The latest family meal idea that’s easy, healthy, fun, in-style and stupidly delicious is the versatile meal in a bowl.
If you want a new way to prepare healthy, delicious, fun and easy meals, your family will crave for – even if they are middle-aged men, aka husbands, and picky children – you need to learn how to make food bowls and jump on the one-bowl meal craze.
These one-bowl recipes are not a new or revolutionary or even use any innovative cooking technique. Food bowls have been around for centuries and in many cultures (especially Asian). But they usually go by different names, like Korea’s “Bibimbap”.
They are meals that combine all the four food ingredients into one layered dish, that is served in bowl of course.They’ve become a recent North American food craze and continue to grow in popularity because they are a great meal option for busy families that want to eat healthy food, but don’t have time for hours of meal prep.
The basic concept of a food bowl is a base starch topped with a combination of protein, fruits, veggies,and/or cheese and then flavored with a sauce or vinaigrette. They’re great because you can use the same cooking process, but vary the ingredients for a completely different taste experience. The layering of different foods also creates new textural mouth-feel, making them interesting and fun to eat.
Personally, my family and I were inspired by this craze after going to a local New Tampa restaurant called Ciccio Cali’s. They offer Asian, Mexican, Southwest and heathy bowls, with everything from brown rice to noodles and kale as a base.
Here are some of the bowls we eat in our house. Many of the starch ingredients you are not familiar with (or can’t find in the regular grocery store) you can find right here at Culinary Hipster
- 1 cup amaranth
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 1/2 cups frozen berries or 1 1/2 cup prunes
- white or brown sugar, to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- 4-6 tbsp greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
- drizzle of honey (optional)
- Cook 1 cup amaranth as you normally would on the stovetop or in a steamer or slow cooker overnight.
- Mix in ¼ cup of raisins and 1 tsp. or cinnamon.
- Prepare the berry sauce by boiling 1 ½ cups of frozen berries with ¼ cup water (and sugar to taste if you like) OR boil 1 ½ cups of prunes with ½ cup water to create a prune pudding.
- When the amaranth is ready top with berry mixture or prune pudding.
- Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt and drizzle of honey, and a sprinkling of walnuts.
- Amaranth flavored with cinnamon and raisins, topped with fresh berry sauce or prune pudding (for the prune lovers out there!). Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt and honey and a sprinkling of walnuts.
- (Substitute the the berry sauce with sauteed banana in brown sugar and butter for a special treat.)
- 4 cups of steamed rice (basmati or your favorite variety)
- 1 small diced onion
- 1/4 cup of cooking oil (we use canola)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 can black beans
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 4 tbsp sour cream
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar
- Prepare rice in a steamer or on the stove.
- While rice is steaming, sauté a diced onion with oil and chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes in a pan.
- When the onions are translucent (approximately 3-5 minutes) add a can of black beans, ½ cup water and a handful of chopped cilantro.
- Let the beans sauté on low until the rice is ready.
- While everything is cooking chop your veggies of choice.
- Assemble bowls by layering rice as the base, topped with the bean mixture, then topped with the fresh veggies.
- Drizzle with your favorite BBQ sauce (omit this if you would like to avoid the sugar).
- Add a dollop of sour cream and some salsa.
- Garnish with grated cheddar and crushed nachos chips for texture.
- Finish the dish with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.
- Variation: Add corn with rice or bean mixture, or prepare with seasoned ground beef instead of beans.
- 1bsp butter
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 diced onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 4 cups of steamed basmati rice - or 4 cups steamed noodles (soba or udon)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup diced cilantro (or scallions)
- 1/2 lb fresh, shelled raw shrimp
- 1 cup grated cabbage,
- 1 cup sprouts
- 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger (use ginger spice if you don’t have fresh)
- 2 tbsp crushed peanuts
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sesame or canola oil
- Sauté 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tsp sesame oil, ½ cup diced onion and two cloves chopped garlic in a pan.
- Mix with prepared rice or soba noodles (or udon noodles).
- Add a 2 tbsp soy sauce and diced cilantro or scallions.
- Prepare shrimp in another pan by sautéing with 1 tbsp butter and two cloves diced garlic.
- Layer the noodles or rice in the bottom of your bowl and top with shrimp.
- In the same pan that you used for shrimp, toss in grated cabbage, sprouts, grated fresh ginger (use ginger spice if you don’t have fresh) and diced cilantro mixture.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes to warm but maintain firm texture.
- When finished add to Asian bowl.
- Top with chopped peanuts or crushed wontons.
- Drizzle with peanut sauce (peanut butter warmed in a pan with oil, water and sugar, if desired. add water or coconut milk to adjust consistency)
- Or make an orange sauce: 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice mixed with 1/2 sour cream and 1 tbsp Siracha sauce (or fresh chili paste).
- Variation: Substitute noodles with basmati rice
Bowls provide endless ideas
The ideas here are endless. What’s great about food bowls is you can create completely different taste experiences only by switching a few of items. For example, the Mexican Bowl can be made as a Southwest Bowl if you remove the salsa and nacho chips and add pulled pork and blue cheese crumbles.
Pairing a little “naughty” food, like cheese or nachos, with healthy foods like kale or squash noodles is also great way to get your family to eat vegetables.
Culinary Hipster suggests trying substituting starches high in protein versions like farro and amaranth. To try them order our supergrain super sampler packs.