A burlesque of brown rice and vegetables

Steve knows that if you want to make it to the top as a Vegas showgirl, you must learn to like brown rice and vegetables. (Spoiler alert: sneakily kicking someone down a flight of stairs also helps.)  Steve would be more than happy to use this blog post to share more helpful tips gleaned from Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 masterpiece (ask him how ice cubes can “lift” your career!).  But Michelle, mindful that this is a family blog, insists on associating ideas other than electrified pool sex with these humble staples of healthy living.

Michelle likes this brown rice-based dish because it’s something you can make in big batches and portion out for a week’s worth of lunches to take to work. It packs enough hot, sour, salty and sweet to not become tiresome (even to Michelle, who generally hates leftovers unless they’re turned into something else) before the servings run out. It’s  fairly simple to make, works with any number of fresh vegetable combinations, and can even be tolerated without tofu. When she’s eating it, Michelle thinks about the benefits of meatless, make-ahead lunches. Steve? He mostly thinks about Elizabeth Berkley’s career.


(adapted from theKitchn)

  • 1/2 block firm tofu
  • Soy sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • Enough brown rice to make 4 servings (2 scoops in our trusty Zojirushi)
  • 1 piece dried lemongrass
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • Thinly sliced scallions and/or green garlic and/or garlic cloves
  • Grated ginger
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • Vegetables (e.g., sliced bok choy, chopped asparagus or broccoli, frozen peas), boiled for about a minute then shocked in ice cold water and drained
  • Chopped cilantro leaves and/or garlic chives
  • Cashews or peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Drain tofu.  Wrap in towels and place under a weight (such as a wooden cutting board or two) for 10-15 minutes to reduce moisture.  Cut tofu into small cubes (1/2″ or so).  Toss in a bowl with some soy sauce.

Spread the tofu cubes on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake tofu for 10-15 minutes and flip over. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until tofu is toasted and chewy. Remove from oven and set aside.

Cook rice in a rice cooker or in a pan on the stove along with lemongrass (remove stalk after cooking).

Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it caramelizes.  Near end of cooking time, add scallions and garlic, then ginger and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

Season cooked rice with soy sauce and lime juice.  Stir in tofu cubes, onion mixture, vegetables and herbs.  Add more seasoning if necessary.

Sprinkle chopped nuts on top before serving.


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