Baked Purple Sweet Potato Winter Tao Bowl Recipe

What Is A Winter Tao Bowl?

The colors blue, black, and purple are associated with the water element. Purple foods have essential nutrients that our bodies need during the winter. Foods like purple sweet potato, black sesame seeds, black rice, dark berries, dark grapes, dark soy sauce, and dark miso. These nutrient-rich foods benefit the kidneys, bladder, bones, and ears. Specifically, working to nourish the kidneys and help conserve energy. The kidneys are the most affected organ system during the winter, so giving them extra attention is important to focus on for optimal winter wellness. Our kidneys are the essence that feeds and renews our life force. 

Taoism is all about living in balance with the universe by following the principles of the five-element system used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a lifestyle I choose to follow personally because it helps me align with the seasons and the great universe. The Winter Tao bowl is a seasonal recipe incorporating foods recommended for winter, which is the water element, according to ancient Taoist texts.

Health Benefits of Black Rice & Black Sesame Seeds

Black Rice (Hei Mei) According to TCM 

The forbidden black rice is known as “longevity rice” and “tribute rice” in China. During the Sung and Tang dynasties (900 CE), black rice was only reserved for Emperors because it was known to support good health and long life. It is typically reserved for ceremonies and rituals in China. Rice helps make this a more complete plant-based meal. If you eat plant-based vegan food, it is always good to eat rice and beans together to get more essential amino acids. Black rice is the perfect addition to an easy veggie-centric entree recipe for the wintertime.

In TCM, black rice is known as a blood purifier, supporting qi and restoring life force, balance, and harmony. Their vital functions include scavenging free radicals, antioxidant activity, enhancing immune system function, and reducing the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. Black rice bran has a higher content of phenolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins and has higher antioxidant activity when compared to white rice bran.

Sesame Seeds According to TCM

Sesame is another incredible longevity plant that helps combat diseases associated with aging. These nifty seeds work to tonify precious yin fluids and blood. Yin fluids are responsible for moistening and cooling the body and strengthening the liver, large intestine, and kidneys, especially for yin deficiency.

It has demulcent properties, which help lubricate the intestines and the five yin organs (heart, kidney, spleen/pancreas, and lungs)—relieving wind obstruction, also known as constipation, dry cough, blurry vision, ringing in ears, blood in urine, back pain, headaches, nervous spasms, stiff joints, weak knees, dizziness, anxiety, numbness, paralysis, and dried up mother’s milk.

Grounding sesame seeds into a paste or butter or soaking them overnight makes them easier to digest. Black sesame seeds are considered slightly more medicinal than white seeds. Pairing black sesame seeds with hemp seeds and Angelica root can help promote bowel movements.

Black sesame crusted tofu one of the most tasty ways to make tofu. It is a great addition to any meal but really completes this Winter Tao Bowl recipe. 

A Healthy & Easy Purple Sweet Potato Recipe 

This was the first recipe I made with purple sweet potatoes. The unique color is so vibrant and makes any meal look elevated and add more nutritional value to your winter meals. The purple sweet potatoes are also known as Japanese purple sweet potatoes, Okinawan sweet potatoes, and ube. They have become popular because of The Blue Zones Cookbook and TV show on Netflix. If you haven’t heard about the blue zones, you must go check them out. The author Dan Buettner outlined the longest-lived humans based on their region, one of which is in Okinawa, Japan. The show on Netflix talks about the foods they eat, and the purple sweet potato is credited for contributing to the longevity of one of the longest-lived regions in the world. 

Now that the purple sweet potatoes have had their fame, it is easy to find them in most grocery stores. The purple color means they have more anthocyanins than regular sweet potatoes. The health benefits of anthocyanins are greatly due to the antioxidant properties that may help increase longevity, improve cardiovascular health, and help prevent cancer and dementia. There are many delicious ways to eat these vibrant sweet potatoes.

The easiest way is to create a roasted purple sweet potatoes recipe. I combined them with more water-element foods like black rice, arugula salad mix, black sesame-crusted tofu, and an almond-miso-ginger sauce. You can prepare this meal and cook it in an air fryer or oven. It is a simple recipe to prepare for the weekend to throw together in a bowl during a busy week for lunch or dinner. 

Winter Tao Bowl

Seasonal winter bowl made with purple sweet potato, black rice, black sesame-crusted tofu, and arugula.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4


Roasted purple sweet potato

  • 2 purple sweet potatoes
  • 4 medium shallots
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp of salt

Black Rice

  • 1/2 cup forbidden black rice
  • 1 1/4 cups of veggie broth or water
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp of dry curry leaves
  • 1 tsp of dry Thai basil
  • Salt to taste

Black Sesame Crusted Tofu


    • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
    • 1/3 cup sourdough bread crumbs
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper


    • 1/3 cup rice flour
    • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
    • 1/2 cup hemp or oat milk
    • 1 tbsp coco aminos


    • 1 16 oz block extra firm tofu pressed for 15 minutes and

    Almond Ginger Miso Sauce

    • 3 tbsp almond butter
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 3 tsp of jalapeño flakes
    • 1 tsp yellow miso paste
    • 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
    • 4 tbsp coco aminos
    • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar


    • 1 cup of arugula
    • 1/4 cup of edamame
    • 2 tbsps of green onion
    • 1 TBSp of chopped almonds

    Serve with

    • Fresh herbs like Thai Basil leaves
    • Squeeze of lime
    • Radish Micro Greens


    • Cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch chunks, place potatoes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with seasonings, olive oil, sprinkle of salt, and mix together.
    • Set oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes.
    • Add rice, broth, and seasoning to a pot and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until done.
    • Combine breading ingredients in a large bowl.
    • Add batter ingredients in a separate bowl.
    • Cut the drained tofu into 1/4 inch slices, coat it with batter, and then the breading. Add to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
    • Drizzle each side of the tofu with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, flip the tofu, and bake for another 10 minutes.
    • Prepare the almond sauce. Add more tamari or water if it is too thick.
    • Prepare the plate by adding the rice, sweet potato, and salad. Mix together. Top with the tofu, almond sauce, radish micros, Thai basil, and lime.
    • Take a bite.
    • Overall aproximent cooking time is about 1 hour 40 minutes
    Keyword black rice, purple sweet potato