Imagine a classic Asian-style rice bowl, but with a risotto-like blend of millet and amaranth as the base. At Vital Root in Denver, chef-owner Justin Cucci tops the grains with loads of vegetables and tofu, then drizzles on a silky tahini sauce.
Wine Pairing: A dry but aromatic white like VML 2014 Gewürztraminer (Russian River Valley; $24). The perfume of the sesame and tahini match the wine's floral and spicy aromas; the haunting minerally character and mouth-filling weight of Gewürz work well with tofu. --Sara Schneider
3/4 cup hulled millet*
3/4 cup whole-grain amaranth*
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-in. cubes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small bunch Tuscan kale (also sold as dinosaur or Lacinato kale), stems trimmed flush with leaves and leaves roughly chopped
8 ounces broccoli florets
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 firm-ripe avocado, peeled and cut lengthwise into 4 or 5 wedges
1/4 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped Thai or regular basil
1/4 cup small basil sprigs
3/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup white miso*
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
How to Make It
Cook grains: In a medium saucepan, bring millet, amaranth, broth, curry powder, and olive oil to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in salt; set aside at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, start toppings: Preheat oven to 375°. On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss tofu with soy sauce and canola oil. Bake, turning once, until golden at edges, about 20 minutes. Put kale and broccoli in separate steamer baskets in saucepans with 1/2 in. water and set aside, covered (use saucepans and water alone if you don't have steamer baskets).
Make miso sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients with 3/4 cup water until smooth. Set aside.
About 5 minutes before serving, bring kale and broccoli to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are bright green and tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
Pour each vegetable into a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp. sesame oil and 1/4 tsp. salt to kale and toss to coat. Add 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and the sesame seeds to broccoli; toss to coat. Sprinkle avocado with paprika and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.
Spoon grains into 4 or 5 wide bowls. Arrange separate portions of tofu, kale, and broccoli in each and tuck in an avocado wedge. Spoon about 1/4 cup sauce onto each bowl. Sprinkle bowls with pine nuts and chopped basil and top with basil sprigs. Serve more sauce on the side.
*Find millet, amaranth, and miso at well-stocked grocery stores and natural-foods stores, and the grains at bobsredmill.com.
Nutritional analysis is per serving with 1/4-cup sauce.