Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Garlic Sauce (Café Gratitude Copycat Recipe)



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This copycat Recipe of Cafe Gratitude’s Grateful Bowl includes black beans, brown rice, fresh kale, smoky tempeh and a delicious garlic tahini sauce that’s perfect for a vegan and gluten-free lunch or dinner. 

Having a grain bowl for lunch is a great go-to. But it can also get old, fast, especially if you regularly use the same ingredients. If you’re looking for a sign to mix up your plant-based lunch plans, here it is. This recipe is my homemade take on the Grateful Bowl from Cafe Gratitude. This black bean bowl with brown rice, smoky tempeh and garlic tahini sauce is a total winner. It has all of the protein, vitamins and minerals you expect from a healthy vegan lunch, without sacrificing flavor. Did you hear about the garlic tahini sauce? It’s a game-changer.

How to Make Black Bean Bowls with Garlic Tahini Sauce

There are a few components to these grain bowls: the grain base, the tempeh, and the sauce. I recommend starting by getting the brown rice going on the stove, as that takes about 45 minutes.

Next, cook the smoky tempeh in a skillet. And finally, whip up the creamy garlic tahini sauce.


Here’s what I use to make these flavor bowls:

  • Rice. The restaurant serves with brown rice but you can also use white rice, quinoa or another gluten-free grain.
  • Beans. They use black beans and I opted for white beans I had on hand. Feel free to use chickpeas or another legume if you have it on hand.
  • Kale. Spinach, arugula or another fresh green works too!
  • Tempeh. Slice your tempeh into thin pieces to maximize crispness and flavor when you sear it in skillet.
  • Coconut aminos. Tamari or soy sauce also works (if you’re not gluten-free).
  • Liquid smoke. This makes your tempeh taste like bacon!
  • Smoked paprika for a hint of spice.

Garlic Tahini Sauce

The sauce really brings the flavors and textures of this gran bowl together. Don’t skip it! Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Tahini. Use your favorite brand, just make sure to mix it well so it’s nice and smooth.
  • Hemp seeds. These add healthy fats and fiber to the dressing, plus a super creamy texture.
  • Lemon juice. To help cut through some of the richness of tahini.
  • Olive oil. Helps to emulsify the sauce.
  • Garlic. It wouldn’t be garlic-tahini dressing without it!
  • Parsley. You could also use cilantro.

Storage Suggestions

If you’re planning these black beans bowls for meal prep, here’s how I recommend storing things:

  • Keep the cooked grains, tempeh beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
  • Stash the prepared kale in a separate airtight container for up to two days.
  • Keep the dressing in a sealed jar for up to four days
  • Then, just before serving, toss everything together and dig in!

More Vegan Bowl Ideas

If you make this vegan Grateful Bowl, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!

Brown Rice Bowl with Black Beans and Tahini Garlic Sauce (Café Gratitude Copycat Recipe)

5 from 2 votes
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white brown rice, or quinoa
  • 1 can white beans or black beans
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups kale roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Smoky Tempeh
  • 8 oz tempeh cubed
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • Garlic Tahini Sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup filtered water more as needed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup parsley loosely packed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper


  • Smoky Tempeh
  • Toss tempeh cubes in a bowl with coconut aminos, maple syrup, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt to coat.
  • Heat a pan with neutral oil and add tempeh once sizzling. Cook until golden brown, tossing with a spatula and then finish with a blowtorch to blacken further, if desired.
  • Beans
  • Sauté finely minced shallot and garlic in a pan until fragrant, then add salt to season and beans. Toss to cook until nicely golden brown and heated all the way through and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Kale
  • Toss kale into a bowl with a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper.
  • Use your hands to massage the kale to soften.
  • Tahini Sauce
  • To a blender add parsley, garlic, olive oil, water, lemon juice, hemp seeds and tahini. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • To assemble
  • Divide the rice, beans and kale between two plates. Drizzle generously with green sauce and top with blackened tempeh. Enjoy!

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Remy

Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Decided to try this recipe for a girls night dinner and was such a hit! The bowl is filled with protein that keeps you full, yet is light! The Tahini Garlic Sauce is delicious and brings the perfect harmony of flavor balance! #KinCookingClub

    5 stars

  2. Made this for lunch today. Best tofu I've ever had - it got so so crispy, and the greens were a nice crunch too! Used a homemade ginger cashew sauce, which was also delicious. #KinCookingClub
  3. Made this with tofu and added some other vegetables to this bowl, I’ve never made a tahini garlic sauce like this but I liked it! I could see myself making a batch of this and mixing up what I add to the bowl for easy lunches during the work day.

    5 stars