If there's one meal I go back to time and time again, it's these Vegan Rice Bowls with chickpeas, roasted carrots and onions, and a creamy and bright lemon-tahini sauce.
Whether it's getting back into the swing of things post-holidays or my first home-cooked meal after a long vacation, this is the type of recipe I crave whenever I want to get back to the basics in the kitchen.
This balanced bowl comes packed with a nutritious source of protein (chickpeas), fiber-rich carbs (carrots, onion, and brown basmati rice), and fat (tahini, avocado, and walnuts).
The nutrient density, along with the mix of flavors and textures, makes these vegan rice bowls incredibly satisfying. It's another fitting example of a plant-forward dish that'll actually fill you up.
There's just so much to love about this vegan bowl. I'm sure it's about to become one of your favorite back-to-basics meals, too!
Here's what you'll need to make these Vegan Rice Bowls at home.
- Red onion
- Avocado (optional for serving)
- Fresh mint (optional for serving)
- Fresh basil (optional for serving)
- Brown basmati rice (or rice of choice)
- Cooked chickpeas (canned or dried)
- Grapeseed oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Chopped walnuts (optional for serving)
- Ground cumin
- Ground ginger
To prep for this recipe, start by cooking the brown basmati rice. You can do this in a pot on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot/rice cooker. (I usually cook rice in the Instant Pot because it's the easiest.)
You can also use pre-cooked rice for this recipe, or substitute long-grain brown rice (or any type of rice, really) if you want. Follow the cooking instructions on the package if you make a substitution.
How to Cook Brown Basmati Rice on the Stovetop
To cook brown basmati rice on the stovetop, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot with a lid.
Rinse the rice and pour it into the pot of boiling water. Add ½ teaspoon salt if desired.
Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
How to Cook Brown Basmati Rice in the Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is my preferred tool for cooking rice.
To prepare brown basmati rice in the Instant Pot, rinse the rice and pour it into the inner pot of the Instant Pot with 1 ½ cups water. Add ½ teaspoon salt, if desired.
Next, secure the lid, turn the venting knob to sealed, and set to manual pressure cook on high for 23 minutes.
After the rice is cooked, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then, turn the venting knob to the venting position.
Once the floating valve in the lid drops, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
Roasting Carrots, Onion, and Chickpeas
To prep the carrots for roasting, slice them into strips that are roughly 4-inches long by ½-inch thick. This is the size of an average carrot after it's quartered, but the amount of cuts will depend on the size of your carrots. The primary goal is for the carrot pieces to be about the same size so they cook evenly in the oven.
For the onion prep, peel off the skin and quarter it into 4 equal-sized pieces. It's okay if some of the layers separate and you have more than four total chunks of onion.
Lastly, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas or cook a batch of dried chickpeas according to the package instructions.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet.
Next, prepare the sauce that you'll toss with the vegetables to give them some extra flavor. Whisk grapeseed oil, apple cider vinegar, ground cumin, maple syrup, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Spread the prepped carrots and onion on the baking sheet and drizzle half of the sauce on top. Use your hands to toss the vegetables with the sauce until they’re evenly coated.
Next, transfer the baking sheet with the vegetables to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms of the vegetables are browned.
After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add the chickpeas to the baking sheet and pour the remaining sauce on top. Mix until the vegetables and chickpeas are evenly coated.
Finally, return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and browned.
How to Make Lemon Tahini Sauce
While the vegetables and chickpeas are roasting, prepare the Lemon Tahini Sauce. (You can also take care of this step ahead of time.)
To make the tahini sauce, whisk tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and maple syrup.
Now, gradually whisk in a little bit of water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a consistency that you like. The sauce should be thick and creamy but easy to pour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To make this recipe easier, you can also substitute your favorite store-bought creamy dressing for the Lemon Tahini Sauce. I like Annie's Goddess Dressing.
Serving Vegan Rice Bowls
To serve these Vegan Rice Bowls, divide the cooked rice, vegetables, and chickpeas between bowls. Drizzle Lemon Tahini Sauce on top of each bowl.
Serve these bowls with avocado, mint, basil, walnuts, and lemon wedges if desired.
Meal Prep and Storage
Store the prepared bowls in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days. To prevent browning, don't peel the avocado until just before serving.
You can also freeze these bowls in an airtight container for up to three months. Pour lemon juice over the avocado to reduce browning.
- Substitute long grain brown rice, or any type of rice or grain, for the brown basmati rice.
- Use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of walnuts to make this recipe nut-free. If you're okay with nuts, you can also swap in chopped pecans or almonds.
- Swap your favorite store-bought creamy dressing for the lemon tahini sauce (I like Annie's Goddess Dressing) and use pre-cooked rice instead of dried to make this recipe quicker and easier.
- Make the tahini sauce with lime juice, orange juice, or apple cider vinegar if you don't have lemon.
- Chickpeas are a rich source of protein and fiber
- Carrots are packed with beta-carotene, a plant-based antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A
Recipes to Serve with Vegan Rice Bowls
- Quick Pickled Radishes
- Roasted Tomato Avocado Toasts
- Vegan Potato Soup with White Beans
- Vanilla Matcha Latte
- Green Apple Lentil Smoothie
Frequently Asked Questions for Vegan Rice Bowls
You can make these bowls ahead of time and store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days. To prevent browning, don't peel the avocado until just before serving.
Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten-free.
You can easily make this bowl nut-free be either omitting the walnuts or substituting sunflower seed or pumpkin seeds.
You can use pre-cooked rice (look for microwavable pouches in the grain aisle or frozen section of the grocery store) instead of dried brown basmati rice and store-bought dressing instead of the lemon tahini sauce to make this recipe quicker and easier.
You can freeze these Vegan Rice Bowls in an airtight container for up to three months. Pour lemon juice over the avocado to reduce browning.
Vegan Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots
- Pot with lid or Instant Pot (for cooking rice)
- Baking sheet
- Mixing bowls
Vegan Rice Bowls:
- 1 cup dry brown basmati rice (see note)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound carrots, chopped into long strips, roughly 4-inches long by ½-inch thick (about 7 medium carrots)
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 ¼ cups cooked chickpeas 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
Lemon Tahini Sauce:
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons water or as needed to thin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Optional for Serving:
- Sliced avocado
- Fresh mint
- Fresh basil
- Chopped walnuts
- Lemon wedges
Prepare the Vegan Rice Bowls:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet.
- Cook the rice according to package instructions (or see note for stovetop and Instant Pot preparations).
- Whisk grapeseed oil, cider vinegar, cumin, maple syrup, ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Spread carrots and onion on the baking sheet and drizzle half of the sauce on top. Use your hands to toss the vegetables with the sauce until they’re evenly coated.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms of the vegetables are browned.
- After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add the chickpeas to the baking sheet with the vegetables and pour the remaining sauce on top. Toss until the vegetables and chickpeas are evenly coated.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and browned.
Prepare the Lemon Tahini Sauce:
- In the meantime, whisk tahini, lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic, and maple syrup. Gradually whisk in water one tablespoon at a time until you reach a sauce consistency. (The sauce should be thick and creamy but easy to pour.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the cooked rice, vegetables, and chickpeas between bowls. Drizzle Lemon Tahini Sauce on top of each bowl.
- Serve with avocado, mint, basil, walnuts, and lemon wedges if desired.