Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage

A recipe for quick pickled ginger red cabbage to top off your breakfast rice bowl, plus ideas for what else to stuff in that bowl.

Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage | FoodforMyFamily.com

I always regard May as the best-worst month. It’s the best because the rain has stopped, the weather warming to temperatures that encourage long post-dinner walks through the neighborhood. The garden soil begs to be turned and played in. The slowly sinking sun provides the best dinner lighting from the patio. Signs of life and beauty appear everywhere you look, from fragrant lilacs and apple blossoms to the first signs of perennials popping through the black dirt.

It’s the worst month because each day seems to be filled to the breaking point with concerts, activities, dinners, celebrations. School is winding down, but with that comes end-of-year celebrations times four. Book reports and forms to sign pile up as the sun begs us to pay attention outside.

I’m always one part worst end-of-the-school-year mom and one part pretending to hold it all together, so most of our meals have turned to rice bowls. Last week on the calendar I jokingly wrote that we had two planned dinners and five nights of rice bowls. This was not entirely true, but the rice bowls were.

The beauty of the rice bowl lies in the ability to turn just about anything into a meal. Leftover vegetables get sautéed briefly in the cast iron, protein can come from dinner’s past or an egg can be fried in minutes, a base of rice, a few spring herbs, a drizzle of oil or a slosh of sauce, and you’re set. There’s nothing pretentious about eating dinner or lunch or breakfast from a bowl. It’s like soup in that way – simple comfort food.

Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage | FoodforMyFamily.com

You can make a rice bowl out of anything. Anything? ANYTHING.

The rice doesn’t have to be “rice” necessarily. You could also use cauliflower, quinoa, farro, kamut, or any other number of rice-like options. We have made them with leftover white rice, sprouted brown rice, black rice, and everything else in between. It’s really just about having that grain-like chewy texture on which to build your bowl.

We have gone backwards and forwards on what to add to rice bowls, but my favorite trend toward fresh vegetables with a bit of a sesame oil drizzle and a spoonful of sambal oelek on top. Here are a few possible toppings you may have in your fridge to get you started:

  • leftover golbi (Korean barbecue) or other meat
  • eggs – soft-boiled, hard-boiled, fried, scrambled
  • fresh sliced radishes
  • bean sprouts
  • cilantro or other fresh herbs
  • crushed peanuts, seeds, other nuts, sesame seeds
  • shredded cabbage or quick pickled cabbage (see below!)
  • spring greens, spinach, baby kale, and chard
  • sprouts and micro greens
  • kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables and pickles
  • sautéed vegetables (brussels, carrots, onions, etc.)
  • onions and other aromatics (green, red, shallots, and otherwise)
  • sliced cucumbers
  • avocados (not optional)
  • hot sauce – sambal oelek, sriracha, cholula, tabasco, etc.
  • oil – sesame, extra virgin olive, avocado, etc.

Once you have your vegetables and rice, it’s all about the sauce: a bit of oil and vinegar, a hot sauce and a sprinkle of salt, a full on vinaigrette. The options are endless, and the choice is up to you.

Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage | FoodforMyFamily.com


Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage



  • 2 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Pack a mason jar or small heat-proof container with the cabbage, ginger, and peppercorns.
  2. In a saucepan, mix together the water, rice vinegar, honey, and salt. Heat and stir until the salt and honey dissolve into the water and vinegar. Pour over the cabbage, making sure all the vegetables are submerged. Seal and allow to rest at room temperature until the brine cools slightly and the jar is warm to the touch but not hot. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill.
  3. Enjoy straight from the jar for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 cups


Eat Seasonal May Blogger Photos
It’s time again for #EatSeasonal, hosted by Becky of Vintage Mixer. Be sure to check out what everyone is doing with spring’s bounty this month.

Rhubarb-Almond Cake by Floating Kitchen
Kale, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quesadillas by Cookin’ Canuck
Skinny Pineapple Mint Margaritas by Mountain Mama Cooks
Shaved Asparagus Ricotta Flatbread by Flavor the Moments
Roasted Broccoli and Bacon Crustless Quiche by Completely Delicious
Rhubarb-Wine BBQ Sauce by Kitchen Confidante
Lemon Roasted Artichokes by Letty’s Kitchen
Rhubarb Eton Mess with Coconut Whipped Cream by Vintage Mixer

Spring looks delicious from here.

Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage | FoodforMyFamily.com


  1. Love this recipe for pickled cabbage and I love all your rice bowl ideas. I am obsessed with food in bowls. There is something just very comforting about it. And, to be completely honest, it’s one of the best ways I know of for cleaning out the leftovers in my refrigerator! I hope you had a great Mother’s Day! Cheers!

  2. I would be truly happy eating rice bowls like this 5 out of 7 nights! These are gorgeous and I love that you can customize them with whatever is on hand. That pickled red cabbage sounds phenomenal, too!

  3. Pickled cabbage for the win! So great that you can make it well ahead of time and add it anything–including the ever versatile rice bowl!

  4. Ha! I could have written this post! I read it saying “me too” the whole time. Even the rice bowls. My kindergartener came home from school on Friday with a card she had made me for mother’s day. On the card is a picture of a bowl and she wrote “I like my mom becus she maks tako bols.” Apparently taco bowls, my single mom fall back dinner, are becoming the thing I’m known for.

    I love the idea of the pickled ginger and cabbage – tonight we’ve got mango, blackbeans, and cabbage on our rice bowls, but your’s is on the menu for tomorrow. Three cheers for the rice bowls!!!

  5. This is stunning Shaina!! You make healthy look so right!!! And please show me how to cut an avocado so perfectly!

  6. wow wonderful recipe ! I will try this soon! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous. The egg is cooked to perfection! AWESOME 😀

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