Have you ever thought why people now prefer eating meals in bowls instead of plates? If not, you should know the latest trend of popular bowl meals. let’s get the whats, hows and whys of bowl meals and yes, some amazing bowl meal recipes too!
The New York Post recently carried a report where the writer mentions how many New Yorkers are opting for bowl meals. People are turning away from plates, and eating their meals from bowls. Many upscale salad chains and smoothie shops are serving these foods now. At the stylish eateries, there are even an entire menu section that is devoted to bowls. No doubt, bowl meals are getting popular tremendously!
But it’s not just any meal in a bowl. They are going for “power bowls” full of proteins, whole grains and vegetables.
In fact, not just NYC, bowl meals have become popular all around the world. It’s the next big thing, and for good reasons too!
Why Bowl Meals are getting Popular?
There are millions of posts on social media with the hashtag #bowl. A bowl meal is photogenic too, so it’s become popular on Instagram. Yes, the true measure of popularity in this age of social media!
Bowl meals are healthy, and they taste good, because a lot of stuff can be added to make the textures and flavors rich. On top of that, you can add many amazing toppings, that too without empty calories. It is really satisfying.
These bowl meals are tastier, better than plain salads – they have fewer carbs, and are filling. The New York Times even carried an article on how to make your own bowl meal.
What is a Bowl Meal?
As the name suggests, the food here is served in a bowl. But it’s not just one thing. Several things, such as, grains, vegetables, and even fruits are combined to create a meal that is not just tasty, but also healthy. The meal can be wet or dry, depending on the ingredients and the process of preparing it. The meal is filling too, so you won’t feel hungry soon and end up overeating.
- A proper bowl meal will have a nutritious balance of protein, starches/carbohydrates, veggies, healthy fats, and grains.
- Everything should be mixed together well in the right proportions.
- You should be able to eat it comfortably, without the fear of spillages.
- It needs to be made of fresh spices, herbs and sauces to jazz it up so that you don’t get bored with the same variations and flavors.
What Should a Bowl Meal Include?
You can choose from the following to make your own bowl meal,
- Lightly cooked or raw greens like kale, spinach, sprouts, Swiss chard, arugula, romaine, mustard greens etc.
- Proteins you will get from lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts/seeds, and yeast. Also included are animal proteins from fish in the wild, turkey, chicken, eggs.
- Healthy fats you get from olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil.
- Veggies may include cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, radish, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, beans.
- Starches and carbohydrates from quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, millet, peas, corn, beans.
- Fruits include papaya, banana, pears, strawberries, raspberries, apples, grapes, mango.
You can add many toppers such as salad dressings made at home, flakes, apple cider vinegar, yeast, and fresh lemon juice to create a yummy bowl meal.
The best thing about these bowl meals is that, they are nutritious, yummy, and you can prepare them easily and quickly. You will just need to know what goes with what, and attain the right balance. The combinations will then be virtually endless.
Here is another great thing about them. You can have a bowl meal throughout the day if you so wanted. There are meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and smaller bowl meals for your snacks.
How to Make a Bowl Meal
There are four parts you need to focus on. They are,
- The base
- The protein
Your bowl meal needs a sturdy foundation.
- starchy vegetables, and
- whole grains are good choices.
- Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips and yams will be good as the base, whether you mash, steam or roast.
Make sure that the base is about a third of the bowl. It can be a bit less also if you want. If you want noodles as the base, try rice, kelp or buckwheat noodles.
For whole grains, you can try,
- Wheat or spelt berries
- Brown rice
If you want a grain-free meal, you can go for seeds like
- millet, or
Ideally, vegetables should make up about a third of your bowl. Go for leafy greens like
- chard and
They are bulky and thus, serve as a good middle layer. You can top them with other greens. Add vegetables in various forms – shredded, raw, stir-fried, and steamed are all options you can try for variety.
The remaining portion of your bowl meal should be made up with protein.
- If you are having a vegetarian bowl, then go for roasted, baked or stir-fried, seitan, tempeh or tofu.
- Pulses and beans are good as well, whether whirled or whole into a dip.
- There are other protein options you can try as well such as cottage cheese, or feta.
- You may also have your meal bowl with a fried or poached egg.
Your bowl meal will become really yummy if you dress it up nicely. There are plenty of choices too, from a hot sauce, salsa, hummus, to a soy-based sauce. It could be as simple as adding a few seeds and nuts to make it extra crunchy. You will add extra proteins too. You may also add dried seaweed or fresh herbs as the topping for a different feel.
- You can always skip the base and go for the greens directly if you want to make your bowl lighter, may be for a little snack.
- If you have a grain base, a sturdy green such as kale will get softened up once you add it. Delicate greens such as arugula will wilt more. So you should add this only when the base is cold or in room-temperature.
Amazing Bowl Meal Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl
- Skinless and boneless chicken thighs – 4 pieces
- Soy sauce – ½ cup
- Sugar – ½ cup
- Cornstarch – 2 teaspoons
- Kosher salt – a pinch
- Rice vinegar – 4 teaspoons
- Brown or sushi rice (cooked) – 2 cups
- Carrot – 1 (shaved thinly)
- Onions – 4 to 6 (shaved thinly)
- Water – 2 teaspoons
- Sesame seeds to garnish
For the Japanese spice
- Valencia orange peel – 1 teaspoon
- Ground red pepper – 4 teaspoons
- Sesame seed – 2 teaspoons
- Ground ginger – 1 teaspoon
- Poppy seed – 1 teaspoon
- Ground white pepper – ¼ teaspoon
- Dried seaweed – ½
- Rinse chicken in water. Use paper towels to pat dry.
- Season chicken with kosher salt. Set aside.
- Place the sugar, and soy sauce in a sauce pan.
- Mix cornstarch in water. Place in sauce pan.
- Boil the mixture. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Add the Japanese spice and rice vinegar.
- Cook for 5 to 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken. Stir occasionally.
- Add chicken thighs.
- Cook chicken for 5 to 7 minutes on both sides.
- Add teriyaki sauce on both sides of the chicken. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Take out from pan. Keep aside for 5 minutes.
- Add rice to the bowl’s base. Add shredded onion and carrot next.
- Chop or slice chicken thighs and keep on top.
- Drizzle teriyaki sauce.
Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
- Chia seeds – 2 teaspoons
- Rolled oats – 2 cups
- Maple syrup – 2 teaspoons
- Shredded coconut – 2 teaspoons
- Coconut milk – 1 can
- Almond milk – 1 cup
- Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
- Add chia seeds, oats, maple syrup, coconut, almond milk and coconut milk to your pot and boil over mid-heat.
- Reduce heat. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir occasionally till the oatmeal becomes thick. The liquid should be absorbed.
- Lower the heat. Stir the vanilla extract in.
- Divide into bowls. Top with almonds, strawberries, nuts and almonds.
South Indian Bowl
- Vegetable oil – 1 teaspoon
- Cauliflower florets – 400g
- Ground turmeric – 1/3 teaspoon
- Beans (trimmed and cut into small pieces) – 200g
- Carrots (grated) – 3
- Vegetable oil – 1 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Onion (chopped) – 1
- Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Coconut (shredded) – 2 teaspoons
- Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
- Rice – 2x250g packet
- Cottage cheese – 100g
- Chutney – to serve
- Preheat your oven to 180c. Use baking paper to line the tray.
- Keep the vegetable oil and cauliflower in a bowl and season.
- Keep in a tray in one layer. Now roast for 20-25 minutes.
- Cook beans in your saucepan for 3 minutes. It should turn tender. Drain and keep in pan.
- Heat the coconut oil. Cook mustard seeds for a minute. They should pop.
- Add cumin seeds, curry leaves and onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add half of the onion mixture to the beans. Also add the coconut and carrot. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Spray the frying pan lightly with oil. Heat it.
- Cook the cottage cheese for 3 to 4 minutes till it turns golden.
- Divide into bowls. Place cauliflower, carrot, cottage cheese and beans over rice.
- Serve with chutney.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Snacks Bowl
- Yogurt – 6 oz.
- Peanut butter – 1 teaspoon
- Berry jam – 1 teaspoon
- Peanuts – handful
- Sea salt – a pinch
- It is simple. All you have to do is just mix everything.
Fried Chicken Bowl
- Pre-cooked strips of chicken – 4 pieces
- Mashed and prepared potatoes – 2 cups
- Shredded Cheddar cheese – 6 ounces
- Whole kernel corn – 14 ounce (drained)
- Vegetable oil – 2 teaspoons
- Heat the oil in your saucepan at 175 degrees C.
- In the hot oil, fry your chicken strips for 2-3 minutes.
- Keep the strips in a bowl.
- Cut them into small chunks.
- Layer the cheese, mashed potatoes, and corn.
Oatmeal Banana Power Bowl
- Mashed banana (ripe) – 1
- Chia seeds – 2 heaping
- Oats – 1/3 cup
- Cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon
- Almond milk – 2/3 cup
- Ground flax (optional) – 1 teaspoon
- Water – 1/3 cup
- For garnish – pepita (pumpkin) seeds, cinnamon, soaked almonds, toasted coconut, hemp, ginger, nut butter.
- Mash the banana and keep in a bowl one night before preparation. Stir the milk, oats, chia, water and cinnamon in. Combine well. Refrigerate overnight.
- Scoop oatmeal mixture into a pot in the morning. Simmer over medium heat.
- Bring down the heat to low. Stir frequently till it gets thick.
- Stir the flax in.
- Pour the oats into your bow. Garnish with toppings.
Garlic Chicken Fried Rice
- Chicken breast (skinless and boneless) – 8 ounces
- Chopped bell pepper – ½
- Chopped onion – ½ cup
- Minced garlic – 4 cloves
- Brown rice (cooked) – 3 cups
- Soy sauce – 2 teaspoons
- Rice vinegar – 1 teaspoon
- Peas (thawed) – 1 cup
- Vegetable oil – 2 teaspoons
- Pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat over medium flame.
- Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and chicken.
- Cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Transfer chicken to plate. Keep warm.
- Heat the remaining oil over medium flame.
- Add rice. Stir the rice vinegar, peas, and soy sauce in and cook for a minute.
- Add chicken mixture. Stir so that it blends nicely with the rice.
- Take out in a bowl and relish the delicacy.
Black Chana (Chickpeas) and Coconut Stew Bowl
- Chopped onion – ½
- Minced ginger – ½ inch
- Garlic – 2-3 cloves
- Lemon grass – ½ stalk
- Lime leaves – a few
- Green chilies – 2 (slit lengthwise into 2)
- Diced eggplant – 2
- Diced zucchini – 60gm
- Diced gourd – 60gm
- Black chana (cooked) – 90gm
- Harissa paste (hot chili pepper paste) – 2 teaspoons
- Basil leaves – a few
- Coconut milk – 100ml
- Coriander – small bunch
- Parsley – small bunch
- Pepper and salt to taste
- Yellow or red chilies for garnish
- First, wash the beans and drain. Cook with some salt, but it shouldn’t be mushy.
- Wash and dice the eggplant, zucchini and gourd.
- Pound the ginger, garlic, green chilies, lemon grass, lime leaves and salt into a paste in your food processor.
- Heat oil. Fry the onions. Add dried veggies. Saute them with the onions.
- Add the paste and cooked chana. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 teaspoon of harissa paste. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the pepper and salt into the coconut milk.
- Cook the veggies.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and yellow or red chilies.
Super Green Smoothie Bowl
- Ripe avocado – ¼
- Ripe bananas (sliced) – 2 medium
- Mixed berries (raspberries or strawberries) – 1 cup
- Spinach – 2 large handfuls
- Kale (remove the stems) – 1 small handful
- Milk – 1 and ½ cup
- Flax seed meal – 1 teaspoon
- Peanut or almond butter – 2 teaspoons (optional)
- Granola, sunflower seeds, roasted or raw nuts, berries, shredded coconut, hemp seeds for toppings.
- Add all the smoothie ingredients to your blender. Blend till it becomes smooth and creamy. Add water or almond milk to thin.
- Adjust flavor if needed. You can add the banana to make it sweeter, almond milk to make it creamier or spinach for the green hue.
- Add nut butter if you want more protein.
- Pour into 2 glasses.
- Add desired toppings.
- You can refrigerate this for 1-2 days.
Mixed Sprouts Bowl
- Mixed sprouts – 2 bowls
- Water – 3 cups
- Oil – 2 teaspoons
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Asafetida – a pinch
- Chopped onion – 1 medium
- Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
- Chopped tomato – 1 medium
- Chopped chilies – 1-2
- Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
- Red chili powder – ½ teaspoon
- Cumin powder – ½ teaspoon
- Garam masala – ½ teaspoon
- Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon
- Chopped coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- Pressure cook your sprouts for 1 to 2 whistles or cook it in a pan with water. It should be lightly mushy.
- Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat your pan. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds.
- Add the onion once the cumin seeds are cracking.
- Sauté will it turns light brown.
- Now add the ginger garlic paste. Stir till the aroma of garlic goes away.
- Add green chilies and chopped tomatoes. Sauté till the tomatoes have softened.
- Add dry masala – cumin powder, turmeric, red chili powder and coriander powder. Stir well.
- Include the mixed sprouts. Salt to taste.
- Cook for 10 minutes of low heat. Keep it covered.
- Add the coriander leaves after it is cooked.
Bowl meals are the latest craze. But it’s not just a passing fad without any scientific grounding. These meals are easy to prepare and can be delicious. Most importantly, the meals are good for health, provided you have added the right portion of the ingredients.
Get it right – the carbohydrates/starches, protein, and healthy fats and you will have a fulfilling meal that is good for your body. Even the physicians agree that bowl meals are good for health.
Disclaimer: All the images are representative and sourced from google images