Rainbow dinner bowl with tahini & lemon dressing

Rainbows! Last weekend was Mardi Gras weekend in Sydney, and there are rainbows everywhere. We decided to go and watch the parade and take our cameras to get a few shots of the fun, love and craziness enveloping Oxford Street and its surrounds.

Mardi Gras

Out and about on Bourke Street for the Sydney Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Sydney Mardi Gras

The party vibe was high; people dragged foot stools, milk crates, ladders and jumped up on the shoulders to get a glimpse of the parade.

Mardi Gras

Watching the parade

Mardi Gras

Rainbow angel

Rainbow wings seemed to be the fashion favourite this year around. Leather and tight underpants were also featuring high on the list. But mainly, it was just a spectacle of all colours of the rainbow.

Mardi Gras


Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras streetscape

So this seemed a good week to publish the recipe of one of our regular weeknight dinners, the rainbow bowl.  This is one of those meals which can be easily mixed up and adjusted according to the contents of your fridge. Its packed full of flavour and nutrients. We often have a variation on this bowl for dinner, featuring a base of grains, a selection of vegetables cooked to order depending on the weather outside, some protein (tofu, an egg or some nuts) and a creamy nut-seed or tangy oil-citrus dressing to bring it together. This is a recipe where it may be better served giving general directions about the type of combinations you could use, however the point of having a food blog I guess is to provide you with a specific ingredients and flavours which I’m happy enough with to share, so here you go. Having said that, if you don’t have any of the vegetables listed in this recipe, don’t go out and buy buy them, just substitute for what is available in the fridge.


Eat the colours of the rainbow

This week I had fixated on a crunchy cabbage, kale and carrot slaw, so I selected the other vegetables which would go well with it and the rice; fresh ripe cherry tomatoes which are briefly marinated in some ume plum vinegar, some juicy mushrooms cooked with tamari, crunchy radish for contrast and smoked tofu briefly marinated with tamari and chilli.

Tahini dressing

Spoon over the tahini & lemon dressing

I’m not a huge fan of soy-based products as I seem to have some kind of reaction to soy and usually break out the day after I eat it (weird, because I’m not allergic or intolerant to anything else, and this only developed after I had soy milk on my breakfast muesli for a couple of weeks in a row a few years ago), but I seem to be ok now with small amounts of non-GMO organic tofu. Smoked tofu is a recent discovery, and I can’t get enough of the smoky flavour which really lifts the blandness of tofu.


Rainbow bow with tahini dressing

Another new ingredient in my kitchen is ume plum vinegar. I’ve had plenty of ume plums before (they are an acquired taste, but one I’ve grown to love), but have only recently discovered how great this salty-sour vinegar is in more substantial and robust salad dressings.  It teams really well with a creamy flavour profile, like tahini or mixed with olive oil and cannelini beans. You can buy ume plum vinegar and tamari at a health store or a Japanese specialty store.   This recipe is not super quick, but if you cook large batches of the rice and make the coleslaw in advance, it will last well over a few nights and you can finish off the recipe fairly quickly on the second night.  This recipe serves two adults.


  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • 2 large mushrooms, sliced into 1cm thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (can substitute with soy sauce if you have no issue with gluten)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves and a couple of thinly sliced radishes sprinkled with salt (for serving)
  • Black & white sesame seeds (for serving)


  • 80-100g red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 large carrot, grated
  • 3-4 kale leaves, destemmed and sliced into ribbons


  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (can substitute with extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (can substitute with soy sauce if you have no issue with gluten)
  • 200g smoked tofu, sliced into 1cm thick pieces


  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil (can substitute with extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha


  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Add the halved tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of ume plum vinegar to a bowl, mix through and set aside.
  3. Prepare the dressing by adding the tahini, lemon juice, flaxseed oil, ume plum vinegar and sriracha to a cup and mix well with a spoon – the dressing will thicken up when stirred.  Stir in three tablespoons of water and mix – you should have a fairly runny dressing, but may need to add more water if not.
  4. Add the red cabbage, carrot and kale to a bowl and spoon over 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing.  Massage the dressing into the slaw with your hands, and then set aside.
  5. Mix the sriracha, sesame oil and tamari in a wide bowl and then add the smoked tofu, coating each piece as you go.
  6. Once the rice is ready, spoon into two large bowls and then prepare the mushrooms and tofu.
  7. Put a medium sized frypan over medium high heat, splash in some olive oil, one tablespoon of tamari and fry the mushrooms until then are cooked.  Remove from pan, and then add in the marinated tofu.  Cook the tofu on each side until its warm through and crispy.
  8. Once the rice has cooled, spoon in half of the tomatoes, half of the slaw, half of the mushrooms and half of the tofu in each bowl.   Garnish with some baby spinach leaves and sesame seeds, and drizzle over some of the dressing.
Rainbow dinner bowl with tahini & lemon dressing thumbnail image Eating the rainbow: a weeknight rice dinner bowl, topped with tofu, vegetables and a creamy lemon tahini dressing 30min

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