A recipe for Build-Your-Own Stir Fry Bowls

Avery Yale Kamila’s four-year-old son loves to build things. She decided to take advantage of his skill and put it to use in the kitchen. “I often find ways to turn meals into a construction site,” she said. “One of my favorite ways to do this is by making stir fry bowls. Before I became a mom, I made stir fry the traditional way but now I serve it bowl style.”

Avery is a freelance food writer. She has interviewed many people over the years who are vegetarians and vegans. She’s also written about her own family’s eating habits, including how she raised a “giant vegan baby.” You can read more about Avery and get some helpful tips about plant-based eating in my blog post How will I get enough protein and other questions about going vegan.

One challenge for families is how to get kids to eat plant-based meals. Turning meals into a construction site worked great for Avery. As a starting point for the rest of us, she shared her recipe for Build-Your-Own Stir Fry Bowls. Have fun with it!


Source: Avery Yale Kamila

Build-Your-Own Stir Fry Bowls

With this recipe, everyone starts with a bowl of rice and then builds from there. Kids who don’t like their foods to touch can have small bowls for all their choices. Tongs offer a workout for fine motor skills, so I offer them with the vegetables and tofu. This meal is a great opportunity to try out chopsticks at the table!

(Serves 4)


  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Rinse the rice and then pour it into a heavy-bottom pot with the water and seasonings. Place over medium-high heat uncovered until it begins to boil. Next, lower the heat to bring the rice to a simmer. Add the lid with space for steam to escape. Cook this way for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until only a small amount of the water remains. Turn off the heat and place the cover on tightly. Allow the rice to steam like this for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.


  • 1 package of firm tofu (roughly 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Cut the tofu into cubes and then place in a baking dish. Add the tamari and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Bake for 30 minutes until the tofu firms up on the outside and turns a golden brown. Place in a bowl and serve warm.


  • 1 medium-size sweet onion, sliced into strips
  • 1 cup of shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup carrot slices

Organize vegetables in stacks inside a steamer basket and add the basket to a stock pot containing a small amount of water. Place it over medium-high heat and let steam for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender. Remove the steamer basket (tongs help) and place on a plate to serve.


  • 2 tablespoons finely diced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced ginger root
  • 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 dash toasted sesame oil

Mix together and then place in a picture or in a bowl with a ladle.


Place tofu, vegetables and sauce on the table with spoons and tongs for serving (and fine motor development). Add rice to everyone’s bowl and allow each person to serve him or herself.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.