Chili-Orange Veggie Bowl

chili-orange veggie bowl / chili-orange veggie bowl /

If you had asked me two weeks ago about the best way to cook (flavorful) veggies, my unwavering answer would have been: roast them. I’m a sucker for all things roasty, toasty, caramelized, slightly crisp and even a tad bit charred… the simple steamed veggie is just a bit, well, simple for me. That is, until now…

chili-orange veggie bowl / chili-orange veggie bowl /

Our oven went kaput a few weeks ago and I was forced to get a little creative. (Although, thank you Thermador for coming to the rescue!). My little oven haitus seemed miserable at first, but it’s in fact incidents like these that force me to think outside of the box. (or in my case, outside of the oven).

Enter: the bamboo steamer. You don’t necessarily need a bamboo steamer to steam veggies, but I just love the subtle woody flavor it imparts. That bamboo-ey aroma – brought me right back to Kyoto, where simplicity is celebrated. I made this bowl a meal with some black rice, tofu, and a bright tangy sauce.

(I have this mini-bamboo steamer – which is the perfect size for veggies for the 2 of us).

chili-orange veggie bowl
Serves: serves 2
  • ½ cup forbidden rice (uncooked)
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • a few scallions (optional)
  • trees from 1 bunch of broccolini
  • 2 small carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • a few slabs of tofu
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • handful of sprouts
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • olive oil, salt & pepper, as needed
chile-orange vinaigrette:
  • a good orange squeeze (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sambal chili paste or sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on your rice cooker. (You can use the white rice setting for the black forbidden rice).
  2. Steam veggies in a bamboo steamer (ideally). Use a shallow skillet where the steamer fits just inside the outer edge, so that 1 inch of water can simmer underneath. Place the sweet potatoes and broccolini in separate steamer trays. Add the scallions on top and a few pinches of salt & pepper. Start the sweet potatoes first (they'll take longer). Cover and let them steam, checking around the 20 minute mark. Once they're almost tender, add the broccolini tray and steam both for an additional 10 or so minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing, set aside.
  4. (optional) Toss carrot ribbons with a splash of rice vinegar and a few pinches of salt. Let marinate until ready to use.
  5. (optional) Pan sear your tofu slabs. Press the water out with paper towels, drizzle with a bit of soy sauce. Heat oil in a skillet, add the tofu, and cook for a few minutes per side. Remove and chop into cubes.
  6. Assemble bowls with rice & toppings. Drizzle with the dressing and serve extra on the side.

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Coming from an Asian background, I simply love steamed foods. it creates such a velvety texture that is impossible to create any other way. Your idea to use it in salad would be a textural flavor bomb.

    So pretty, bright and love use of black rice in this salad.

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Belinda! I love how the bamboo steamer keeps them from getting too mushy (which is my usual hangup with steamed foods)… guess I’d just been doing it wrong 🙂

  2. i never thought steamed vegetables would be so flavorful – enter this delicious sauce. thanks for sharing this bowl.

    • jeanine from on said:

      Thanks Dixya, I figured a really punchy sauce would do the trick 🙂

  3. I love a good hearty veggie bowl. The dressing sounds fantastic. Happy Monday!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks! Happy monday to you too 🙂

  4. I’m with you, roasting is my all-time favorite way to get veggies nice and crispy. Steaming sounds lovely, although I think of it as usually a summery way to cook, I love that it is quick and gets everything crunchy!

    • jeanine from on said:

      It was a fun change of pace for me, (not to mention, less mess to clean up which is always a plus!)

  5. Teffy from on said:

    That looks so so delicious!
    I love big bowls of goodness, that just make you feel great tucking into them.

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Teffy, Thanks! yep, it’s definitely “curl up on the couch on a cold night” kind of food 🙂

  6. cheri from on said:

    I have a bamboo steamer that has never been used, After seeing this I will give it a try. Never thought about the flavor it would add. Thanks!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Cheri – you should give it a try! I had barely used mine either, now I just love it 🙂

  7. Tiffany from on said:

    This looks delicious. I attempted the chili-orange sauce and found it a great flavor to spice up our usual rice bowl combo. Thanks for sharing.

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Tiffany, glad you liked it!

  8. Allie Mackin from on said:

    OMG you are making me soooo hungry. You have new follower for sure!

    Allie of ALLIE NYC

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Allie… and welcome!

  9. erin from on said:

    I’ve always thought about getting a bamboo steamer. I have a metal insert for the pot right now, but I bet the texture of veggies in the bamboo steamer are slightly better. Love the chili-orange combination too!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Thanks Erin! They did have a nice texture – you should try the bamboo steamer, I bet you’ll like it a lot…

  10. Tieghan from on said:

    So pretty!! Love the flavors and I am eating forbidden rice as I type! 🙂

    • jeanine from on said:

      ha, nice coincidence 🙂

  11. Como siempre apetitosa e inmensamente sanas.

    • jeanine from on said:

      ¡muchas gracias xo

  12. Susana from on said:

    Ficou bem bonita com essa cores, bjs

    • jeanine from on said:

      muito obrigado 🙂

  13. I’ve never cooked with a bamboo steamer but I bet anything would taste fantastic lathered in that delicious looking chili-orange vinaigrette!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks shelly!

  14. Kathryn from on said:

    Love how bright and fresh this sounds especially with that chili/orange dressing.

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Kathryn 🙂

  15. I also love roasted veggies, but this looks amazing. My boo sometimes gets annoyed at the roasted veggie smell, so I’m excited to try this. I’m lucky to have both an Asian grocery and a Mexican tiendita about five minutes from me. I might to swing by that Asian grocery to get myself one of these baskets.

    • jeanine from on said:

      you are lucky 🙂 Hope you like the bamboo steamer!

  16. Lucie from on said:

    Wow, this looks beautiful! And deliciuos, too, of course – but the colours are incredible, so fresh and bright. I love steamed veggies and the bamboo steamer sounds interesting. I can almost taste the special flavor… Yum!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Ha, I guess mission accomplished if I can make flavors come through the computer screen 🙂

      • Lucie from on said:

        Definitely! ;D

  17. I was without an oven for a year! It went out on us right before our home renovation and, well . . . the renovation took longer than anticipated. 🙂 So, I sympathize. But, it appears you created a winner out of your situation – much like the saying: lemonade out of lemons perhaps? The sauce combines some great flavors. And all those vegetables – so good for us. What a yummy, light meal!

    • jeanine from on said:

      omg, a year! I once went 3 months during a renovation… it was rough 🙂

  18. Lola Byatt from on said:

    Wow, this sounds absolutely delightful!! and I am curious now at having an attempt at steaming though is there a problem with loss of some nutrients when steaming?

  19. amanda from on said:

    ohhhh this looks so good. my oven’s been on the fritz for a few months (!!!) and i’ve been desperately missing roasted vegetables. i’ll definitely give this a shot to tide me over tip it get’s fixed.

  20. Melanie on said:

    This looks AMAZING! That said, I see chives (I think?) in the pictures, most prominently in the steamer basket with the sweet potatoes, but not in the ingredients or directions. Did I miss something?

    • jeanine from on said:

      good catch :). I did have some scallions in there that I chopped and added at the end…

  21. I realize I’m a bit late to the game on this one, but I tried it last night and LOVED it. I scored a bamboo steamer at a garage sale for a wicked cheap price and then immediately shoved it in a closet. So easy to use, and I loved all the flavors. Was worried I’d miss the deliciousness that comes from roasting veggies with a healthy dose of olive oil, but not at all. Thanks, Jeanine!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hey Lindsay! Yay – so glad you liked it 🙂

  22. You have no idea how excited I was when I found this recipe, it combines all of my favorite flavors in one beautiful bowl! Im in heaven!!!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Bethany!!

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