Build a Bowl Meals

by Kimberly Campbell May 30, 2017

Build a Bowl Meals

Kim Campbell

The most recent trend in the food world is to create a one dish/bowl style meal, often referred to as “Buddha Bowls,” “Hippie Bowls,” “Monk Bowls,” or “Power Bowls.”  Americans are used to separating their foods and I grew up with one sibling who was averse to peas touching potatoes, so this bowl concept is outside the box for many traditional eaters.  But recipes and eating are evolving and bowl style meals are all about breaking the rules.   Bowls allow foods to not just touch each other, but meld together into a beautiful myriad of flavors, textures, and colors.  These tips might help you get started with creating your own delicious bowl style meals.

  1. Grains/Starch: There are so many options to choose from and all of them can be made ahead of time. A few favorites: sweet or white potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, polenta, or whole grain pasta.
  2. Vegetables: Choose veggies that you enjoy and also those that are in season.  Always try incorporating a leafy green for every combination since they are packed with so many important nutrients.  Examples include kale, swiss chard, spinach, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, and cabbage. 
  3. Protein: I hesitate to call this a protein category since other categories are also an excellent protein source, but for the sake of creating this ‘meaty’ category I will keep the name.  This is the category that has many unique options, such as marinated and cubed baked tofu or tempeh, beans, lentils, or even leftover veggie burgers cut into squares. 
  4. Sauce: This truly makes each bowl unique.  Make plenty of sauce for marinating your protein component and also enough to cover the veggies and starch.  Be sure to keep it oil-free.  There are a variety of sauces/dressings in the PlantPure Nation and PlantPure Kitchen cookbooks to choose from if you need some inspiration.
  5. Garnish: Sprinkle your dish with your favorite herbs, citrus, seeds, or nuts.  This can add an element of fun and also impart quite a bit of flavor.

When thinking about making bowl style meals, try thinking in terms of foods where you already know the flavor patterns.  Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Mexican Bowls: Rice, beans, lots of veggies, and salsa/guacamole. Garnish: cilantro

Pizza Bowls: Whole grain penne pasta, veggies (spinach, mushrooms, olives, onions, and peppers), tofu-ricotta cheese, and marinara sauce. Garnishes: red pepper flakes, basil, fennel seeds, and/or nutritional yeast flakes

Rueben Bowls: Potatoes, veggies (spinach mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and sauerkraut), Smoky  Tempeh Bacon, Thousand Island Dressing.  Garnish: caraway seeds

Thai Bowls: Whole grain pasta, Asian blended veggies, baked tofu, and green Thai curry sauce.  Garnishes: lime, cilantro, basil, or sesame seeds

Thanksgiving bowl:  Mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, onions, and peppers, lentils, and mushroom gravy. Garnish: fresh thyme

Asian Peanut Bowl: Brown rice or noodles, Asian veggies, edamame, and a spicy peanut sauce. Garnish: lime, peanuts, cilantro, scallions

Breakfast Bowl:  Grits, greens, Tempeh Bacon, Salsa.  Garnish: avocados

Kimberly Campbell
Kimberly Campbell


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