Whatever you call them-grain bowls, Buddha bowls, macro bowls, or hippie bowls-big bowl meals seem to be everywhere these days, and for good reason. They’re flavourful, colourful, heartily nutritious, and infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand. Not only are these meal bowls easy to prepare at home, but they also make healthy eating much more interesting and delicious.
With just a little planning and some advanced prep work, a quick and satisfying weekday meal can be assembled in just minutes. There’s no hard-and-fast rule on how to make a big bowl meal; however, following a basic blueprint will ensure an exciting bowl every time.
For the base of your bowl, use something filling—cooked grains, seeds, or noodles work well. Over your base, artfully arrange a variety of cooked and raw vegetables, a protein, a complementary sauce or dressing, and something crunchy.
Vibrant flavours and a diversity of textures are key to any meal bowl. Also, don’t toss together the components of your meal bowl as you would a salad. Keeping each component separate lets you design a new and unique bite each and every forkful.
Read on for some big bowl meal inspirations and get ready to be bowled over by your next meal.
Creating big bowl meals with what you have on hand is easy and fun. Get creative and use the following guide as inspiration.
|Bowl base (choose 1 to 2)||quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, couscous, farro, millet, barley, buckwheat, Kamut, freekeh, rice noodles, soba noodles, polenta, lentils|
|Seasonal produce—roasted, sautéed, blanched, and/or raw (choose 2 to 4)||cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, squash, fennel, cherry tomatoes, peppers, corn, edamame, cucumber, celery, cabbage, beets, mushrooms, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collards, salad greens, bok choy, avocado, zucchini, radishes, sweet potato, grapes, apples, pears|
|Protein punch (choose 1)||beans (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, etc.), eggs, tofu, tempeh, fish, chicken, turkey, beef|
|Get saucy (choose 1 to 2)||vinaigrette, pesto, hummus, salsa, guacamole, soy sauce or tamari, tahini, extra-virgin olive oil, flavoured vinegars|
|Crunch factor (choose 1 to 2)||toasted seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds), roasted nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts), crispy chickpeas, hemp hearts, flaxseeds, chia seeds|
|Extra flourishes (choose 1 to 3)||hot sauce, za’atar, nori, fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, parsley, chives, fennel fronds), kimchi, grated Parmesan cheese, yogurt, sliced green onion, citrus zest, drizzle of honey, microgreens, toasted coconut chips, pickled or fermented vegetables|
Big Breakfast Bowl
Spiced Chicken Bowl
Fish Taco Bowl
Crispy Peanut Tofu Bowl
Bánh Mì Bowl
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