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Vegan Kale and Black Sesame Sushi Bowl

Vegan Kale and Black Sesame Sushi Bowl

Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water to get rid of some of the starch, then place it in a pan with a pinch of salt and cover with twice the volume of water (about ⅔ cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. Add more hot water from time to time, if needed, to keep the rice from drying out. If you are using regular brown rice, follow the instructions on the package.

Meanwhile, defrost the edamame beans by putting them into a bowl and covering them with boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes.

Cut the pomegranate in half. Lay a sieve over a bowl, put one half of the pomegranate in your hand, seed side down, then squeeze it over the bowl, allowing the juice to pour through your fingers. Set aside.

Take the other half of the pomegranate and hold it above a clean bowl, cut-side down. Tap the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon so that the jewels fall through your fingers into the bowl, tapping a little harder if the seeds resist falling out. Once all the jewels are in the bowl, discard the shell and pick out any little pithy white bits that may have fallen into the bowl.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a splash of sesame oil and sauté the kale or greens for a couple of minutes, then add the nori and cook for a minute longer, to toast. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Once the rice is cooked, drain it and pour over most of the dressing. Add half the black sesame seeds and stir so that the dressing coats the grains.

Pile the rice into two bowls, top with little piles of edamame beans, pomegranate seeds, warm kale, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and more black sesame seeds, and pour over the rest of the dressing.

Eat and feel clean and calm.

Build-Your-Own Buddha Bowl

This colorful recipe has been slowly taking shape in my kitchen over the past few months. I’ve seen “Buddha bowls” all over the internet and menus lately, so I set out to make one.

What are Buddha bowls, though? How did whole-grain-and-veggie-bowls-with-tasty-sauce all become abbreviated as “Buddha bowls”?

I found some guidance in this Epicurious article by Katherine Sacks. In summary, Buddha carried a bowl with him on his journeys and accepted food as donations, which he would eat at the end of the day. Katherine also mentioned that Buddha bowls are similar to macrobiotic (macro) bowls with whole grains and steamed or raw veggies.

I created this versatile bowl with those factors in mind. It’s unbelievably tasty and nutritious, too! I love eating leftovers all week long.

Sesame Sushi

Roast both sesame seeds in a dry frying pan, remove and allow to cool on a flat plate. Cut surimi stick in half lengthwise. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and cut into 0.5 cm (approximately 3/16 inch) thick stick. Cut avocado in half, remove pit, peel, cut flesh lengthwise into strips and immediately sprinkle with lemon juice.

Line a sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap and place a nori sheet with the smooth side out. Spread half of the sushi rice on it and turn gently so that the rice is on the side.

On the bottom third of nori spread half of the mayonnaise, place half the surimi, cucumber sticks and avocado strips and roll using the rolling mat. (do not roll the plastic wrap film within). Using the remaining ingredients form a second roll.

Roll the sushi rolls in toasted sesame seeds and cut each into 6 equal pieces and serve.

How To Make Black Sesame Seed Tofu

Step 1

First, take a block of firm or extra-firm tofu and cut it into bite-sized pieces. You can make simple cubes or you can go for something more fancy and cut little triangles.

Step 2

Add your tofu cubes/squares to a mixing bowl and add a tablespoon of soy sauce (or tamari). Use a spoon or shake the bowl to combine so that every tofu piece has soaked up the soy sauce.

Step 3

Next, add the cornstarch and black sesame seeds and give everything another good mix. Transfer tofu to a baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake the tofu in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 200C until crispy.

Step 4

While the tofu is in the oven, you can continue with the other parts of this recipe. When you take the tofu out of the oven after 20 minutes, it should be crispy but not too dry.


Vegan Sushi Bowl featuring nutritious black rice, veggies and spicy creamy dressing for a light and healthy lunch or dinner! Great for meal prep too!

  • Author:Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 - 3 1 x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Vegan


  • ½ cup black rice (or rice of choice *see notes)
  • just under 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cucumber, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup alfalfa sprouts, or sprouts of choice
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • nori sheet, cut into strips, optional
  • pickled ginger, optional
  • sesame seeds, to garnish
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) tahini
  • ¼ cup water, + more as needed
  • juice of ½ small lemon or splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons sriracha , sambal oelek or chili garlic (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • pinch of salt


Black rice: Rinse rice well under cool running water using a fine mesh sieve. In a small saucepan, bring rice and water to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes without disturbing. When done, remove lid and let rest about 10 minutes, fluff with fork. Please check your package for cooking directions just in case, this was mine.

Dynamite sauce: In a small bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients together, cover and set aside. Add more water to thin your dressing, add more tahini to make it thicker.

Assemble sushi bowl: To serve, add &frac13 of the rice into your serving dish and arrange the prepared vegetables over top or to the side. Drizzle with dynamite sauce and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy your deconstructed sushi bowl in all its creamy gloriousness!

Store: Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 – 4 days.


* If using a different rice, other than black rice, cook according to package directions using ½ cup of rice.

If you don’t have tahini on hand, use any vegan mayo of choice, about ½ cup + a tablespoon or so of water to thin if needed. Omit the lemon/vinegar juice.

Change up the vegetables using colored bell peppers, pan seared julienned shiitake mushrooms, shredded purple or green cabbage, peas shoots, etc.

Add in cubed tofu or edamame for added protein.

Keywords: vegan sushi bowl

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Updated: Vegan Sushi Bowl was originally published in September 2014. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in March 2020.

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Rainbow Quinoa Satay Bowl

This delicious Buddha bowl is filled with fresh vegetables with some great sources of protein and an irresistible satay sauce.


  • 1 ½ cups tri-coloured quinoa cooked
  • ½ a medium red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 200 gr chickpeas from a can, washed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls of salad
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sprouts of your choice - I used chickpea and mung bean
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Satay dressing (recipe mentioned above)


Nutrition Information:

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically. The accuracy of this information is not guaranteed.

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Good ingredients for vegan Buddha bowls

You’re not limited to these ingredients these are basics, and likely, many are staples you keep on hand.

Grains & noodles: Rice (any variety), quinoa, white rice and quinoa combo (can be cooked together), fine rice noodles, zucchini noodles”.

Protein: Tofu (extra-firm and baked), chickpeas, lentils, beans, edamame (fresh green soybeans).

Vegetables: Baby spinach (and other baby greens) bell peppers, beets, broccoli, carrot, celery, cucumber, potato, sweet potato, radish (including watermelon radish) tomatoes (especially cherry or grape tomatoes), winter squash or pumpkin.

Fruits: Apple, avocado, mango, watermelon.

Condiments & extras: Chili peppers and pickled peppers, lemons, limes, mushrooms, olives, pickled ginger, seaweed, sprouts.

Nuts and Seeds: Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.

Fresh herbs: Basil, cilantro, parsley, scallion — any fresh herbs you like and have on hand.

Dressings: Vinaigrette (including balsamic vinaigrette bottled or homemade), sesame-ginger (bottled or homemade, tahini dressing (bottled or homemade), fresh herb dressing.

Here’s a gorgeous example of a simple bowl combining lightly cooked ingredients (mushrooms and broccoli) and raw (two different types of radish). No watermelon radish? No worries. Use thinly sliced jicama and/or turnip, plus slice cucumbers. Top with chopped fresh herbs and seeds of your choice.

Dressing suggestion: Sesame-ginger or vinaigrette.

This all-raw bowl is a rainbow of colors, with zucchini noodles, broccoli, pickled peppers, bell pepper, carrot, grape tomatoes olives, and red cabbage. You can vary it according to what you have on hand, but make sure to keep it colorful!

Dressing suggestion: vinaigrette, or a drizzle of good olive oil and red wine vinegar.

If you’re craving all things green, this is the bowl for you. Make a base of baby spinach (or other baby greens), then arrange zucchini noodles, edamame, sprouts, and half of an avocado per serving. top with a sprinkling of seeds (sesame or other).

Dressing suggestion: Fresh herb dressing, Avocado, Spinach, and Tahini Dip thinned out to dressing consistency, or another tahini-based dressing.

Here’s the vegan poke bowl we chatted about toward the top of this post. Watermelon is a visual ringer for the raw tuna used in this style of bowl, and it all comes together deliciously with avocado, sprouts, cucumber, pickled ginger, and black sesame seeds.

Dressing suggestion: A squeeze of lime might be all the dressing this needs.

Here’s another variation on a vegan poke bowl. This one adds protein with edamame (fresh green soybeans) and plenty of eye appeal using watermelon, watermelon radish, sprouts, and cucumber.

You can add a based of sushi rice if you’d like to make it more substantial. It does have a sushi-like theme!

Dressing suggestion: Like the previous poke bowl, a squeeze of lime might be enough, but sesame-ginger dressing also adds a nice touch.

Watermelon radish seems to be popping up everywhere. It adds a lovely color to bowls like this one, which also feature a rice blend, avocado, beets, pickled cabbage, and red cabbage. Seaweed, hot red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds are optional embellishments that can be passed around.

Dressing suggestion: A simple vinaigrette.

This Buddha bowl has autumn written all over it, but you can continue enjoying it all through the cool seasons. Roasted butternut squash, chickpeas (plain or spiced), and room-temperature quinoa are arranged on a bed of massaged kale. Top with sprouts, or chopped fresh herb (cilantro, parsley, or scallion).

Dressing suggestion: A tahini-based dressing or balsamic vinaigrette.

Chickpeas and quinoa are well-loved items in cool-weather bowls. Here’s another featuring these two ingredients, plus a sliced baked sweet potato and whatever salad ingredients you happen to have on hand. Here we have cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and mache (aka “corn salad”). Add a sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds and fresh herbs, if you’d like.

Dressing suggestion: Tahini-based dressing, vegan ranch, or vinaigrette.

Continuing the quinoa theme, this one has got the goods on the greens — avocado, cucumber, zucchini noodles, broccoli, sprouts, pumpkin seeds, and fresh herbs.

Dressing suggestion: Tahini-based dressing or sesame-ginger.

This one has some of the same elements — namely, quinoa, cucumber, and avocado, but introduces lentils to the Buddha bowl concept. Add some lettuce or spinach to the bowl along with fresh parsley or cilantro. Top with a sprinkling of seeds.

Dressing suggestion: Tahini-based dressing or vinaigrette.

Okay, now we start introducing tofu to our bowls. This is a cool-weather beauty combining tofu with quinoa, fresh figs, mashed avocado, olives, cucumber, and kale. Add a wedge of lemon or lime if you’d like. If you can’t find fresh fig, you might add a few dried figs, or substitute some diced apple or pear.

Dressing suggestion: Sesame-ginger for the quinoa and tofu portion of the bowl.

Here’s a bowl with four sources of protein — chickpeas, white beans (you can vary the beans if you’d like), tofu, and quinoa. Use baked tofu, if you’d like. Cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, radishes, and avocado round things out nicely, and it’s all quite flexible.

Dressing suggestion: Vinaigrette, vegan ranch, or tahini-based dressing.

Mango adds a sweet surprise to savory bowls. The usual suspects are in this plentiful bowl — rice, tofu (sautéed this time), carrots, radish, avocado, plus we go a bit further afield with seaweed and sprouts (both optional).

Dressing suggestion: Sesame-ginger.

Another protein-filled bowl, this one combines sautéed tofu with quinoa and chickpeas. Add lightly steamed broccoli (or other green veggie like Brussels sprouts), cucumber, and some lettuce or other tender greens. If you’re preparing this bowl as a cool-weather meal, you can add a little mashed or sliced sweet potato.

Dressing suggestion: Sesame-ginger dressing or a teriyaki marinade.

Here’s a tasty idea for a substantial bowl — sautéed new potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and avocado. A bed of arugula is quite compatible with the potatoes. Before adding the chickpeas and lentils to the bowl, toss each separately with vinaigrette.

This almost all-raw bowl is made more dramatic with watermelon radish, plus the more common chickpeas, radishes, cucumber, carrots, and celery. No watermelon radish? No problem. Just use extra radishes or sliced turnip.

Dressing suggestion: Sesame-ginger dressing or vinaigrette.

Another example of a bowl that offers ample protein, this one keeps things simple with grated carrot, bell pepper, edamame, and toasted cashews, all on a bed of quinoa.

Dressing suggestion: Sesame-ginger dressing or vinaigrette.

As you’ve seen, there’s no need to follow any recipe exactly to make beautiful Buddha bowls. They’re flexible and adaptable, so if you don’t have a suggested ingredient, swap it out for another, or just omit it.

That being said, if you’re the kind of cook who really needs to follow a recipe, follow this link to Classic Vegan Buddha Bowl (shown just above) by Cara Carin Cifelli, and explore her book, Vegan Buddha Bowls.

*This is an Amazon Affiliate link. If the product is purchased by linking through this site receives a modest commission, which helps maintain it and keeps it growing!

All photos except the last two: Bigstock

About Nava Atlas

Nava Atlas is the author of many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, including 5-Ingredient Vegan, Plant Power, Wild About Greens, Vegan Holiday Kitchen, and many more. A longtime dedicated vegan, find out more about her on this site's About page.

How to Eat a Well Balanced Vegan Diet + 25 Healthy Vegan Recipes

I've had a few requests lately for vegan recipes and how to make sure you're meeting your nutrition needs on a vegan diet. (I'm always up for requests, so let me know if you have anything else in mind!) While vegan and plant-based diets can be healthful way of eating, when eliminating any food or food group from your diet, you are smart to have some nutritional concerns.

While there is a spectrum of plant-based diets (some that even include meat!), a strict vegan diet eliminates fish, meat, eggs, milk & dairy products, honey, and many ingredients and products that contain these ingredients in some form or another. Learn more about surprising types of non-vegan foods and ingredients here.

While there are health benefits of consuming a plant-focused diet, before starting any diet, I suggest checking in with both your reasoning and your goals for starting it. It can be a healthful way of eating it you choose a variety of foods but becomes less beneficial if you are using it as a way to restrict your intake or follow a strict set of food or dieting rules.

Let's Talk About Sushi Rice

The key to your success here is choosing the appropriate rice. One way to be sure your sushi rolls hold together is to use white short-grain sushi rice. For this recipe you'll combine cooked white sushi rice with other whole grains to "boost" it nutritionally. I've found that using a percentage of white rice really helps the rolls come together. More importantly, it helps them hold together, especially important for newbie sushi makers or if you're having kids help out.

To cook the sushi rice , rinse the rice grains well before cooking. And if you have time to let them soak, even better. I use 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water, and a bit of salt - scant 1/2 teaspoon. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes more. You should end up with perfect chubby, sticky grains of rice you can then combine with other quinoa, cooked grains, pearled barley, black rice, or brown rice. I'll outline the ratio I like below, but you can experiment. This organic sushi rice is an example of the kind of rice you're after for the white sushi rice component.

Seasoning : Traditional sushi rice also uses a vinegar and sugar mixture as seasoning. Sometimes I add it to my cooked rice, other times I skip it. I know this might be a controversial admission, but I'd encourage you to think through a range of different ways you can season, spice, or boost your rice. The rice in these sushi rolls is plain and simple. That said, once you get the hang of the basics, you can experiment if you like! Use strong broth in place of the water in your rice. You can add spices (turmeric, curry blends, etc.) or ingredients like minced garlic, ginger, or scallions. Play around!

Sesame Sriracha Buddha Bowls

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Healthy and flavorful Buddha bowls made with protein-rich black rice topped with edamame, avocado, cucumber, sesame kale, and baked tofu, and a spicy sriracha vinaigrette to top it all off.


For Sesame Kale:

  • 3 large ribs curly kale, large ribs removed and chopped into roughly nickel-sized pieces (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Toasted Sesame Seeds

For Sesame Sriracha Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) McCormick Gourmet™ Sriracha Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or light olive oil

To Assemble:

  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions
  • 8 ounces baked tofu*, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 English seedless cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • additional McCormick Gourmet™ Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional, for garnish)


  1. Rinse rice in a fine mesh sieve. Add to a medium saucepan with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 40 minutes (refer to your package directions for specific cook time), until water is absorbed and rice is tender yet still al dente. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (rice can be made ahead of time).
  2. In a bowl, toss chopped kale with sesame oil and sea salt. Using your hands, massage the kale, rubbing the salt and oil into the leaves with both hands until completely coated with oil and slightly darkened in color (about 5 minutes). Set aside for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 day until ready to use.
  3. To make vinaigrette, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha seasoning until smooth. Drizzle in oil, whisking vigorously, until incorporated. Dressing can also be made ahead of time lightly whisk before serving to reincorporate ingredients.
  4. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Cook shelled edamame according to package instructions until just tender. Strain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  5. To assemble bowls, divide room temperature rice among serving bowls. Top with kale salad, edamame, tofu, cucumber, and avocado. Drizzle with sriracha vinaigrette, to taste, and sprinkle with sesame seeds as desired. Serve at room temperature.

*I buy Trader Joe’s baked teriyaki tofu, which is already perfectly seasoned and super convenient (no dealing with pressing or cooking tofu), but you can always make your own baked tofu ahead of time (season to taste with a bit of soy or teriyaki sauce or sriracha seasoning as desired). You could also certainly substitute another protein, such as chicken, if you prefer.

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