Low-Carb Vegan Dinner Bowl
This popular low-carb vegan bowl features cabbage, broccoli, kale, tofu and a delicious almond satay sauce to top it off.
If you’re looking for a lower-carb, high-protein vegan meal, this is it! It features tofu for protein, avocado for healthy fats and cabbage “rice” to keep it lower in carbohydrates while still being satisfying and filling.
Despite being a lower-carb option as far as plant-based meals go, these bowls are great for anyone looking to include more vegetables and plant foods in their diet. In fact, they provide 14 grams of fiber and 23 grams of plant-based protein per serving!
Whether you enjoy these delicious bowls for a nutritious dinner or make them in advance for a healthy meal prep option, you’ll love the variety of vegetables, satisfying baked tofu and addictive almond satay sauce to bring it all together.
There are a few steps to make them but once you get going it’s not too bad. Get the tofu in the oven then cook the cabbage, prep the kale and broccoli and whip up the dressing (no need to blend!). Once the tofu is ready, assemble your bowl and enjoy!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Dietary Features: Vegan, grain-free can be gluten-free, can be oil-free, can be nut-free.
- Nutrition Features: For a plant-based meal, it’s lower in carbs while being rich in protein and healthy fats.
- Packed with flavour and texture.
- The delicious sweet and tangy almond satay sauce.
- You can use the cabbage rice idea for other recipes.
- They make a great option for vegan meal prep.
A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
- Tofu: Use firm or extra-firm tofu. You don’t have to but you can press it before hand if you like. This will help it absorb a bit more flavour and get crispier. See how to press tofu.
- Soy Sauce: Use any soy sauce you like or gluten-free tamari.
- Garlic Powder: Ground garlic works well to coat the tofu rather than minced garlic.
- Cornstarch: Adds a crispy coating to the tofu. Arrowroot starch also works.
- Almond Butter: The dressing can be made with almond butter, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option.
- Rice Vinegar: Seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar works though note that seasoned rice vinegar has added sugar so it will add a bit more carbs to the recipe.
- Sriracha: Any chili garlic paste works here. I like Sriracha or sambal oelek.
- Sweetener: For low-carb you can use a pinch of stevia or monk fruit sweetened, other maple syrup, coconut sugar or any other sweetener you like works. If you’re not using stevia, I prefer maple syrup over a granulated sugar so the dressing has a smoother consistency.
- Cabbage: Use green cabbage.
- Coconut Oil: You can use any cooking oil you like here. I’d suggest coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil or sesame oil.
- Green Onion: This is the same as spring onion or scallions.
- Cilantro: You can leave this out if you don’t like cilantro.
- Broccoli: Easy to swap for other veggies like carrot, snap peas or cauliflower.
- Kale: I like kale for bowls because it holds up well and doesn’t get soggy, though you can substitute baby spinach, spinach or any other green you enjoy.
Step by Step Instructions
Before you Start: It’s optional to press the tofu but if you’d like to take that step, you’ll need 20-30 minutes to press it. Use a tofu press or wrap the block of tofu in a dish cloth, put it on a plate and place a heavy object on it.
Step 1: Bake the tofu.
Add the cubed tofu to a bowl with the soy sauce or tamari, cornstarch, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Gently toss it to coat.
Quick Tip: Want spicy baked tofu ? Add 2 tsp sambal oelek or sriracha or 1 tsp cayenne or red chili flakes. You can also play around with other ingredients like rice vinegar, sesame oil or sweet chili sauce.
Add the cubed tofu to a baking tray lined with parchment paper so each piece has some space around it. This is key for crispiness!
Bake the tofu for 20-30 minutes until browned, puffy and crispy. You can flip it once half way through but I usually skip that step. It still gets crispy even without flipping it!
Step 2. Make the cabbage rice.
Remove the outer leaves of the head of cabbage, chop it in half and then into smaller chunks. Add the chunks to a food processor and pulse a few times to create a rice-like consistency.
Quick Tip: If you don’t want to take the extra step to “rice” the cabbage, just chop it and add right to the skillet. It could also be done in an Instant Pot or roasted for variations.
Heat the coconut oil or another oil of choice in a large skillet or wok then add the “riced” cabbage, green onion and cilantro.
Saute the mixture for 6-8 minutes until the cabbage is tender and browned.
Quick Tip: Mix the ingredients well to start then let it sit for a few minutes before stirring again to allow it to brown on the bottom. Scrape the browned bits back in and repeat!
Step 3. Make the almond butter.
To make the sauce, add all of the ingredients to any bowl or container and whisk or shake until completely smooth and creamy.
Step 4. Prepare the rest of the bowl ingredients.
Drizzle the finely chopped kale with 1-2 tsp oil of choice. Massage the kale with your hands until it’s softened and dark green.
Quick Tip: If you don’t want to use oil here, add the kale to a skillet with 1 tbsp of water and cook for about 1 minute to lightly soften.
Steam the broccoli stovetop, in an Instant Pot or in the microwave. I like to steam broccoli on the stovetop.
Bring the water to a boil then steam the broccoli in a steamer for 4-5 minutes until tender but still bright and crisp. You could also stir fry the broccoli for a few minutes in the pan after you cook the cabbage!
Quick Note: Broccoli will turn from tender and bright green to mushy and drab green at about 7 minutes of cooking time. Be careful not to overcook it!
Finally, assemble the bowls by starting with a big scoop of cabbage rice then add the kale, broccoli, avocado and tofu, finishing off with the sauce.
Notes and Tips
- Oil-Free Option: Replace the cooking oil with broth or water.
- Gluten-Free Option: Be sure to use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.
Variations and Additions
- Cabbage: For a low-carb replacement, use broccoli rice or cauliflower rice. Brown rice, quinoa and farro also work well but it wouldn’t be low-carb.
- Seeds: Add a sprinkle of hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for added fats and protein and some crunch!
- Tofu: Try it with marinated tempeh or edamame instead of tofu. Chickpeas can also replace the tofu, however, they’d be higher in carbs.
- Oil: Try sesame oil as an alternative to coconut oil for cooking the cabbage rice.
Storing and Prep
- Almond butter sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge. You may need to thin it with a little water after storing as it tends to thicken in the fridge.
- Tofu can be baked up to 3 days in advance.
- Broccoli and kale can be chopped and stored raw for up to 3 days before preparing the bowls.
- Bowls are best served fresh but can be stored up to 3 days in a sealed container if you leave avocado off until just before serving.
- Coconut Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowl: This one features lots of veggies with flavourful coconut cauliflower rice.
- Healthy Vegan Cauliflower Fried Rice: A veggie-packed low-carb fried rice option.
- Roasted Cauliflower Broccoli Bowls: Roasted cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and tahini lemon sauce for another low-carb vegan option.
- Teriyaki Chickpea Rice Bowl: Not low-carb but incredibly delicious!
- Tofu Edamame Bowl: High-protein bowls with tofu, edamame, carrot and cabbage. This recipe uses the same sauce as this one so double the sauce and try both for meal prep!
Did you try this recipe?
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This Asian-inspired, low-carb vegan dinner options features a twist on traditional rice: cabbage rice! You’ll love the “fried” rice paired with avocado, broccoli, kale and a creamy almond butter sauce.
For the Baked Tofu
- 1 350 g package firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed (see notes)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- pinch of black pepper
For the Almond Butter Sauce
- 4 tbsp peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter (60 g)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (unseasoned or seasoned)
- 2 tsp Sriracha sauce (reduce or omit if sensitive to spice)
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cashew, almond or coconut milk
- pinch of stevia, a few drops liquid stevia or 1 tbsp maple syrup
- salt and pepper
For the Cabbage Rice
- 1 small green cabbage, riced
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
For the Bowls
- 1–2 avocado (1/4–1/2 per bowl)
- 4 cups broccoli florets, steamed (1 cup per bowl)
- 4 cups finely chopped kale, steamed or massaged (1 cup per bowl)
- Bake Tofu: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cube the pressed tofu (see notes) and place in a bowl. Mix with the rest of the tofu ingredients then place the pieces on a parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking tray. Bake the tofu for 15-20 minutes, flip and bake another 10-20 minutes until it’s brown and puffy.
- Prepare Cabbage Rice: Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, slice in half then chop into chunks. Add the chunks to a food processor and pulse a few times until the cabbage has the consistency of rice. Alternatively, you can just finely chop or shred the cabbage using a mandolin.
- Cook Cabbage Rice: Add the “riced” cabbage to a large skillet with the oil, cilantro and green onion and cook over high until until tender and brown, about 6-10 minutes. Mix it well to start, then only mix every couple minutes so it can start to brown on the bottom.
- Steam Broccoli: Steam the broccoli stovetop by brining a pot of water to a boil then using a steamer basked to steam the broccoli for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer basket, just add about 1 inch of water to a pot or skillet, bring to a boil, add the broccoli, cover and steam 5 minutes.
- Massage Kale: Remove the kale leaves from the thick stems and finely chop. Either massage the kale with 1/2 tsp olive or avocado oil until softened and dark green, or steam for 1 minute to soften, using the same method as the broccoli.
- Make Dressing: Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or container until smooth and creamy.
- Assemble & Serve: To assemble the bowls, start with a big scoop of cabbage rice then add the kale, broccoli, avocado and tofu, then top with the sauce.
To press tofu, slice the tofu block into 3-4 slabs. Lay the slabs on a dishtowel on the counter top, then fold the towel over them. Place a cutting board or skillet on top of them along with a few heavy objects such as some cookbooks. Let sit for 15-30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. You can also use a tofu press if you have one. This is optional but will make it a little crispier.
Bowls can be packed and stored in the fridge up to 3 days if you leave the avocado off until serving. I would also recommend storing the sauce separately.
To save time, tofu can be baked up to 3 days in advance and almond butter sauce can be prepared up to 5 days in advance. Broccoli and kale can be chopped and stored raw for up to 3 days before preparing the bowls.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 423
- Sugar: 0 g
- Fat: 27 g
- Carbohydrates: 30 g
- Fiber: 14 g
- Protein: 23 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Keywords: low-carb vegan recipe, low-carb vegan bowl
Originally published on March 20, 2019. Updated with new photos and text on September 15, 2020.