Vegan Rice Bowl

Kind of similar to the Quinoa Black Bean Bowl I posted several months ago, this is a relatively easy recipe that can be tailored to your personal tastes!

I’ve included two variations of this style of bowl – one with brown rice, fried tofu, and fresh vegetables, and the other with a brown-and-wild rice medley with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and beans.

This recipe can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce and substitute the flour for another gluten-free flour (I’ve used brown rice flour for this, and it works quite well).

Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes for the tofu bowl, ~45 minutes for the sweet potato bowl.


For the tofu bowl:

  • 200 g extra firm tofu.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil.
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce.
  • 1 tsp grated ginger.
  • 1/2 – 1 cup flour, for coating the tofu.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated into thin strips.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), sliced into very thin strips.
  • 6 large handfuls spinach (or other greens – bok choy would work nicely), washed.

For the sweet potato bowl:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp Za’atar (Middle Eastern blend of herbs and sesame seeds), or other herbs.
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets.
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.

For the dressing (goes with both bowls):

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce.
  • 1/3 cup apple cider/balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 tbsp tahini.
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
  • splash of hot sauce.
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (olive oil works well).

Cooking Instructions:

For the dressing:

Add the soy, vinegar, tahini, garlic, hot sauce, and vinegar to a blender/food processor. If you have an immersion blender, use the beaker that came with it. Blend the dressing, slowly dribbling in the oil.

Alternatively, mince the garlic very finely, and then just mix it all together in a bowl with a fork. Depends on how much effort you want to expend.

For the tofu bowl:

Cook your brown rice in a rice cooker, or in  a pot on the stove according to package directions. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water. While it cooks, it’s time to press and marinate your tofu.

This is how I like to press my tofu – place it on a bed of paper towels on a large plate, then place another plate on top. Put something heavy on top of the plate (a couple of cans or a cookbook work well!), and allow it to press on the tofu for at least 10 minutes.

Once you’re done pressing the tofu, cut it into 1 cm cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, five spice, and ginger, and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate your carrots and beets. You want them to be as long as possible, but nice and thin! If you don’t have a grater, you can sliced them into a very fine julienne. Slice your peppers up too.

When the tofu is done marinating, get a large frying pan on high heat, and add enough oil to generously cover to bottom of the pan.

Prep a large shallow bowl with the flour. Add a pinch of black pepper to the flour for seasoning. Roll the tofu in the flour, tapping off the excess, and then add it to the pan. Fry the tofu, flipping it so it cooks evenly on all sides. Once the tofu is browned and crispy all over, remove it from the pan and pat off excess oil on a paper towel. You could also deep-fry the tofu, if you feel like going to the effort of it.

Serve with the brown rice in the bottom, then the spinach, then the sliced vegetables, then the tofu. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!

For the sweet potato bowl:

Mix the rice all together and cook either in a rice cooker, or on the stove. This amount of rice should use about 4 cups of water and take about 45 minutes. Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt to the water used to cook the rice. Now, time to prep everything else.

Toss your sweet potatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and the Za’atar. Pop them in an oven at 400 F/190 C for approx 30 minutes, until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

When the sweet potatoes have about 10 minutes left in the oven, heat a lidded frying pan over medium heat with a splash of oil in the bottom. When the oil is hot, add your broccoli and cauliflower. Cook, covered, for a couple minutes, then add your lemon juice. Stir every so often, keeping the lid on the pan, so that the vegetables steam in the lemon juice. When they become tender, season with salt and pepper, then take them off the heat.

Stir the black beans into the rice mixture, then serve with the rice on the bottom, then the broccoli and cauliflower, and top with the sweet potato. Add as much or as little dressing as you like!



Gillis Family Borscht

A classic Russian soup, with a few family twists. Full of vegetables and with very little fat, this is a super healthy, super yummy soup. Served with some potato latkes or some brown bread, it gets taken to a whole new level.

Prep Time: ~1 hour
Serves 4-5


  • 1 ½ cups potatoes, thinly sliced.
  • 1 cup beets, thinly sliced.
  • 4 cups water/vegetable stock.
  • 2 tbsp mild vegetable oil (olive, grape seed, canola, etc).
  • 1 ½ cups onions, chopped.
  • 1 large carrot, sliced.
  • 1 large stalk celery, sliced.
  • 3 cups cabbage, shredded.
  • 1 cup tomato puree.
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cider vinegar.
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup or similar sweetener.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, plus some to garnish.
  • As much dill (fresh is better, but dried works well too) as you like, plus some to garnish.

Cooking Instructions:

Boil the potatoes and beets in the stock/water until tender, around 10-15 minutes. Remove them from the liquid, setting aside for further use.

In a large pot, fry the onions in the oil until translucent, adding in the salt and caraway seeds. Next, add the carrots, celery, and cabbage, season with pepper. Fry for a few minutes, to let the flavors mingle.

Pour in the tomato puree and the liquid you used to cook the beets and potatoes. Toss in your dill. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables start to get tender.

Next,  add the beets and potatoes back into the pot. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes, tasting to test the seasoning from time to time. Serve hot or chilled, with a little dill and some caraway seeds as a garnish.

Oven-roasted Root Vegetable Medley

A very simple way to cook root vegetables, but delicious and pretty hard to mess up. Mix up the vegetables you use based on personal preference and what’s in season! A nice mix of colorful vegetables looks nice, especially if you’re serving this to people at a dinner party or the like.

Prep time: ~1 hour
Serves 4


  • 6 cups various root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc), peeled if desired, chopped into roughly bite-sized pieces.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and dill all work nicely).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the vegetables in a large roasting tray or baking dish, and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle on your salt, pepper, and herbs, and toss again. Cook for at least 30 minutes, or however long it takes to make the vegetables soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. This will depend on the kinds of veggies you use, and how large you cut them.