Black Rice Bowls with Tofu and Veggies

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

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the miso ginger salad dressing

  • 1 piece (1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons 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

  • 1 block (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu
  • Olive oil spray
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

For the rice

  • 1 cup black rice or forbidden rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the pickles:

  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 Persian (small) cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

 For the kale

  • 1 bunch kale (any kind), washed, dried and stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

To serve

  • Toasted almonds, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves or Thai basil, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup currants, for garnish


1 Make the salad dressing: In a blender, finely chop the ginger and garlic.

Add the water, vinegar, miso, soy sauce, honey, olive oil and sesame oil and blend until smooth. (Dressing will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.)

Black Rice Bowls with Tofu and Vegetables make the miso dressingTofu and Veggie Rice Bowl blend the miso dressing ingredients

2 Bake the tofu: Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Coat a baking dish or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.

Place the tofu in a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of the miso dressing. Toss to coat and transfer to the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Toss with the scallions and an additional 2 tablespoons of the miso dressing. Set aside.

The tofu can be baked up to three days ahead; wait to toss with scallions and the additional miso dressing until ready to serve.

Tofu and Veggie Rice Bowl prep the tofu for roastingBlack Rice Bowls with Tofu and Vegetables roast the tofu

3 Cook the 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 (taste a few grains to test). Drain in a fine meshed sieve and transfer to a bowl until ready to use. (The rice will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.)

4 Make the pickle brine: In a bowl, stir together the vinegar, 1 teaspoon of the salt and sugar until the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in the water.

5 Make the cauliflower pickles: Place the cauliflower in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of the pickle brine. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. (Store in the brine, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

Rice Bowl Recipe with Tofu and Vegetables prep the cauliflower

6 Make the smashed cucumber pickles: With a mallet or heavy pan, gently whack the cucumbers to crack the skin. Cut them in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch pieces. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Set a colander over a bowl, add the cucumbers and allow them to drain for 15 minutes.

Discard the liquid in the bowl. To the now-empty bowl, add the cucumbers (the cucumbers do not need to be rinsed). Toss with the remaining pickle brine (about 3 tablespoons), soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Cucumbers can be stored for a few hours before serving, but get mushy if stored for longer.

Rice Bowl Recipe with Tofu and Vegetables smashing the cucumberBlack Rice Bowls with Tofu and Vegetables straining the cucumbersTofu and Veggie Rice Bowl Pickling the Cucumbers

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

The kale can be massaged a few hours before serving, but become wilted if stored for longer.

Rice Bowl Recipe with Tofu and Vegetables massaging the kale

8 Assemble the bowls: Divide the rice between four bowls and top with tofu, cauliflower pickles, smashed cucumbers, and kale. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and currants. Serve with extra dressing on the side.