Baked tofu bowls are loaded with color & texture. They’re filled with lemony tofu, crispy kale, and avocado on brown rice. Then they’re finished with tahini dressing.
It’s a satisfying & healthy lunch or dinner that will make you feel like you’re being good to yourself. Vegan and gluten free.
This tofu bowl was inspired by my favorite order at Flore restaurant in Silver Lake, California. I started ordering it in 2008 or so, when kale chips were all the rage.
It’s listed on the menu as the basmati brown rice bowl. I loved how something with so many vibrant, antioxidant-packed ingredients could also be so satisfying.
You get toothsome tofu, vibrant crispy kale, shredded carrots, and creamy avocado on brown rice. It’s finished with a generous drizzling of tahini dressing, which brings it all together.
It’s no wonder that once I moved away from California, I had to start making my own version at home.
Vegetable packed tofu bowls like this one are known by a variety of names.
They’re called bliss bowls, Buddha bowls, nourish bowls, power bowls, and grain bowls. Whatever you call them, they’re satiating, healthy, and delicious.
They’re a great way to have a meal that’s a balance of protein, carbs, and fat. There’s a variety of nutrients in every bite!
I love this tofu bowl recipe exactly as written. But it’s also great with whatever produce you happen to have in the refrigerator.
(Also, check out the store-bought shortcuts a little further down in the post, so that this bowl is even faster & easier to prepare.)
What kind of tofu should I use?
For this tofu bowl, I recommend super firm, vacuum-packed tofu.
You can find it at Trader Joe’s or natural grocery stores in the refrigerated section. (It’s one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products.)
This variety is super convenient, because it isn’t packed in water. Therefore it doesn’t need to be pressed before using.
If you don’t have access to vacuum packed tofu, that’s no problem. Water packed tofu will work too. You’ll just need to press it first.
Step by step instructions
1. Cut tofu into roughly one inch squares. Combine extra virgin olive oil and tamari in a baking dish.
Add the tofu, and coat it all over with the tamari/olive oil mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
(To keep this dish gluten free, be sure to use gluten free tamari soy sauce.)
2. Flip the tofu, add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then bake 20 more minutes.
3. If the tofu hasn’t absorbed all of the lemon juice, flip one more time. Bake another 5 minutes until there isn’t any wet lemon juice left on the bottom of the baking dish.
4. While the tofu is baking, make a batch of brown rice, grate a carrot, slice an avocado, and rinse snow pea shoots (or sprouts).
5. Make the kale chips by massaging curly kale with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
6. Cook kale chips in the air fryer.
(If you don’t have an air fryer, you’ll either need to bake them separately. Or make a batch of sautéed kale instead in a skillet.)
7. Mix a quick batch of lemon tahini dressing by combining tahini, lemon juice, water, and a pinch of salt.
8. Once the tofu is done, it’s time to compile the bowls with brown rice, tofu, kale chips, grated carrot, snow pea shoots (or sprouts), and sliced avocado. Top with vegan tahini dressing.
If you’re short on time or cooking inclination, take some shortcuts!
Instead of baking the tofu from scratch, use store-bought baked tofu.
Teriyaki flavor works well here. Cut the slabs into cubes and warm in a skillet with a little oil or in the air fryer.
Instead of making rice from scratch, use store-bought frozen rice.
I get it at Trader Joe’s. Then just heat in the microwave.
Instead of making your own kale chips, use store-bought kale chips.
Or replace it with something super low fuss like steamed broccoli, made with pre-chopped broccoli florets.
Make it your own
It’s easy to personalize this tofu bowl by swapping out any of the various components.
It’s a “choose your own adventure” kind of meal, depending on your mood, preferences, and what’s in your refrigerator.
- Instead of baked tofu: Make a batch of roasted chickpeas
- Instead of kale chips: Use sautéed kale, sesame kale, broccolini, roasted cauliflower, roasted cabbage, sugar snap peas, or air fryer asparagus
- Instead of brown rice: Use cauliflower rice, quinoa, farro, or barley
- Instead of tahini dressing: Top with peanut sauce, vegan sriracha mayo, vegan ranch dressing, or creamy cashew dressing
- Add pickled or fermented vegetables: Pickled red onions, quick pickled jalapenos, sauerkraut, and/or vegan kimchi.
- Add seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds
Great for meal prep
This dish is great for meal prep, because you can make the separate components ahead of time. Then it’s just a matter of compiling them.
With rice, baked tofu, and tahini dressing ready to go at a moment’s notice, this meal comes together quickly.
Plus, you can use those same components for other dishes.
- Use leftover cooked rice for pineapple fried rice or air fryer stuffed peppers.
- Leftover baked tofu can be used in spring roll wraps or as a topping on vegan ramen noodles.
- Leftover tahini dressing is great on vegan chick’n wraps or brown rice bowls with cauliflower.
How to store and reheat
I recommend storing all of the components separately in the refrigerator. Except for the kale chips, which should be stored in a paper bag at room temperature.
The tofu and rice will last 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. The kale chips are best at 2 or 3 days. The tahini dressing will last about 5 days.
When you’re ready to reheat, warm the rice and tofu in the microwave. The kale chips can be re-crisped in the air fryer by cooking at 300 for a couple minutes.
The tahini dressing will thicken over time. Thin it with a splash of water, if necessary.
Baked tofu bowls with kale chips & tahini dressing
For easy baked tofu
To make easy baked tofu
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a baking dish, combine extra virgin olive oil and tamari. (The baking dish should be around 8 x 8 inches or a little larger.) Lay the cubed tofu evenly across the dish, taking time to coat each side with tamari and olive oil.
- Put into oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Flip the tofu cubes and cover evenly in lemon juice. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Bake for an additional 20 minutes and remove from oven.
- If all of the lemon juice hasn't been absorbed yet, flip the tofu cubes again. Then bake an additional 5 minutes, until all of the liquid is gone.
To make bowls
- In serving bowls, include a scoop of brown rice, cubed tofu, a handful of kale chips, a scoop of grated carrot, and a few slices of avocado. Add some (optional) snow pea shoots or sprouts, if using. Top with vegan tahini dressing.
Content, recipe, and photos updated March 2, 2022. Originally posted September 4, 2013.