Black Rice Bowls with Tofu and Veggies
Black Rice Bowls with Tofu and Veggies

Endlessly versatile, these black rice bowls with tofu and veggies with miso dressing are SO GOOD! They make a satisfying lunch or dinner for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike.

Welcome to the world of grain bowls!

How to make a grain bowl

I recently visited the kitchen at Whole Heart Provisions in Boston, a popular local grain bowl restaurant, and learned a few tricks from their chef, Rebecca Arnold.

According to Chef Arnold, a great grain bowl should surprise with every bite. She likes to cook her grains in a pot of boiling water (like cooking pasta) so they’re perfectly plump and tender. She also likes to add some crunch to add some texture to the dish.

What to put in your grain bowl

  • Full grain: Try brown rice, quinoa, millet, farro, kamut, barley, or black rice like we do in this recipe. Different grains add different textures and flavors to the bowl. Try different types and see what you like!
  • Fried vegetables: Roasted vegetables like squash or Brussels sprouts add great flavor to grain shells. Make a little more next time you’re making something for dinner and save it for your cereal bowls. You can reheat them before serving or eat them at room temperature.
  • Protein: Baked or marinated tofu, leftover grilled or fried chicken, steak or pork, or hard-boiled eggs are all good additions to a grain bowl.
  • Fresh Green: Try kale, collards, collards, spinach, or other favorite vegetables. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt to bring out their flavor.
  • Fresh herbs: Coriander, Italian Parsley, Basil, Thai Basil are just some of the fresh herbs you can taste. They add a savory flavor to the dish.
  • Something Crunchy: Roasted nuts, fried chickpeas, corn nuts, and even crunchy Japanese snacks add a bit of texture to the dish.
  • Something sour: Quick homemade pickles, kimchi, and a tart or creamy dressing bring the flavors together in your bowl.
  • Something sweet: Chewy dried fruits like currants, dried cranberries or raisins add even more texture to the bowl, plus some surprising bursts of sweetness.

After speaking to Chef Arnold, I decided to experiment with my own rice bowls. The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my new favorite combinations.

Originally from China, black rice is a medium-grain rice that turns a deep purple color when cooked. It has a nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. Look for it in big urban markets like Whole Foods; You will sometimes find that it is called “forbidden rice”.

I rubbed olive oil into the kale for my grain bowl, which sounds like a hassle but really only takes a few minutes. Rubbing the leaves with your fingers breaks some of the tough fibers and helps sweeten the kale, making it silky and flavorful.

I made my cucumbers for this recipe from pretty pink cauliflower florets, but cucumbers, thinly sliced ​​radishes, grated carrots, and thinly sliced ​​beets are a few other options. Once pickled, these vegetables will keep in brine in the fridge for at least a week.

The following recipe is really just a blueprint. Use Chef Arnold’s instructions above and mix and match the ingredients however you like!

Tips for Success

  • Cook your cereal like Chef Arnold! Cook Arnold prefers to cook her grains in plenty of boiling salted water, just like you cook pasta. This may feel counterintuitive, but the method produces tender grains that are perfectly cooked and separated, never gummy or mushy. Use the cooking times on your package as a guide, but bite into a few grains and go by tenderness to determine when the grains are done. Drain the grains and store in the fridge for a week. You can reheat them before assembling your grain bowl or just eat them as is.
  • Make-ahead grain bowl components: For this recipe, grains, brine and pickles, roasted vegetables, baked tofu, and salad dressing can be prepared a few days in advance. The mashed cucumbers and kale can be made a few hours ahead of time, but won’t keep much longer.
  • Components added just before serving: Keep the roasted nuts, veggies, and herbs separate and add them to the grain bowl at the last minute to keep them from softening or wilting.

Other grain bowls to try

  • Mediterranean chickpea shells with tahini sauce
  • Black bean burrito bowls
  • Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl
  • Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

Black rice bowls with tofu and vegetables

preparation time
30 minutes

cooking time
35 minutes

total time
65 minutes

up to 6 servings

Red miso has a deep and intense flavor that works well in this recipe, but you can use milder white or yellow miso as well.


For the miso ginger salad dressing:

  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh gingerpeeled and cut into thin slices

  • 1/2 clove garlicthinly sliced

  • 1/4 Cup water

  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoon red miso (See recipe note)

  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/4 Cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

For the baked tofu:

  • 14 ounces (1 block) extra firm tofu

  • olive oil spray

  • 3 spring onionswhite and light green parts, thinly sliced

For the rice:

  • 1 Cup black rice or forbidden rice

  • 6 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon kosher Salt

For the cucumbers:

  • 1 Cup unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 3 teaspoon Saltdivided

  • 2 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 Cup water

  • 1/2 small head cauliflowercut into small florets

  • 3 Persian (small) cucumbers

  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the kale:

  • 1 bunch Kale (of any kind), washed, dried and de-stemmed

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • Kosher salt taste


  • Roasted almondsfor garnish

  • coriander Leaves or Thai basil for garnish

  • 1/4 Cup currantsfor garnish


  1. Prepare the salad dressing:

    Finely chop the ginger and garlic in a blender.

    Add the water, vinegar, miso, soy sauce, honey, olive oil, and sesame oil and stir until smooth. (The dressing will keep in the fridge for at least a week.)

  2. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat a casserole dish or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. Spread the tofu with miso, bake, and then toss with more miso and green onions:

    Cut the tofu into 2.5 cm cubes and pat dry thoroughly with kitchen paper.

    Place the tofu in a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of the miso dressing. Toss to coat and place in casserole dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Mix in the spring onions and another 2 tablespoons of the miso dressing. Put aside.

    The tofu can be baked up to three days in advance; Wait until serving with the spring onions and the additional miso dressing.

  4. Cook rice:

    In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender (try a few grains to test). Drain in a fine sieve and transfer to a bowl until ready to use. (The rice will keep in the fridge for about a week.)

  5. Make the pickle brine:

    In a bowl, stir together vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar until salt and sugar are dissolved. To stir in water.

  6. Make the cauliflower pickles:

    Place the cauliflower in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of the pickle brine. Leave to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. (Store covered in the brine in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

  7. Make the smashed cucumber pickles:

    Using a mallet or heavy skillet, gently pound the cucumbers to crack the skin. Cut them in half lengthwise, then into 1-inch pieces. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Place a colander over a bowl, add the cucumbers and allow to drain for 15 minutes.

    Pour the liquid into the bowl. In the now empty bowl, add the cucumbers (you don’t need to rinse the cucumbers). Mix in the remaining pickle brine (about 3 tablespoons), soy sauce, and sesame oil.

    Cucumbers can be stored for a few hours before serving, but will become mushy with prolonged storage.

  8. Massaging kale:

    In a large bowl, toss the kale with the oil. Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into the leaves for about 1 minute. Tear them into bite-sized pieces as you work. Sprinkle lightly with salt to taste.

    The kale can be massaged a few hours before serving, but will wilt if stored for a long time.

  9. Assemble bowls:

    Divide the rice among four bowls and garnish with tofu, cauliflower pickles, mashed cucumbers, and kale. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and currants. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

nutritional information (per serving)
355 calories
23g Fat
28g carbohydrates
11g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!