First let me say YES, I realize this dish is 99.9 percent brown. The Protein Trio from Monica Pope's Green Plum Kitchen that I picked up at the Urban Harvest City Hall Farmers Market (Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) might be a tad monochromatic, but it's healthy, light and flavorful, which makes it perfect yoga fuel. That it's portable is all the better, since I like to hit classes at different studios all over the city.
The Protein Trio consists of farro and red quinoa with organic edamame dressed with sherry-walnut vinaigrette, a brick of seasoned tofu, and two plump, mini Portobello mushrooms. Initially I thought this vegan dish was a little pricey at $8, but after just a few bites it became clear that my lunch would fuel at least two yoga sessions. The container is marked with a net weight of 8 ounces, and since it's packed with protein, this is a generous portion indeed.
The red quinoa was light and almost crisp, not oatmeal gummy, with the tangy vinaigrette working to keep the grains out "breakfast" territory. The farro, more dense and chewy than the quinoa, gave way to the flavors of the dressing a bit more successfully than the quinoa. I have a love/hate thing with tofu, and it was the big surprise.
I tend to not love firm tofu, but this portion had a consistency almost like that of New York cheesecake: It was dense and moist, a combination of cake-y and creamy. I liked the way the Asian flavors of the tofu -- light soy and ginger notes -- played off the tarragon and mustard flavors in the dressing. I rocked 45 minutes of yoga a mere 20 minutes later, so this is safe for pre-practice as well as a post-practice muscle recovery/hunger killer.
So how did the dish hold up over night? Really quite well. In fact, the mustard flavor in the dressing is even more distinct after marinating overnight. The grains held up well texturally, as did the tofu; the slightest bit of give toward softness was detectable, but eaten within 24 hours, this high-protein vegan dish is a satisfying $4 per-serving lunch, twice-over.
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