Forbidden Black Rice Bowls

The perfect easy family meal for Meatless Monday? Forbidden Black Rice Bowls. 

Forbidden Rice Bowl recipe from

I've become fully obsessed with anything in a bowl. Acai bowls, Burrito Bowls, Broccoli Cheese Soup served in a bread bowl, Homemade Ramen Soup and especially these Forbidden Black Rice Bowls. They're so incredibly delicious we sent them in my organic meal delivery company, One Potato, to all of our vegetarian families.

Forbidden Rice Bowl recipe from

I make and cut up a few of the kids favorite foods like black rice, cucumbers, carrots, fresh spinach and tofu and drizzle (or totally cover in Kenya's case) with a massively addictive tahini dressing. I like using sesame seeds to keep it nut free, but you could also substitute any of your favorite nuts in the sauce.

It's interesting to me the psychology of using a plate versus a bowl. When I offer foods on a plate the kids generally ask them to be spaced out, but if I serve food (as I have been recently) in a good sized bowl they have no qualms about foods getting all mixed up together as you want to do here. Bowl food to me is just a mix of all kinds of foods with different colors textures that you want to mix up so that every bites has a ton of interesting flavors.

Don't have one of the vegetables on hand in the recipe? You can add or sub anything you have on hand and enjoy. Slice some radishes, air fry your favorite summer or winter squash. No tofu?Broil a piece of salmon or chop grilled chicken. Meals are always more fun when you make them your way!

This Forbidden Black Rice Bowl is so satisfying it offering a variety of tastes like sweet, salty, nutty, soft, crunchy and more that will leave you wanting more!

Photos by Matt Armendariz

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Forbidden Black Rice Bowls (serves 4)

Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free


  • 1 1/2 cups black rice, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 pound firm tofu, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons tahini, peanut or almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2-3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup sprouts (daikon, radish, or sunflower)
  • chopped peanuts, optional


1. Place the black rice, 3 cups of water, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 25-30 minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Add the cubed tofu, toss to coat, and set aside to marinate.

3. In a small saucepan, combine the tahini, coconut milk, curry paste, lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add more coconut milk.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook until slightly crispy on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

5. Place a handful of spinach in each bowl, add a scoop of black rice, tofu, and drizzle with tahini sauce.

6. Top with carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, and peanuts.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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  • Mary-Claire

    Would medium tofu work just as well? What is the difference between that and firm? Is one wetter than the other?
    Can't wait to try this! We're looking for some more interesting bowl ideas, and this fits the bill. Thanks, Catherine!

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    • McCord

      The difference is in the liquid content, and the texture. Firm is more firm so it hold up better when being cooked, especially when sauteeing or wok cooking where it is getting moved around a bit. Medium would work in this recipe, it just might fall apart easier instead of keeping its shape in the cubes.

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  • Julie

    What would you suggest as a substitution for coconut milk? Or is it critical?

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    • McCord

      The coconut milk is used to thin the sauce and add flavor. You can use a different liquid, even water, but it will change the taste of the sauce.

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  • Alison

    Do you have any other legume type suggestions for a substitute for the tofu? This looks delicious!

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  • Samantha

    [Comment awaiting moderation]

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