Tofu Sesame Rice Bowls are an easy healthy lunch or dinner
These easy bowls are filled with all of your favorite fresh Asian flavors, combined with vegetables, and served over rice. Any combination of vegetables can be used so these bowls are super versatile.
Creating layers of flavor in Tofu Sesame Rice Bowls:
Making Tofu Sesame Rice Bowls is easy and all about the layering. Start with a fluffy bowl of rice, add seared tofu, top with fresh vegetables and a classic Asian sauce. Add a sprinkling of sesame seeds and cilantro and your bowl is complete!
How to prepare and sear tofu:
Tofu is a great option if you are trying to cut back on meat, but this recipe works great with chicken strips seared in place of the tofu, as well.
Tofu comes in a block and is packed in water, so if you want to get a great sear on your tofu you must “air dry” it before cooking. For tofu pieces like the one in this recipe use Firm or Extra Firm tofu. It will be clearly labeled on the package. Anything softer will not hold up for a good sear.
How to perfectly sear flavorful tofu:
- Drain the tofu block and place it on a cutting board
- Cut the block into 8 equal rectangular pieces
- Prep the tofu pieces by laying them in a single layer on 3 layers of paper towels.
- Lay an additional layer of paper towels on top of the tofu and press down gently to release some of the moisture.
- Let air dry for about 10 minutes while preparing the sauce. Blot again before cooking.
- To sear: add canola oil to a large non-stick pan and heat until the oil is shimmering. Gently lay tofu pieces in the pan in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook without moving for 4 minutes, making sure it develops a nice crust before turning. Turn and sear the other side for additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest in pan while you prep the sauce.
Finish the tofu with easy Asian sauce:
- Make the Asian sauce: In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, Sambal, water, and sesame oil, making sure sugar is completely dissolved.
- Drizzle half of the sauce over the top of the tofu. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the pan and let cool on a plate.
Assembling Asian Rice Bowls:
The best type of rice to use:
The ideal rice for this type of bowl is fluffy rice, such as jasmine or basmati rice. Brown rice is also a great choice because it adds a nutty flavor.
Assembling the bowl:
- Place a 3/4 cup scoop of rice into each bowl.
- Add pieces of seared tofu and a scattering of the vegetables over the rice
- Drizzle with additional sauce.
- Top with sesame seeds and cilantro for added flavor.
Other easy Asian inspired recipes:
- Spicy Szechuan Green Beans are a zesty vegetarian dish that comes together in a flash
- Our Ahi Sesame Poke Recipe is the perfect appetizer or easy light lunch
- Our Asian Coleslaw with Peanut Sauce has all the flavors you crave and is hearty enough for a whole meal or makes a fun side dish
- For a quick weeknight dinner try our Stir Fry Broccoli and Beef with a side of fluffy rice
Tofu Sesame Rice Bowls
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek hot sauce, or sriracha
- ¼ cup water
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 14 ounce block Firm Tofu, cut into 8 equal rectangular pieces
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, or canola oil
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup scallions, sliced on a diagonal, white and light green part, divided
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, divided
- 1 cup carrots, shredded or cut in matchsticks
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 3 cups rice, cooked white or brown
Preparing the tofu:
- Prep the tofu pieces by laying them in a single layer on 3 layers of paper towels. Lay an additional layer of paper towels on top of the tofu and press down gently to release some of the moisture. Let air dry for about 10 minutes while preparing the sauce.
- In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, Sambal, water and sesame oil, making sure sugar is completely dissolved.
- Reserve about 1/2 cup of the sauce, in a small bowl, for serving with finished rice bowls. Whisk cornstarch into the remaining sauce.
- In a large non-stick skillet add canola oil and heat over medium. Once the oil is shimmering, but not smoking, lay the tofu in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook without turning or moving for 4 minutes. Gently turn and cook on the other side. Tofu should be a light golden brown.
- Drizzle sauce (with cornstarch) over the tofu in the pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. The sauce will be thick and syrupy. If too thick add a tsp of water to get the desired consistency. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon scallions and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.
Assembling the Rice Bowls
- Prepare 4 bowls. Fill each bowl with 3/4 cup of cooked rice, 2 pieces of tofu and some sauce, carrots, remaining scallions, and sesame seeds. Garnish with cilantro leaves.Serve with remaining reserved sauce.