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Forbidden Rice Bowl

Forbidden Rice Bowl
Photo by Quentin Bacon, food styling by Suzanne Lenzer, and prop styling by Maeve Sheridan


Rice bowls are on the menu at all the hip farm-to-table restaurants these days, and for good reason. These meals-in-a-bowl – which involve a mound of warm rice, or other grain topped with an array of vegetable, some kind of protein, and a pour of tasty sauce – are templates for creativity and can easily be built around whatever ingredients are in season, what you are in the mood for, and what you have on hand. I used black rice (also called forbidden rice) here for its nutty texture and sex appeal, but you could use brown or red rice, or even farro, barley, or quinoa. Any mix of vegetables will work, but I recommend including something leafy, something crunchy, and something pickled. As for the protein, here it is a hardboiled egg, but some marinated tofu, or sliced chicken for the carnivores would also be delicious.


Forbidden Rice Bowl



For the sauce:
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

For the rice bowl:
5 ounces baby kale or spinach leaves
6 cups cooked (hot) black (“Forbidden”) rice or brown rice
6 large eggs, hardboiled, halved
1 cup Pickled Red Onions (see below) or store-bought kimchi
1 ½ cups bean sprouts
2 medium carrots, shredded (1 ½ cups)
½ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
1 scallion, thinly sliced



In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut oil and sesame oil. Sauce may be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.

Place the kale or spinach leaves in a steamer basket fitted over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until wilted, 4 minutes. Alternatively, place in a microwave safe bowl with 1 tablespoon of water, cover tightly and microwave on high for 4 minutes, drain. Greens may be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Place 1 cup of hot rice into each bowl. Arrange 1/3 cup of the greens (still warm or chilled), two egg halves, a few pickled onions or some kimchi, ¼ cup beans sprouts, and ¼ cup carrots on top of the rice. Sprinkle 1 heaping tablespoon of peanuts on top of each and drizzle each with about 1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce and some of the scallion.

Makes 6 servings
Serving size: 1 rice bowl

Per serving: Calories 480; Total Fat 20g (Mono Fat 8.5g, Poly Fat 5.5g, Sat Fat 3.7g); Protein 17g; Carb 60g; Fiber 7g; Cholesterol 185mg; Sodium 390mg


Pickled Red Onions

⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
¾ cup sliced red onion

Stir together vinegar and honey in a small bowl until combined well. Stir in red onions and let stand, stirring occasionally, at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 cup, 10 servings
Serving size: 1 ½ tablespoons

Per serving: Calories 10; Total Fat 0g (Mono Fat 0g, Poly Fat 0g, Sat Fat 0g); Protein 0g; Carb 2g; Fiber 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 0mg

Excellent source of: n/a

Good source of: n/a

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