Chili-Orange Veggie Bowl

I steam the veggies instead of roasting them in this easy bowl, and their clean flavors shine under a lightly spicy, tangy chili vinaigrette.

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
I steam the veggies instead of roasting them in this bowl - it's easy to make, and the fresh, clean veggie flavors are delicious in the chili-orange dressing.
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 2
  • ½ cup forbidden rice (uncooked)
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • A few scallions (optional)
  • 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
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & pepper, as needed
Chili-orange vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 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.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  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

      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 🙂

    • jeanine from

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

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

    • jeanine from

      thanks! Happy monday to you too 🙂

  3. 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

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

  4. Teffy from

    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

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

  5. cheri from

    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

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

  6. Tiffany from

    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

      Hi Tiffany, glad you liked it!

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

    Allie of ALLIE NYC

    • jeanine from

      thanks Allie… and welcome!

  8. erin from

    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

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

  9. Tieghan from

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

  10. Susana from

    Ficou bem bonita com essa cores, bjs

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

  12. Kathryn from

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

  13. 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

      you are lucky 🙂 Hope you like the bamboo steamer!

  14. Lucie from

    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

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

      • Lucie from

        Definitely! ;D

  15. 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

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

  16. 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?

  17. amanda from

    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.

  18. Melanie

    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

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

  19. 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

      Hey Lindsay! Yay – so glad you liked it 🙂

  20. 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!!!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.