishtowel or 4 or 5 layers of paper towels and place on a plate. Cover with a second plate and balance a heavy can or a couple books to weigh down the plate and press down on the tofu. Let drain for about 45 minutes (you can start cooking the lentils while the tofu drains).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and bake, flipping halfway through, until golden brown, about 40 minutes total.
  3. Cook the lentils. according to package instructions. If you bought the green lentils in bulk, use these instructions.
  4. Make the romesco sauce while the lentils and tofu are cooking. Add all ingredients to a blender, like a Vitamix, and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water if the sauce seems too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Assemble the bowls. Divide the massaged kale, tomatoes, red onion, and tofu between four bowls. Add about 1/2 cup of cooked lentils to each bowl. Top with a generous serving of romesco sauce and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

NOTES

While I like this romesco sauce with walnuts best, roasted almonds also work well. If you don't have - or can't find - smoked paprika, regular paprika is a fine substitute. Feel free to top the bowls with another nut, like walnuts, instead of almonds.

Leftover romesco sauce? Use it on roasted fish, gluten-free pasta, eggs, roasted veggies... anything really. Enjoy!