Quick Meal Creation: Building a Bowl

  A grain or salad bowl can be a simple, easy, quick way to put together a satisfying meal.

A grain or salad bowl can be a simple, easy, quick way to put together a satisfying meal.

When you are working 60+ hours a week, a hot stove is sometimes the last thing you want to face when off the clock. Over the years I’ve developed a system that helps support busy creative people create quick meals at home or at work (if you have a fridge at work), based on a favorite childhood tradition: the ice cream sundae.

Remember those ice cream socials from when you were a kid? You knew exactly what you wanted, and played with different toppings, with a variety of colors and textures until you created the supreme sundae. Working with the same principle, build yourself a delicious, mouth-watering bowl of vegetables and quality protein. 

  • Cook grains ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze. Always have rice, quinoa, or another whole grain cooked and on hand. Reheat on the stovetop, covered with a bit of water, or if you must, use a microwave while at the office to reheat your grains. Quinoa is always lovely enjoyed cold, no reheating necessary!
  • Use BPA-free canned beans such as Eden Organics to add protein and nutritious fiber to your bowls.
  • Pick a day of the week to clean and pre-chop raw vegetables so all you have to do is “sprinkle” for the next six days. Most veggies will last a week in the fridge, but sometimes it helps to store them in a glass container with a folded piece of paper towel to absorb excess moisture. 
  • Have bit more time on Sunday? Roast some vegetables for variety. Learn how to roast veggies here. Some veggies cook faster, some take longer. Most cooked vegetables will keep in the fridge for the rest of the week.
  • Remember pineapple sauce? Well it’s not quite the same thing, but embrace probiotic condiments like kimchi, miso and pickles, which can add great sweet and sour flavor to your bowl. These also help promote a healthy gut.
  • Nuts belong on sundaes and healthy grain bowls, alike! Sprinkle on some nuts for a crunchy finish and great source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Always include a green. Pre-slice kale (it’ll hold up for a few days in the fridge), or use baby spinach, arugula, or lettuces.
  • Pick your “sundae sauce,” vary the big finish with dressings; use herbs, spices, mixed with an acidifying agent like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and a touch of healthy fat such as flax seed oil. Keep flax seed oil in the refrigerator at work, as well as at home and you’ll always have a healthy fat on hand for a tasty dressing base. Keep your favorite spices in a stackable screw-top mini-makeup tower so you can dress up your food with flavor while at work.

Building a Bowl

Bowl ingredients. To start, pick one or a mix of:

Grain Base:

 This bowl includes raw spinach, fermented carrots and daikon, raw sweet seaweed salad, and a pastured fried egg.

This bowl includes raw spinach, fermented carrots and daikon, raw sweet seaweed salad, and a pastured fried egg.

  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millett
  • Buckwheat
  • Red Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Or a blend

Protein Base:

  • Wild Salmon (canned or smoked)
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Organic Tofu (hot or cold)
  • Tempeh
  • Scrambled or Fried Egg
 Tip: Use a "chiffonade" cutting technique to slice your greens into ribbons. This makes them easier to eat. 

Tip: Use a "chiffonade" cutting technique to slice your greens into ribbons. This makes them easier to eat. 

Green Base:

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Dandelion (Cooked)
  • Beet Greens (Blanched)

Then Add Many Raw or Roasted Vegetables::

  • Shredded Carrot
  • Diced Radish
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Cubed Cooked Squash
  • Seaweed
  • Fresh Corn
  • Sliced Onion
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Previously Cooked Mushrooms
  • Avocado
 Get creative! Try different combinations and play with flavors.

Get creative! Try different combinations and play with flavors.

Add Spices and Nuts: 

  • Ground Garlic
  • Ground Ginger
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Herbamare (sea salt spice blend)
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almond Slices, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seed
  • Granulated Kelp
  • Ground Cardamom
  • Ground Cinnamon

Finishing Dressings:

  • Fat: Olive Oil, Flax Seed Oil, or Walnut Oil
  • Acid: Lemon or Lime Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, Mirin, Balsamic Vinegar

 Always Add Probiotic-Rich Foods:

  • Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Preserved Lemon, Pickle
  1.  Enjoy a 1/2-3/4 Cup Serving or a grain or bean, or a mix of the two.
  2. Always fill your bowl with greens, and mix into the grains/beans.
  3. Add other vegetables for more flavor and nutrients.
  4. Include one probiotic food.
  5. Finish with spices, a spritz of lemon, and a dollop of flaxseed oil or a nut oil (i.e. Walnut). Boom. Home-made lunch. Enjoy!

As always, thank you for reading! Hope you enjoy tapping into your inner child and building a delicious healthful bowl! 

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