Brown Rice Bowls with Steamed Tofu

by Valerie on November 17, 2010 · 3 comments

Rice Cooker

You know how much I heart the versatility of the rice cooker and meals centered around a bowl of brown rice.   They make such an easy satisfying dinner.  Other bloggers, like Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl or Kim of Affairs of Living, are also fans of brown rice bowls or basmati pilaf bowls (and speaking of the versatility of rice cookers, I loved Carrie’s post on using a rice cooker while traveling).  I just reread Carrie’s and Kim’s posts and realized they soak their rice before using the rice cooker  – I should try that – but in the meantime, here is my approach to an easy, satisfying dinner, with leftovers.  

Essentially, I make the rice cooker do all the work ). My rice cooker has a brown rice setting which takes about an hour and 45 minutes for a cup of brown rice.  About 30 minutes before the rice is ready, I add pressed tofu, cut into chunks, and sliced zucchini, as well as another half cup of water.  I usually make this on Sunday nights, because while the brown rice cooks I do other food prep for the week, throw in the pressed tofu and the zucchini and go back to food prep.  Once the rice cooker beeps, I let everything steam another few minutes, while I throw together a quick stir-fry (lately it has been garlic, red peppers and spinach) and then serve up a delicious rice bowl, topped with a dollop of miso and infused with sesame.  And while I  love my rice cooker dearly, you can use the same approach if you cook rice on the stove.

I made this meal a lot in August because of the bounty of produce, but  I still wanted to share it with you now as this recipe is more about a method – you can always substitute other vegetables.   I am submitting this to both Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday , a weekly event (just realized my Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe from last week got a shoutout!) and Linda’s Gluten-Free Wednesday, also a weekly event.  

Brown rice bowl with miso
Brown Rice Bowls with Steamed Tofu (Gluten-free, Vegan, Low-Glycemic, Nut-Free, Soy-free option)
Serves two with plenty of leftovers
·         1 cup brown rice
·         1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into large cubes
·         2 zucchinis, sliced into ½ inch thick slices
·         1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil
·         2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
·         2 red peppers, sliced
·         ½ pound of baby spinach, rinsed   
For serving:
·         Miso of your choice (I love South River Miso)
·         Sesame or sesame chili oil
·         Sesame seeds
Rinse the brown rice. Place it in rice cooker and follow instructions (mine requires adding enough water to cover the rice by about an inch and a half) to cook brown rice.  Half an hour before the rice is ready (most rice cookers take about an hour and forty five minutes for a cup of brown rice, but check the instructions), add an additional half cup of water and layer the pressed tofu on top of the rice.  Layer the zucchini on top of the tofu and close the rice cooker.  When rice cooker cycle ends, heat grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan or wok, and add the chopped garlic.  Cook garlic for 30 seconds, and add red peppers, tossing with tongs and sauté for 30 seconds, until just softened but still firm and crispy.  Add spinach, put a lid on the pan, and turn heat off.  After a minute, take lid off and toss spinach with red peppers until spinach is wilted. Serve up rice, tofu, zucchini and stir-fry, top with miso and, if desired, a bit of sesame oil (I like using chili sesame oil) and sesame seeds.  
A few notes:
  • You can follow this method when making rice on the stove.  Adjust timing based on stovetop instructions for cooking brown rice.
  • For pressing the tofu, see instructions here.  If you cook tofu often, you may want to consider a TofuXpress. I thought it was a gimmicky gadget until I won one in a giveaway, and now I am kicking myself for not buying one earlier. It works beautifully.
  • And finally, if you do not tolerate tofu, I would recommend substituting cooked chickpeas.  If you add them at the same time as the zucchini, they will get deliciously soft by the time you serve up the meal. 


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 I Am Gluten Free November 19, 2010 at 4:17 am

Valerie – this is just perfect. Just a simple meal and a great and different way to use a rice cooker. I used to have an inexpensive one, but after the lining started to peel, I bought a good one through Amazon. It is made by Sanyo and is really durable and makes GREAT rice. I'm definitely going to give this meal a try. Thanks!


2 Linda November 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I use a pressure cooker for rice, and I'm sure this could be adapted for that also. I looks delicious.


3 Tasty Eats At Home November 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I love this! I also liked Carrie's post about using a rice cooker when traveling – both of you are so inventive! My rice cooker basically just serves as a way for me to cook rice without thinking and using up a (sometimes precious) burner on the stove. I must expand my horizons!


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