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Creative pack-a-lunch RICE BOWL recipes?

I lurk here often..frequently end up laughing out loud at many of your posts and comments - thanks for that! Not only can you guys cook, you are really flippin' funny! I really love food and cooking but feel somewhat awestruck by your obvious talents..so am coming to you for potential ideas for lunches - specifically "rice bowl" type items. Brown rice would be my preference but am otherwise open to any and all flavour combinations. I need some inspiration and hope you can help!

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  1. My husband and I love taking "rice bowls" for lunch! We like to do a vegetable saute -minimally peppers and onions, but we often add mushrooms, zucchini, etc. We throw on some beans (black or pinto) and sharp cheddar and tuck it in the fridge until we can microwave it at work the next day. I pack guacamole and/or sour cream in a separate small container to top it off with. We use brown rice cooked in stock and it tastes great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: arp29

      sounds delish! also interested in bowls that can be eaten cold...microwave not always accessible at my work..

    2. I've been making lunch at work in a small rice cooker. I know that's not what you are asking, but the combo could be made at home and taken to work. I've been using the SooFoo that was featured on Chow recently. Any brown/red/wild or other similar blend of rices would work. I cook them in the recommended amount (actually a bit more because of the additions) of stock (or water and veg or chicken base), add a peeled and cut up sweet potato, and at the end just before it's finished I add some cut up kale to steam and then mix in when it's all finished. Yum. I've also added some dried mushrooms to the mix on occasion. It's quite good.


      1. I cook brown rice with half stock half tomato juice, then add 1 or 2 cans if sardines and a few minutes before the rice is done, add some brocoli and a spoon of harissa. I also broil some brocoli in the oven ( burnt brocoli is very yummy) to top the rice bowl with. Sometimes I also add toasted almonds.

        1. This link takes you to Eric Ripert's curried snapper w/ tropical fried rice. I've made the rice for lunch, sometimes adding shredded chicken.

          1. Of course you could do a sushi-inspired bowl that you could eat cold -- brown sushi rice seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar, some sliced cucumber, seafood of some kind (I would do cooked since it'd be sitting all morning), seaweed flakes, a little chili/mayo sauce, some pickled ginger... sounds yummy to me! :)

            3 Replies
            1. re: LauraGrace

              my wife makes these for me all the time-Japanese rice bowls
              endless variations additions to the rice (furikake packs)-she often adds a sheet of nori which I cut up right before I eat
              When I am trying to eat healthy, its usually poached salmon or steamed chicken breast
              but also teriyaki style chicken thigh, egg omlette, fried tofu, beef and onions and my favorite, unagi with sansho pepper.

              In the winter, I often make an ochazuke in my office-probably once a week and its a great way to use leftover salmon. Cooked rice with steamed salmon from home, add some nori and green tea to make a porridge. YUM and good for ya!

              1. re: AdamD

                Mmmm, ochazuke is amazing. Thumbs up.

              2. re: LauraGrace

                I've made a sushi type rice bowl similar to yours. No fish, but I add in slices of avocado or some tofu.

                Some other rice bowls that I've taken for lunch-
                - brown rice topped with roasted mushrooms
                - brown rice, smashed black beans, avocado chunks
                - rice cooked with peppers, onions, carrots (not really a layered or bowl dish...)
                - sushi layered bowl- sticky rice, seared tuna, avocado, jalapeno, crumbled nori
                - leftover chicken chow mein over rice (can pack separate so rice doesn't get mushy)
                - brown rice topped with sauteed garlic spinach and chick peas.

              3. Indian cooking will be your friend here. There are more rice + XXYY combinations than you can imagine. You can adapt any recipe to use brown rice, by adjusting water amount and cooking times.

                Some ideas:

                Khichdi (google for myriad recipes).
                Khichdi is a one dish meal of rice+lentils+veggies, spiced with things like onions, green chillies, mustard seeds, hing, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, etc. Khichdi can be very simple and pasty for invalid food. But for an office meal, or for a tasty comfort food dish that all age groups can enjoy, make it drier, each ingredient stands out.

                Pulao: make any kind of pulao, and top with a veggie and/or dal

                Biryani: also a complete meal, with raita packed separately.

                There are too many recipes and classifications, so google any of the key words to see what you like.....
                You will never run out of variations to suit your taste or what ingredients you have on hand.

                1. I have a rice-protein-veggie bowl combo for lunch the majority of the time. It's easy to eat one handed while working on the computer. I even got a nice inexpensive ceramic bowl from Ikea to keep at work for heating and serving. I like it better than reheating the tupperware and it also makes my lunch feel so much nicer.

                  I will usually cut up some meat, brown and simmer it with some kind of sauce. Most of the sauces are asian inspired such as curries or black bean garlic or teriyaki or hoisin. Another alternative would me Latin inspired with a tomato base and just mixing up the spices to whatever suits at the moment.

                  The veggies are usually steamed separately and added on top of the rice and meat. I usually stick with green beans or broccoli but steam them while still very crunchy. While reheating them in the microwave, they cook to the texture I like. I dislike mushy vegetables and these two seem to hold up the best when mixed in with the rice while being reheated.

                  For a cold bowl, have you considered orzo as an alternative? I hate eating cold rice and I've found orzo is a great alternative if I have to eat something cold but still want the texture and use of rice. I'll prepare the meat and veggies the same way and substitute the orzo for the rice. It eats fine cold without the texture of cold rice which I dislike.

                  1. I apologize for being off-topic, but have you thought about a thermos or food jar? If you pour boiling water in before adding your food, it will stay hot until lunch. It seems like it would vastly improve your options/enjoyment.

                    1. See, this is why you guys are the pros! What a great bunch of creative, healthy, interesting ideas! I am truly inspired - which is something considering how dull making lunches can be!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: redhead

                        Why is making lunch dull? It's FOOD, the most un-dull thing around :)

                        My lunches are always leftovers of dinners, so they are tasty, hearty, etc. and no extra work.

                        1. re: Rasam

                          Agreed on the leftovers. I always make extra so that there's lunch for husband and I. Today is leftover quinoa and portobello mushrooms.

                          1. re: Rasam

                            Me too! My lunch today is brown rice and french lentils with kale, topped with lemon-pistachio gremolata, all leftovers. Mmmm...