Even though I don’t eat a vegan diet, I just LOVE this plant-based dish with its contrasting textures, bright colors, and aromas.

You can add pretty much anything in your fridge’s vegetable compartment to these bowls: sliced cabbage, sauteed mushrooms, sliced peppers, green beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli(ni), carrots, zucchini, etc. While it’s fine to add these in their raw state, I prefer their flavor and texture when they’re lightly cooked.

Here, for instance, I microwave the sliced cabbage for a minute to make it slightly less chewy. I also sautee the mushrooms with garlic, which brings out their flavor and greatly improves their texture. Broccoli(ni), zucchini, peppers, and green beans also work better here when lightly steamed or blanched for a minute or two. But you do you. 🙂

You may be wondering why there’s so little rice in these rice bowls (I use 1/2 cup per serving). You can, of course, use more rice than this; if you have healthy glucose levels and/or are physically active, you probably tolerate — and may even need — more starchy foods like rice.

However, compared to all the other ingredients in this dish, rice is the one that provides the fewest nutrients and the most starch. (Even with a puny 1/2 cup of rice, a serving of this dish provides 40 grams of net carbohydrate — significantly more than most of my other recipes.)

For anyone with blood-sugar issues like (pre)diabetes, eating a lot of starch in one sitting may not be super helpful. If you use a glucometer or continuous glucose monitor, track your glucose after eating this dish and adjust your rice intake accordingly; you may tolerate a little more than 1/2 cup, or you may find that even 1/2 cup is more than your pancreas is happy with.

For this reason, too, I recommend you use parboiled rice, or rice that’s been cooked & chilled, as these are high in “resistant starch,” a type of starch that doesn’t spike blood glucose levels. Moreover, resistant starch is one of our gut flora’s favorite foods, so eating parboiled or cooked & chilled rice may support your gut health. (If you want to read my geeky post on resistant starch, click here.)

The best thing about this dish is that you can throw it together in minutes, provided you have cooked rice and a block or two of baked tofu in your fridge. And if you share meals with others, you can put out several different vegetable & protein options and let everyone choose the ones they like best.

Tofu & Vegetable Rice Bowls with Sesame Dressing

Keyword: 30 Minutes Max., Dairy-Free (or can be), Gluten-Free (or can be), Keto (or can be), Legumes, Low-Carb, Lunch, Salads, Vegan (or can be), Vegetarian (or can be)
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 bowls
Calories: 571kcal
Delicious, nutritious, super-quick to prepare, and vegan!
Print Recipe


Sesame dressing (makes about 6 servings)

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari tamari is wheat-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tahini or Chinese sesame paste (more authentic, but harder to find)
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely minced
  • 1 fat clove garlic finely minced
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha sauce or some other chili sauce; use more or less, depending on your spice tolerance

Rice, Vegetable & Tofu Bowls

  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 5 oz shiitake mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 cup rice, cooked & chilled preferably brown; I use Ben's whole-grain rice
  • 3 cups coleslaw or cruciferous mix available bagged & ready-washed at most supermarkets
  • ½ cup edamame beans
  • 2 medium scallion (green onion) thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp sesame dressing homemade (see above) or store-bought (I like Trader Joe's Organic Toasted Sesame Dressing)
  • 2 blocks baked tofu look for tofu that provides around 18 g of protein per serving; sriracha or teriyaki-flavored tofu is particularly delicious here. My favorites are Trader Joe's or Sprouts.
  • 3 tsp sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 6 sprigs cilantro coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds toasted, black or white


  • Combine all the ingredients for the sesame dressing in a small mixing bowl and stir with a wire whisk until creamy. Transfer to a clean jar, seal tightly, and refrigerate until needed. (This keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge.)
  • In a small-medium skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add the sliced garlic; saute for 30 seconds, stirring (don't let it brown as it may develop a bitter taste). Next, add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring, until they have softened and roughly halved in volume. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Spoon the rice into two heat-proof bowls and add the coleslaw mix and edamame beans. Cover the bowls and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Retrieve the bowls and set them on the countertop.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of the dressing over each bowl, add the chopped green onions, and toss everything until the rice & vegetables are well coated by the dressing.
  • Cut each block of tofu into 12 cubes and set them on top of the bowls. If you want the tofu to be warm, return the bowls to the microwave for another 30 seconds; if not, continue.
  • Drizzle the tofu with sweet chili sauce, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and scatter with the chopped cilantro. Tuck in!


If you eat a low-carb or keto diet, substitute cooked rice with lightly steamed cauliflower rice.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 955mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 628IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 218mg | Iron: 6mg