Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower

This Korean Rice Bowl on counter with Rice, Lentils and Cauliflower. This recipe is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

This Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower is da bomb!  (yep, I did just say that) It explodes with flavor in your bowl and in your mouth.  I’m a meat eater and I swear, you will not miss the meat in this dish!  The rice soaks up the incredibly flavorful sauce from the lentils and the cauliflower.  This sauce is nutty and salty from the sesame oil and soy sauce, has a warm and zesty kick from the ginger and garlic.  Finally you get sweet notes from the honey, balancing it all out.  The lentils are creamy and hearty and the cauliflower gives you a nice meaty bite.  Overall, the perfect rice bowl.  It’s also Gluten Free, Dairy Free,  and Vegetarian.

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This Korean Rice Bowl on counter with Rice, Lentils and Cauliflower. This recipe is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Korean Rice Bowls, Meet Family.  Family, Meet Korean Rice Bowls.

Korean flavors generally include ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce.  This Korean Rice Bowl is a great way to introduce it into your kitchen and perhaps to your kids.  My older daughter, Daniela, loves the sweet and salty flavors.  Just note that there are red pepper flakes in this recipe, so take caution to avoid them if you think it will be too spicy for the kiddos.

This Korean Rice Bowl on counter with Rice, Lentils and Cauliflower. This recipe is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

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PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR KOREAN RICE BOWL COOKING ‘KIT’

You are busy, so these are the steps you can do a day or two in advance to prepare food ahead!  (See the recipe below for more details)

The most time consuming part of this recipe is mincing the garlic and ginger and measuring out all of the ingredients.  It doesn’t actually take too much time, but it’s definitely something you can do the day or two before.  Every little bit helps on a busy weeknight!

You will need a Large bowl for the Lentil Sauce and a Medium bowl for the Cauliflower Sauce.  Then, you’ll mix all of the ingredients together and can store the bowls in the fridge so that they’re ready to cook when you are!

Whole ginger root on counter for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Ginger is a wonderful spice that comes from the ginger root and adds so much depth and flavor, as well as zest, and warmth to this sauce.  You can find fresh ginger at your local grocery store and it’s easy to peel the skin right off with a spoon.  Once the skin is off, mince the ginger either using a knife or a food processor.  I put chunks of ginger into a mini food processor and blend all of it up, freezing whatever is not needed for this recipe to use at another time.

Next, mince the garlic.  I use the OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press.  It seriously makes mincing garlic so easy and it’s also easy to clean and just put into the dishwasher.

Minced Garlic and Ginger for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Once you have the minced ginger and garlic, you will split it between the 2 mixing bowls (details in the recipe).  One bowl is for the Lentils and the other is for the Cauliflower Sauce.  Make the sauces by mixing all ingredients in the bowls: soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, ginger, garlic, water, and red pepper flakes (optional).

Sauce in clear bowl with whisk for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

As I mentioned, you can store the sauces in the fridge until you are ready to cook the meal.

You can also prepare the cauliflower florets by cutting them off the head and placing in a storage bag in the fridge.

COOK THE KOREAN RICE BOWL WITH LENTILS AND CAULIFLOWER:

There are three components to this dish: Rice, Lentils, and Cauliflower.  For the Rice, simply cook it as you would normally or according to package instructions.  I like to use long grain white rice for this.

Uncooked Red Lentils in white bowl on counter for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

For the Lentils, you want to make sure you get the red lentils.  These are smaller and more delicate than other types of lentils and will cook faster and get to a softer, creamier texture than the more meaty and firm green lentils, for example.

Lentils in pot for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Start by cooking the scallions in a medium sauce pot for a few minutes and then adding the lentils.  Stir to get them warmed up and incorporated with the scallions and oil and then add the sauce that you prepared in advance.  Stir to combine then bring to a soft boil.

Sauce in pot with wood spoon on stove for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Don’t cook too long after the sauce is absorbed or you could burn the lentils.

Close up of cooked lentils in sauce in pot for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Now, for the Cauliflower, which gives you the meaty bite in this rice bowl.  Spread the florets out on a sheet pan, drizzle or spray (I love my Sonica Organics Oil Sprayer for this) with olive oil.

Spraying cauliflower on sheet pan with olive oil for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Season with salt and pepper and then roast in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and fork tender.  The cauliflower then gets added to the sauce that you have thickened with cornstarch.

Roasted Cauliflower on pan for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Roasted Cauliflower mixed in sauce in a pot for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Roasted Cauliflower mixed in sauce in a pot for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Serve by first putting the rice in the bowl, then spooning the lentils over the rice, and last the cauliflower.  Garnish with the green onions and sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

This Korean Rice Bowl on counter with Rice, Lentils and Cauliflower. This recipe is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

This Korean Rice Bowl on counter with Rice, Lentils and Cauliflower. This recipe is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
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Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower

This Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower is da bomb, exploding with flavor!  The rice soaks up the incredibly flavorful sauce from the lentils and the cauliflower which gives you a nutty and salty backdrop from the sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from the ginger and garlic, and sweet notes from the honey to balance it all out.  The lentils are creamy and hearty and the cauliflower gives you a nice meaty bite.  Overall, the perfect rice bowl.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Korean
Keyword cauliflower, korean, Lentils, Rice bowl
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Calories 537 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Lentils - Sauce in Large Mixing Bowl

  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Scallions/Green Onions chopped
  • 1 Cup red Lentils

Cauliflower - Sauce in Medium Mixing Bowl

  • 1/2 cup Soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Ginger, minced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 cup Water (for sauce)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Water (for cornstarch slurry)
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 4 cups Cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil half for Cauliflower, half for Scallions & Lentils
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 2 Tbls Sesame Seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice

Instructions

Prep Ingredients Ahead of time

  1. You will be making 2 sauces, so get a large mixing bowl and a medium size bowl.  

  2. Peel and Mince the ginger.  To peel, you can scrape the skin off with a spoon, a peeler, or cut it off with a knife.  Mince with a knife.  Place 1 teaspoon of the ginger in the large bowl and another 1 teaspoon in the medium bowl.

    Minced Garlic and Ginger for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  3. Peel and mince the garlic with a garlic press or knife.  2 Cloves will go into the large bowl and 1 clove into the medium bowl.

    Minced Garlic and Ginger for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  4. Finely Slice the scallions.  Save some of the sliced green tops in a plastic baggie for garnish.  Place the rest of the sliced scallions in another baggie (or just set aside if you will cook them now) for cooking with the lentils.

  5. Finish preparing the Lentil Sauce in the Large Bowl by adding the rest of the ingredients in the Lentils Sauce list, EXCEPT THE LENTILS which will go in once you are ready to cook.  If you are doing this a day or more ahead, store sauce covered in fridge.

    Sauce in clear bowl with whisk for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  6. Finish preparing the Cauliflower Sauce in the Medium Bowl by adding the rest of the ingredients in the Cauliflower Sauce list: Soy sauce, Honey, Sesame Oil, 1 cup Water.  If you are doing this a day or more ahead, store sauce covered in fridge.

Make your Korean Rice Bowl Meal

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Or rinse the rice under colder water in a strainer. Then add the rice, 2 1/4 cups water, and a tsp of salt to a pot with a tightly fitting lid. Bring the water up to a soft boil, stir the rice, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover tightly, and cook on lowest heat for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, turn off the heat, but keep covered until you are ready to serve.

  3. To a preheated sauce pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and the scallions and cook for a few minutes while stirring so they don't burn.  Then add the lentils and stir to combine the flavors and mix with the oil.

    Lentils in pot for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  4. Add the sauce to the pot and bring to a soft boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked and tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.

    Sauce in pot with wood spoon on stove for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  5. For the cauliflower, spread the florets out on a sheet pan, drizzle or spray with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Rub the oil and seasoning all over the florets and then spread them out again.  Roast them in the 375 oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and fork tender.

    Roasted Cauliflower on pan for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  6. While the cauliflower is roasting, bring the cauliflower sauce up to a simmer in a small sauce pot.  

  7. Make the cornstarch slurry by adding the 2 tablespoons of corn starch to the 1/4 cup cold water and mixing until it dissolves.  Whisk it into the simmering sauce and then reduce the heat.  Continue to whisk as the sauce thickens to ensure no clumps form, just a few minutes.  Turn off the heat and then add the roasted cauliflower to the sauce folding it in to completely coat it with the thick sauce.

    Roasted Cauliflower mixed in sauce in a pot for Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe, which is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.
  8. Serve by first putting the rice in the bowl, then spooning the lentils over the rice, and last the cauliflower.  Garnish with the green onions and sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

    This Korean Rice Bowl on counter with Rice, Lentils and Cauliflower. This recipe is da bomb, exploding with flavor! The rice soaks up the sauce, which gives you a nutty, salty flavor from sesame oil and soy sauce, a warm and zesty kick from ginger and garlic, and sweetness from honey to balance it all out. Lentils and cauliflower give a meaty bite.

Golden Lentil Soup

This Golden Lentil Soup is amazingly creamy, rich, tasty, and healthy soup – a Golden soup!  Lentils are the star here; however, Turmeric plays an important role in giving this soup the amazing yellowish-orange-golden color.  Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory so not only does it bring flavor and color, but it also has healing benefits!  So, this is really the ultimate soup…lentils, turmeric, tomatoes, and did I mention spinach??

My relationship with lentils is a new one, but after developing this week’s meal kit plan with lentils as the star, I have truly developed a love for these little guys.  The truth is, I never really ate them and definitely never cooked with them before.  There was no particular reason, I just never grew up eating them, was never a vegetarian, and frankly never thought they were going to be that tasty.  But then my husband, Dave, decided to be a vegetarian for 30days.  He listened to Matt Cutts’ Ted Talk, Try Something new for 30 Days, where Matt talked about how to slow down life to better enjoy it and one way to do that was to tackle 30-day-challenges for yourself.  Now, Dave has been a happy meat eater all his life and has never gone on any sort of diet restriction – ever – so this was truly an exercise in discipline.  I, as the loving and supportive wife, started cooking vegetarian and this is how we welcomed lentils into our kitchen and into our lives.

Ok, so Lentils are not just a vegetarian staple, they are actually VERY versatile and very healthful.  They have high levels of soluble fiber, so they are important for helping keep cholesterol low, supporting heart health and they great for digestive health.  Lentils are also high in protein, and a good source of iron.  If you are a newcomer to the world of lentils, try these surprisingly delicious and versatile recipes and I promise, you will be Loving Lentils too!

Golden Summer Lentil Soup

This Golden Lentil Soup is amazingly creamy, rich, tasty, and healthy! Lentils are the star here; however, Turmeric plays an important role in giving this soup the amazing yellowish-orange-golden color. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory so not only does it bring flavor and color, but it also has healing benefits! So, this is really the ultimate soup…lentils, turmeric, tomatoes, and did I mention spinach??

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 15 oz Can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 15 oz Can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup uncooked red lentils rinsed and drained
  • 3 cans low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste
  • 5 oz baby spinach

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion softens.
  2. Stir in the turmeric and cumin until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add the can of diced tomatoes (with juices), can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, salt, and plenty of pepper. Add red pepper flakes or cayenne, if desired, to taste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 18 to 22 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted bread.