Asian Grain Bowl

asian grain bowl.jpg

This week, I had the wonderful privilege to do a few cooking demonstrations for my physician colleagues from the Northern California region, from as close as Berkeley and as far as Fresno.  At a private dining room at the beautiful Claremont hotel in the Berkeley hills, I was tasked with demonstrating simple weeknight cooking that might help my colleagues do more home cooking, despite very busy schedules.  I thought that a no-recipe recipe, a template or formula, would be more helpful than a detailed recipe.  So I demonstrated three versions of grain bowls, using different grains, legumes, nuts or seeds, and most importantly, different sauces.  Two of the recipes were already shared at the conference, so here I’m sharing the one which wasn’t.

The basic grain bowl template:

grain + sauce + roasted vegetables + plant-based protein + nuts/seeds + leafy greens + something creamy

Grain bowls illustrate several principles:

  • using sauces for flavor
  • batch cooking: grains, beans, sauces, roasted vegetables
  • nutrition: whole grains, plant based proteins, leafy greens, seeds/nuts

I’m including this recipe here to get you inspired, but the idea behind a template is mix and match– with what you have in your pantry and fridge, what’s in season, and the flavors that you like to eat.

For more information about whole grains and a useful guide to how to cook them, I highly recommend the Oldways Whole Grains Council.



Asian Mixed Rice Grain Bowl


1 cup cooked mixed rice (available in Korean groceries) or Lundberg Brown Rice blend

1 sweet potato, medium dice, roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper

½ red onion, medium dice, roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper

½ cup edamame, shelled and cooked

½ cup firm tofu in bite sized cubes, pan fried or grilled

1 cup mixed baby greens

¼ cup cucumber, sliced in thin half-moons

½ avocado, sliced

1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the Asian vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 chopped green onion

1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) or crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Grain bowl assembly

  1. Place cooked rice in a serving bowl.
  2. Arrange roasted vegetables, edamame and/or tofu, greens, avocado and cucumbers on top.
  3. Drizzle dressing, and top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


Have fun! Let me know what grain bowl variations you come up with in the comments!

To learn more about how to cook simply, seasonally and creatively, join us for a class in the Thrive Kitchen at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco! We’re registering now for the next class on 9/12: ¡Taco Bar! Healthy Mexican Food. To claim your spot, email or call 415-833-3450 to register– only a few spots left! $30 KP members/$40 nonmembers. See you in the kitchen!

And if you aren’t in the area but would like to join our healthy eating community, please visit and LIKE our Facebook page: To your health!


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