Make your own Life Alive

One of my favorite local places to eat out at is a vegetarian restaurant in Cambridge called Life Alive. It’s a crunchy, hippie place, full of plants and inspirational quotes, and you never, ever feel badly about yourself when you eat there.

In addition to wheatgrass shots, kombucha, and fresh-made juices, they offer a variety of “warm meals” with names like The Goddess (“Our famous Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce nurturing carrots, beet, broccoli, dark greens, & tofu gracing short-grain brown rice”) and The Alchemist (“Our Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce transforming sweet corn, shredded carrots, dark greens, tofu, sun-sprouts & sesame seeds over protein-rich quinoa”).

Vegetarian restaurants can be drab places full of sorry mixes of bland vegetable, but Life Alive proves that good for you food can also taste good. The meals are surprisingly tasty, a creative mix of vegetables enlivened by bold sauces that feature garlic and ginger prominently. Even my dad, a practical carnivore, loved it.

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Of course, I’m not the only one who loves it there. The restaurant is often packed, and service can be somewhat… relaxed. Since the food is made to order, sometimes it takes a while. And on occasion, my food has been given to the wrong table, which is a huge bummer when it’s 6:30 p.m. and you’re starving. It’s also kind of a tough place to go with a big group.

So I was sort of excited when I was perusing the internet a few months ago and found a recipe for something called a “winter abundance bowl.” That looks like something they’d make at Life Alive, I thought as I read. And then a eureka moment: “I could make that at home…”

And so I did, and it was good, but I did some tweaking to better suit my tastes. A few weeks ago I invited some friends over for “Make your own Life Alive” and they raved about it. So last weekend, wanting to fuel well before running the Newport 10-miler, we did it again. This time, I made the garlic pepita sauce, and also made a recipe based on ginger nama shoyu sauce they serve at Life Alive, using this recipe as a guide.

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The spread

Rather than pre-making bowls, I just set out bowls of vegetables and let people mix their own. Saturday we had quinoa, brown rice, shredded carrots, sautéed zucchini and summer squash, steamed kale, roasted root vegetables, grated raw beets, sautéed mushrooms, bok choy, sweet potatoes, tofu, kimchi, and shredded chicken. It was a huge hit, and a great pre-race meal. Everyone who ate it PR’d the next day… and Scott won second in his age group. I think we’ll be making this a mainstay.

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 Selfie with food/ Scott’s bowl #1/ Scott post-run, with award (2nd in his age group!)

To make your own Life Alive/ Abundance bowl, simply start with the grain of your choice, top with your favorite vegetables and protein, and then drizzle with one of the sauces below. Again, this is great for a family or a crowd as everyone can make a bowl to suit their tastes. Like kale? Take extra. Hate mushrooms? Leave them out! It’s pretty simple.

Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce

4 garlic cloves
4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 cup lemon juice (you may want a bit more, adjust to your taste)
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. If mixture is too thick add additional water until it’s the desired consistency.

***

Green garlic and ginger pepita sauce
(adapted from My New Roots)

1 cup pepitas, toasted
4 cloves garlic
4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. apple cider vinegar (or white will be ok too)
3 Tb. lemon juice
1 cup water
salt to taste
your favorite hot sauce, to taste

Blitz all ingredients in a food processor/blender until smooth. Mixture will thicken overnight, so you may need to thin it with some water before serving.

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2 thoughts on “Make your own Life Alive

  1. This. Is. Awesome. I love Life Alive and I’ve been searching for a recipe to help me make their stuff at home (I just can’t wait in the lines all the time!). Thank you so much!

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