Lunch Box: Make-Ahead Coconut Forbidden Rice with Tofu and Summer Fruit


[Photograph: Suzanne Lehrer]

Stone fruits and melons bring to mind portable beach snacks, bubbling cobbler or juice dripping down your chin. But as we wrap up our leisurely summer weekends (and produce) and transition to fall, there's no need to leave the fruit behind—you can pack it in cold grain salads for an office lunch.

Simmering rice in coconut milk often leads to rice pudding, but with a dash of salt it becomes a smooth, luscious backdrop for the last of summer's bounty. Watermelon and tart-sweet plums stay juicy and flavorful overnight, and pack a punch against the nutty, coconut-infused forbidden black rice. To ensure that the rice doesn't turn too sweet the next day, I lightly dress the grains and fruit with sesame oil, lime juice, and zest. With the brightness of the lime and cilantro, this rice salad would make a great side dish on its own, but I added tofu for a more complete meal—it complements without stealing the show from the fresh fruit or the creamy rice.

About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Follow her recipes and cooking adventures at and on twitter @the_suzchef.