This vegan tofu rice bowl with mushrooms, kale, cucumbers, and peanut sauce is the perfect make ahead-able lunch.
Most days when I go into the office, I bring my lunch from home. It tends to be either dinner leftovers from the night before or something I meal-prepped over the weekend like a responsible adult. Other days, though, our fridge is as bare as a Soviet store’s shelves and I am forced to spend $15 at the fancy salad place around the corner. (The irony!)
The salad place in question is Sweetgreen, where my go-to order is the “Shroomami” bowl: a warm salad with roasted tofu, marinated mushrooms, cucumbers, rice, and a nutty dressing. I’m not a huge fan of leafy salads for lunch (or cold food in general) so I adore this bowl for being warm, hearty, and savory, with plenty of veggies and greens nonetheless.
It goes without saying that this homemade copycat version is exponentially yummier (duh) and cheaper (yay). Despite consisting of multiple elements, it’s easy to make, and perfect for meal prepping and toting to the office.
What’s In This Tofu Rice Bowl
These healthy Asian-inspired lunch bowls consist of marinated and baked tofu, soy-balsamic sautéed mushrooms, brown rice, kale, cucumbers, and creamy peanut sauce. They’re vegan and, if you use tamari instead of soy sauce, gluten-free too. Packed with a fun variety of flavors and textures, they’re super easy and fully make ahead-able.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Tofu: Go for the extra-firm variety for the chewiest, heartiest results.
- Brown Rice: is packed with fiber, protein, and micronutrients. You can sub with wild rice, quinoa, or barley if you want.
- Mushrooms: Cremini are widely available, but you can go for shiitake, portobello, or button mushrooms, too.
- Kale: I recommend curly kale for salads because it has a lighter texture; whereas lacinato kale (a.k.a. “cavolo nero” or “dinosaur kale”) is better for cooking. If you wanna go the extra mile, massage the kale with the dressing before eating. If you don’t like kale, sub with romaine or mesclun greens.
- Peanut Sauce: A nutty Asian-inspired dressing that keeps well in the fridge.
- Cucumbers: I like the cool refreshing crunch they add to this savory bowl. Feel free to toss in other crunchy veg too, like shredded carrots, sliced radishes, bell peppers, or roasted broccoli.
Marinate the Tofu: Start by pressing the tofu (either using the instructions in the recipe card below, or a tofu press). Next, combine some neutral oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a bowl. Cube the tofu, add to the bowl, and gently toss to coat. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to marinate.
Bake the Tofu: Bake the tofu in a 425ºF preheated oven on a parchment-covered baking sheet until golden, about 25 minutes.
Cook the Rice: Meanwhile, bring some water to a boil in a small pot, season with salt, and add the rice. Simmer the rice [without stirring] until all the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
Sauté the Mushrooms: Next, slice up your mushrooms and cook them in a pan until golden, about 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and balsamic vinegar at the very end, and cook for about 30 seconds more.
Make the Peanut Sauce: In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Then thin out with a bit of water.
Assemble the Bowls: To serve, divide the rice, tofu, and mushrooms among 4 bowls, and finish with chopped kale and cucumbers. Serve the bowls with peanut dressing.
Storage + Make-Ahead Tips
These tofu rice bowls are great for meal prep – whether you want to take them to the office for lunch or have them on deck for dinner.
The baked tofu, mushrooms, and rice can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days; the peanut sauce can be stored for up to 10 days. You can also pre-chop the kale, though I don’t recommend pre-chopping the cucumbers because they dry out. You can eat the bowls warm or at room temp. If you want to microwave them at the office, I recommend adding the cucumbers and peanut sauce after warming.
More lunchtime favorites…
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.Print
A savory tofu rice bowl with mushrooms, kale, cucumbers, and peanut sauce – i.e. the lunch of my dreams.
For the Tofu
- One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon avocado, organic canola, or another neutral-tasting oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Bowls
- 1 cup brown rice* (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon olive or neutral-tasting oil
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
- 4 cups finely chopped curly kale*
- 1 English cucumber, sliced*
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar* (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed, grated or minced
- 1/3 cup water
- Press the tofu. Drain tofu and place on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board and weigh it down with something heavy (like a couple of cans), to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for about 15 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water. (Or use a tofu press.)
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425ºF.
- Cook the rice. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Add 1 cup rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover tightly with a lid, and simmer gently over low heat [with zero stirring] until all the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let stand covered for another 10 minutes to steam.
- Marinate the tofu. After the tofu is pressed, in a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon each oil and soy sauce, 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, smoked paprika, and maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and add to the bowl. Gently toss to coat and let stand for at least 10 minutes.
- Bake the tofu. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the cubes about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Cook the mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. At the end, add 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Stir to glaze the mushrooms and turn the heat off.
- Make the sauce. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients from peanut butter through garlic. The sauce will seem lumpy at first, but keep stirring and it’ll eventually come together into a thick paste. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water and whisk until incorporated. Gradually add more water as needed, until your desired consistency is reached.
- Assemble. Divide the rice, tofu, mushrooms, kale, and cucumbers among bowls. Serve with peanut sauce.
- You can sub brown rice with wild rice, quinoa, or barley.
- If you don’t like kale, sub with romaine or mesclun greens.
- Feel free to toss in other crunchy veg, like carrots, radishes, or bell peppers.
- Seasoned rice vinegar has some salt and sugar added to it. If you don’t have any, skip it and compensate with extra citrus juice plus a tiny splash (~1/2 teaspoon) of maple syrup/honey.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 525
Keywords: tofu, rice, bowl, vegan, peanut