Work Lunch: Brown Rice Sushi Bowl

WorkLunchThis is a continuation of my new series, Work Lunch, where I’m sharing the simple, creative and delicious things I’m making and eating for lunch. 

I love a good meal in a bowl. It’s my preferred style of eating really, a bunch of delicious elements and flavors melding together in a big bowl. Likely, if there’s an interesting bowl-type meal on a menu, I’ll order it. So it’s no wonder I’m excited and inspired to make myself “bowls” for lunch.

I got the idea for this brown rice sushi bowl while trying to take a nap. While Eric snoozed beside me, my mind was restless, crafting my next work meal. Turns out, my sushi bowl idea is delicious and naps are overrated.

photo 3 (2)Quick Tips for “Bowl” Meals:

Use Short Grain Brown Rice – For this bowl recipe and the ones that follow (I told you I have a thing for this kind of meal…there will be more!), my biggest suggestion is to use short grain brown rice. It’s denser, more chewy, and more filling than long grain rice and is what most restaurants and cafes tend to put in their bowls. It’s extra satisfying somehow.

Pack Warm and Cold Ingredients Separately – I like to pack the parts I’m going to heat up a bit (rice/grains/legumes/protein) in a large container, which will serve as my big bowl. In smaller containers or mason jars, I pack the cold ingredients (raw vegetables/garnishes) that I add to the bowl container when it’s warm.

Simplify and Make Ahead – When something is deliciously satisfying, I can eat it for days without getting sick of it. I spend several hours on Sunday prepping everything I need for four or five lunches and snacks. I make double and triple batches of the ingredients and divvy them out into containers and jars so that in the morning, I can just grab my lunch stuff and go.

photo 1 (4)This Week’s Bowl: Brown Rice Sushi Bowl

Makes about 5 work lunches

Sushi rice recipe inspired by Emi Kazuko from Easy Sushi

photo 1 (3)For the sushi rice:

2 cups short grain brown rice
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add the rice to a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the rice is fluffy and tender.

Turn the rice out onto a shallow dish or cookie sheet. Sprinkle the rice with the vinegar mixture and fold to incorporate. Divvy the rice up into 4 or 5 large containers, putting about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups of rice into each “bowl.”

photo 2 (3)For the protein:

1 package of extra firm tofu
Peanut oil

Drain and pat the tofu dry. Cut into bite-size cubes. Saute until golden. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

IMG_4620For the toppings:

4-5 medium-sized carrots, washed and shredded
~ 2 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
2 daikon radishes, washed and shredded

While you prep the rice and other ingredients, put the shredded daikon in a bowl with a tablespoon of rice vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix together well and let it marinate for at least an hour before packing it up for lunch. This ends up being deliciously flavorful and reminiscent of pickled ginger. So good!

Pack the veggies in 1/2 pint mason jars, keeping the raw vegetables apart from the rice and tofu that will get heated up. I added about 1/4 cup of carrots and 1/4 cup of daikon to each jar. I topped them off with a small handful of green onions.

photo 2 (4)For the final touch:

Take a couple sheets of toasted nori (about 1/2 sheet per meal) and chop into small pieces. Pack in a small mason jar.

In another small jar, pack some black sesame seeds.

Bring the mason jar of sesame seeds and the jar of nori to work on Monday and leave them there so you can add them to your bowls throughout the week.

photo 3 (1)Assemble your bowl:

Warm your bowl of rice and tofu, not too hot. Dump your mason jar of veggies onto the rice. Add a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and a hefty pinch or two of nori bits. Mix, happily devour, and share the recipe with your friends!

Enjoy!

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