Getting bored with your meals lately? Looking for tasty and simple recipes that will please even the most finicky eaters? Look no further! Bowls are the perfect vessel to pile with superfoods and pack with flavor. Let’s run through the basics on how to build simple and healthy bowls for every palate and preference.
3 Easy Steps to Build Your Bowl
Building a satisfying bowl only requires a few easy steps:
- Add variety: Make your bowl a balanced meal by incorporating protein, fruits and/or veggies and healthy whole grains. These are the superfood ingredients that’ll give your bowl a nutritious flair. Include healthy fats by topping your masterpiece with a tasty sauce. Add even more variety with colorful ingredients and different kinds of textures.
- Pick a flavor profile: Are you going for a southwest bowl? If so, include ingredients like roasted tomatoes or poblanos, grilled chicken and pico de gallo. If you prefer a Thai flavor, try brown Jasmine rice, shrimp and stir-fried veggies topped with a quick peanut sauce.
- Keep it simple. Your bowl does not need to be elaborate. You can repurpose leftovers or take advantage of pre-cut produce. Whip up a quick sauce while you heat up the other bowl elements, mix everything together, and your bowl is ready.
Pick Your Ingredients
Adding protein to your bowl is as simple as dicing boiled eggs, fork-shredding a rotisserie chicken or opening a can of tuna. Save time and add flavor with leftover grilled meat. Plant-based options like tempeh, seitan or beans make fabulous choices as well.
Bowls are a great way to use up extra grains. Grains add chewy, starchy and fibery components that will keep you full for hours. Try out quinoa, millet, farro and other less common grains in your bowl. For a grain-free bowl, try roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice instead.
Veggies provide endless options. Opt for quick-cooking choices such as squash, spinach, peppers and onions. Or add leftover roasted or grilled veggies.
Incorporate an element of surprise and a hint of sweetness by adding fruits to your bowl. Pineapple and mango are particularly tasty options, raw or cooked. You can use 100 percent fruit juice or fresh-squeezed citrus when you make your sauce. Dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries, can add an unexpected flavor and texture twist.
If you are going for a Mexican-style bowl, try a bit of crumbled cotija or queso fresco cheese. Stronger tasting cheeses like Parmesan, blue cheese and goat cheese are great for adding that irresistible umami flavor. Because these cheeses are so flavorful, a little bit goes a long way. For a “cheesy” vegan option, try nutritional yeast or make a cashew-based sauce.
No bowl is complete without a sauce to really unite the elements. Your sauce can be as simple as salsa, guacamole or salad dressing. Alternatively, you can whip up countless tasty sauces in 10 minutes or less. Choose healthy fats to enrich your sauce. For example, a simple pesto made with olive oil or a quick peanut sauce. Cashews, avocados and other plant-derived fats are all great choices.
4 Tasty Bowl Combinations
1. Sweet and Sour Bowl
Prepare Sweet and Sour Tofu. Double the sauce in the recipe so there’s enough to go around. Stir-fry some of your favorite veggies and add everything to a bed of brown rice. If you use leftover meat or meat alternatives, pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked rice, all you have to do is make the sauce. This meal will be on your table in no time.
2. Chicken and Mango Bowl
Enjoy this Thai inspired stir-fry bowl-style. Customize your bowl by varying the types of protein, veggies, and grains you use. With its sweet and spicy flavor profile and rich sauce, this meal will be a quick favorite you’ll want to make time and time again.
3. Greek-Style Bowl
Build a tasty no-cook bowl centered around your favorite hummus. Top hummus with sliced cucumber, diced tomatoes, warmed whole-wheat pita triangles and Kalamata olives. Finish it off with a simple tzatziki sauce.