We’re all familiar with quinoa and how good it is for you, but even we can tire of having every lunch feature The Grain of the Year. But good-for-you bowls can be prepared with a host of other ingredients that sing, like soba noodles, farro, and your standby vegetables. And they’re not just a super-easy way to fit in your daily vegetable quota: They're also so easy to prepare in advance using just about any ingredient you have on hand. Interested in tasting the trend firsthand? Here are 11 picture-perfect bowl recipes that will fill you up.
Not all bowls require a grain: You can use a noodle as the base instead. This recipe does just that with buckwheat soba noodles infused with soy and ginger. Toppings include julienned kale, toasted walnuts, and black sesame seeds, but this versatile dish can be filled with whatever veggie, nuts, herbs, and seeds you prefer.
Don’t have time to make brown rice? Use couscous instead. It takes just five minutes to make and works wonderfully in a bowl with lightly wilted kale, baked tofu, rich avocado, and snappy sunflower seeds.
One way you can tell that a bowl is going to be scrumptious is just by looking at it. If it has a bunch of vibrant colors like orange sweet potatoes, green broccolini, and bronze chickpeas, you know you’re in for a taste treat. Be warned: The spiced chickpeas are addictive, so you might want to make extra to snack on!
Curry lovers have got to try these coconut curry bowls that are jam-packed with rice noodles, broccoli florets, shredded carrots, chopped asparagus, and purple cabbage. To make the fragrant sauce, you’ll need to hit up the international aisle of the grocery store for red curry paste, coconut milk, sambal oelek, and fish sauce.
When you’re building your own bowl combinations, look to a certain country’s cuisine for inspiration. For example, this bowl is filled with traditional Greek flavors such as red bell peppers, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, and hummus. However, you could use quinoa as the base to make an Italian-inspired bowl with pesto, white cannelloni beans, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella cubes, and pesto. Or what about a French bowl with radishes, roasted pearl onions, endives, and a honey-Dijon vinaigrette?
The culinary possibilities are endless.
This colourful rainbow veggie bowl has a base of farro and lentils, topped off with burst-in-your-mouth cherry tomatoes, crunchy snap peas, and creamy avocado. Make sure you don’t skimp on the homemade jalapeño ranch! Every great bowl has some sort of flavourful sauce, and since this ranch is made with nonfat Greek yogurt and tons of fresh herbs, you can rest assured that it’s good for you.
Fried rice, the Chinese takeout favourite, is the OG of rice bowls. Start with cooked brown rice and baked crispy tofu. Sauté garlic, green onions, peas, and carrots; then add in the rice and tofu. Season with a tamari peanut sauce; garnish with crushed, salted roasted peanuts; and enjoy immediately.
Take a trip south of the border when you bite into this Mexican-inspired quinoa bowl. It’s a vegan salad that’s full of black beans, corn, avocado, cilantro, and segmented oranges. Serve with tortilla chips, guacamole, and a fiery michelada, and you’ve got a meal that’s impressive enough to serve friends at an impromptu weeknight dinner party.
These Vietnamese vermicelli bowls are to die for. While the noodles cook in less than three minutes, the protein (your choice of chicken, tofu, or shrimp) needs to be marinated in lemongrass Chinese-five spice mixture for at least 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours). We recommend prepping the night before.
A successful bowl has a balance of textures and flavours. You want a nice mix of crunch and creaminess as well as spice and sweetness. This bliss bowl has all of those things: It’s filled with cumin-scented roasted carrots and cauliflower, crisp homemade falafel, crunchy cabbage, spicy jalapeño, and a tahini-lemon-honey sauce. Delish!
What makes this quinoa bowl special? Answer: orange-sesame vinaigrette. If you want to bring the bowl to work for lunch, toss the quinoa with the kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and tart-sweet vinaigrette the night before. Then slice and add the avocado and goat cheese at the office just before eating.
Shop our favourite healthy cookbooks for more nutritious meal options.