Vegan Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice

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There’s nothing like a Buddha bowl to make you feel good about eating delicious food. Nutty, slightly chewy forbidden rice takes this grain bowl to a higher plane. It’s a satisfying way to positively kill it on the health front.

Vegan Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice 780 | Umami Girl-2


If you’ve never tried forbidden rice, you’re missing out. It’s got a satisfying taste and texture and packs a serious nutritional punch.

Forbidden rice

Do you guys know about forbidden rice? It’s also sometimes called black rice. This gorgeous, deep purple whole grain packs a huge nutritional punch and has a wonderful, satisfyingly nutty taste and gently chewy texture. It’s only 160 calories per cup of cooked rice, if you’re into that sort of thing (as, ahem, some of us are at this particular moment in time), and it keeps you full and happy, especially alongside all these fabulous fibrous veggies. 

A savory vegan rice bowl

Of course, this is Umami Girl, so I’ve packed tons of flavor into the dressing, which is one of our perennial favorites. And the chickpeas — you’ll have to excuse me — I went for sort of a ranch-flavor vibe. They’re delicious, and I’m not sorry, but if you want to be a little more grown-up about it all, the recipe contains instructions for swapping out the ranch flavors for some good old garlic.

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Vegan Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice

This is food is unimpeachably healthful, but mostly it's bursting with flavor and texture. With kale salad tucked underneath, wonderfully nutty, slightly chewy forbidden rice, ranch-reminiscent chickpeas (I don't know why, but I was compelled to go there, and I'm not sorry), and a creamy, tangy dressing, it's so good that you won't notice how good it is for ya.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Serves Serves 6


  • 1 cup forbidden rice (also called black rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as safflower)
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder*
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder*
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill*
  • 1 large bunch curly kale
  • 1 batch Magic Blender Dressing
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced or cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pound snow peas or snap peas, blanched**
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional, not pictured because I forgot to serve it)
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)


  1. Combine rice, water and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender but still nice and chewy, usually 30 to 40 minutes. (Check package instructions for timing, since brands may vary.) When possible, I like to do this a little bit ahead of time and leave the covered pot sitting on a cold stove for a while after cooking, since the rice steams a little more. It's totally not necessary though.
  2. Warm the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Drain, rinse and pat dry chickpeas with paper towels. Add chickpeas to skillet in a single layer and leave undisturbed for a few minutes to brown. Toss once or twice and repeat to brown on another other side or two. Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder and dill, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes more.
  3. Remove and discard kale stems and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine kale and about three tablespoons of the dressing. Toss well or massage dressing into kale with your hands (I like this method).
  4. For each serving, arrange some kale salad, rice, chickpeas, peppers, cucumbers, snow or snap peas and avocado (if using) in little piles in a nice big bowl. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with pepitas, and serve. The bowls are great with warm rice and chickpeas but equally good at room temperature.


*If you're not into the ranch thing, you can be civilized and substitute two cloves minced garlic for the dried spices.

** To blanch, cook in a big pot of boiling, salted water for just one minute, then place in a big bowl of ice water to set the bright green color

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 406 Total Fat:: 17g Carbohydrates:: 54.9g

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