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Gado Gado

Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina and Cory Davis
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 20
  • Cooking: 20
  • Ready: 40

Inspired by one of Indonesia’s national dishes, this Gado Gado consists of lots of lovely raw or steamed veg, tofu or tempeh and a spicy peanut sauce!


For the tofu or tempeh

  • 12 ounces (360 g) firm tofu or tempeh, cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) low-sodium or regular tamari
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt-free seasoning blend of choice
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) ground turmeric

For the vegetables

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cut green beans
  • 2 cups (500 ml) broccoli florets and pieces
  • 4 cups (1 litre) chopped leafy greens (such as bok choy, kale or collards)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) mung bean sprouts
  • 2 cups (500 ml) finely shredded red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips

For the optional toppings

  • ½ cup (125 ml) sliced green onions
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh cilantro (coriander), lightly packed
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) crushed unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges
  • hot sauce
  • Gado Gado Sauce (see below), for serving

For the Gado Gado Sauce

  • ¾ cup (185 ml) very hot water
  • ½ cup (125 ml) peanut butter
  • 2 pitted medjool dates or 6 pitted deglet noor dates
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tahini
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) low-sodium or regular tamari
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) tamarind paste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small hot chillies, or ½ teaspoon (2 ml) hot sauce


To make the Gado Gado

To make the tofu or tempeh, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a medium baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Put the tofu or tempeh in a medium bowl. Coat with tamari, seasoning blend and turmeric. Transfer the tofu or tempeh to the prepared baking sheet. Bake the tofu or tempeh for 20 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer it to a medium bowl.

Steam the vegetables in two batches. Start by steaming the sweet potatoes for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and steam for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for 4 minutes. Arrange the sweet potatoes, green beans, and broccoli on a large platter or on individual plates.

Steam the leafy greens for 2 minutes. Add the beansprouts and steam for 1 minute. Arrange the leafy greens, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper and tofu or tempeh on the platter. Serve with the optional toppings of your choice. Top with Gado Gado Sauce, or pass the sauce at the table.

To make the Gado Gado Sauce

Put the water, peanut butter, dates, lime juice, tahini, tamari, optional tamarind paste, ginger, garlic and hot chillies in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Use immediately or chill before serving. Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, the sauce will keep for 5 days.

As well as being the topping for Gado Gado, this spicy peanut sauce also pairs perfectly with salads, power bowls and wraps. Tahini replaces the more traditional sesame oil used in peanut sauce, and dates replace the sugar.

Tip: Although the tamarind paste is optional, it gives this sauce a more authentic flavour. Since the sauce thickens with refrigeration, thin it with water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Additonal notes

Recipe from Plant Powered Protein by Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina and Cory Davis. Published by Book Publishing Company ©2023. Reprinted by permission.

“Gado gado is one of Indonesia’s five national dishes. It consists of vegetables that are raw or steamed until crisp-tender, plus tofu or tempeh. Then it’s topped with a spicy peanut sauce. We give the dish a healthy lift by baking rather than frying the tofu or tempeh and omitting the oil in the sauce. Get creative with the vegetables and include local and seasonal choices.”

Nutritional information (Gado Gado without the sauce)

Per serving (one-fourth recipe):
Calories: 235
Protein: 16 g
Leucine: 1,018 mg
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrate: 39 g
Fibre: 10 g
Iron: 4.9 mg
Zinc: 2 mg
Calcium: 371 mg
Sodium: 406 mg
Percent of calories from:
Protein 25%
Fat 16%
Carbohydrate 59%

Nutritional information (Gado Gado Sauce)

Per ⅓ cup (85 ml):
Calories: 266
Protein: 9 g
Leucine: 588 mg
Fat: 20 g
Carbohydrate: 19 g
Fibre: 3 g
Iron: 1.1 mg
Zinc: 1.2 mg
Calcium: 39 mg
Sodium: 368 mg
Percent of calories from:
Protein 13%
Fat 61%
Carbohydrate 26%

Front cover of 'Plant Powered Protein' by Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina and Cory Davis

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