Brown Rice/Black Sesame Salad

This salad is sweet, tangy, and savory, and is adapted from the incredible, Heidi Swanson’s lovely and always delicious blog. We used brown rice instead of the buckwheat soba noodles used in her version – both grains are nutty and sweet.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoons mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 12 oz. baked/smoked tofu, cut into matchsticks or small cubes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced


  1. Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so. It’s hard to tell when they are toasted; look closely and use your nose. Remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of toasted sesame; if you let them go much beyond that, you’ll start smelling burned sesame – not good. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Stir in the sugar, shoyu, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
  2. Cook rice slightly al-dente, adding 2 cups of water to each cup of brown rice. Bring rice to a boil, then simmer until slightly chewy but soft.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve topped with the remaining green onions.