Photo: Erin Kunkel; Styling: Christine Wolheim
Total Time
1 Hour
Serves 4 or 5

Imagine a classic Asian-style rice bowl, but with a risotto-like blend of millet and amaranth as the base. At Vital Root in Denver, chef-owner Justin Cucci tops the grains with loads of vegetables and tofu, then drizzles on a silky tahini sauce.

Wine Pairing: A dry but aromatic white like VML 2014 Gewürztraminer (Russian River Valley; $24). The perfume of the sesame and tahini match the wine's floral and spicy aromas; the haunting minerally character and mouth-filling weight of Gewürz work well with tofu. --Sara Schneider

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook grains: In a medium saucepan, bring millet, amaranth, broth, curry powder, and olive oil to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in salt; set aside at least 5 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, start toppings: Preheat oven to 375°. On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss tofu with soy sauce and canola oil. Bake, turning once, until golden at edges, about 20 minutes. Put kale and broccoli in separate steamer baskets in saucepans with 1/2 in. water and set aside, covered (use saucepans and water alone if you don't have steamer baskets).

Step 3

Make miso sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients with 3/4 cup water until smooth. Set aside.

Step 4

About 5 minutes before serving, bring kale and broccoli to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are bright green and tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.

Step 5

Pour each vegetable into a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp. sesame oil and 1/4 tsp. salt to kale and toss to coat. Add 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and the sesame seeds to broccoli; toss to coat. Sprinkle avocado with paprika and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.

Step 6

Spoon grains into 4 or 5 wide bowls. Arrange separate portions of tofu, kale, and broccoli in each and tuck in an avocado wedge. Spoon about 1/4 cup sauce onto each bowl. Sprinkle bowls with pine nuts and chopped basil and top with basil sprigs. Serve more sauce on the side.

Step 7

*Find millet, amaranth, and miso at well-stocked grocery stores and natural-foods stores, and the grains at

Chef's Notes

Nutritional analysis is per serving with 1/4-cup sauce.

Vital Root, Denver

Ratings & Reviews


September 13, 2017
Lots of steps but easy and very tasty. Other than substituting walnuts for the pine nuts, I followed the recipe as written. I paired it with a Gewürz but an off-dry one from Oregon - still good!