The bowl is a cold dish served in a bowl and composed of a mix of different ingredients: cereals, legumes, fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, enriched with seeds, sauces and spices . A solution very popular in restaurants, loved by food bloggers but also ideal to prepare at home to vary your diet, even on a diet.
It is a perfect single dish, filling and balanced , particularly appreciated for its nutritional completeness by those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet , but also excellent for omnivores . Remember a cereal salad, but with one difference: the ingredients are not mixed together but arranged separately on the plate.
But it is a tasty alternative to try also for breakfast, in the form of a smoothie bowl . It also has the advantage of being convenient to carry , so it’s great for a nutritious meal, in the office or wherever you want.
Bowl: what it is, origins and variations
The bowls are known with many different names , each of which focuses on one of the peculiar characteristics of these “recipes in the bowl”:
- ” Power bowl “, because it is a very substantial, energizing and nutritious dish
- ” Grain bowl “, for the richness of cereals that distinguishes it
- ” Rainbow bowl “, because the mix of ingredients that make it up makes the bowl colorful, like a rainbow
- ” Healthy bowl “, because it is a nutritionally well balanced dish, therefore very healthy.
There are also many variations , different in origin and composition : from the Middle Eastern-inspired Buddha bowl , usually vegetarian or vegan, to Pokè bowl , a Hawaiian appetizer with raw fish, to the Smoothie bowl , a smoothie with yogurt and fruit, not to drink but to eat with a spoon.
Let’s see them in more detail.
The Buddha bowl is probably the most famous. It is a typical dish of Middle Eastern cuisine , but for some years very trendy also in the West, mostly vegetarian or vegan . The origin of the name is uncertain, but it could be linked to the fact that the bowl in which It is served is reminiscent of the wide and round belly of a Buddha. According to another interpretation, it would derive from an anecdote, present in one of his stories, according to which the Buddha had the habit, in visits to villages, to bring with him a bowl for food, to be filled with type food vegetarian.
The Pokè bowl is a typical dish of Hawaiian cuisine based on raw fish , served as an appetizer or as a main course . The term “pokè” indicates the dicing of fish , generally tuna, but also octopus and salmon, which is marinated in sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and chives. The dish was born from the snack of the fishermen of the Pacific Ocean, who ended the fishing and cut the leftover fish into small pieces, shared it with sea salt and seaweed and ate it with rice.
Fish are generally combined with cereals , such as rice, avocado , legumes ( Edamame soy beans are widely used ), raw vegetables (cucumbers, radishes), algae such as Wakame and sometimes fruit : mango is the most frequently used, but there are variations of the Poké bowl also with watermelon. Sauces such as yuzu, sesame sauce and teriyaki complete the set .
The Smoothie bowl is a thick smoothie, based on fruit, yogurt and cereals , which you can enrich with seeds, dried fruit and honey. The superb idea for a breakfast tasty, authentic and nutritious, ideal to start the day with something extra.
The ingredients to prepare a bowl
The possible combinations are many, but generally this dish includes a mix of these ingredients:
- cereals or pseudocereals, source of carbohydrates : you can range from rice to quinoa, from barley to buckwheat, from potatoes to spelled, preferably alternating refined and whole grains. If you are celiac, choose gluten-free cereals and pseudo-cereals: in addition to rice and quinoa, amaranth, millet, corn, buckwheat are also perfect.
- Vegetable or animal proteins: among the vegetable proteins, you can insert legumes in your bowl , also in the form of hummus or meatballs, tofu or tempeh , while among the animal protein sources you can focus on fish, meat, eggs, cheeses . Choose the most suitable protein sources depending on whether you want to make a vegetarian, vegan or omnivorous bowl.
- Vegetables or fruit : you can range between all the vegetables and fruit you want, cooked or raw, even by combining them together . The advice is always to prefer those in season , which ensure the maximum concentration of nutrients.
- Good quality vegetable fats : the bowl always includes a share of fats, in particular omega 3 polyunsaturated fats, which are rich in nuts and nuts, oil seeds and fruits such as avocado , but also fish , if you choose it as a protein source.
- Seasonings and sauces : you can season the bowl with extra virgin olive oil , the healthiest seasoning, rich in antioxidants, but also with other vegetable oils such as corn, rice, soy or sesame . Or you can use a dressing such as an oil, garlic and lemon juice vinaigrette or sauces , such as tahine or tzatziki.
- Sprouts : this dish can also be enriched with sprouts, rich in active enzymes that are very beneficial for health, for example soybeans, alpha-alpha (alfalfa), leek or broccoli.
- Spices and aromatic herbs : flavor the whole with the spices you prefer, from curry to turmeric with ginger, or with aromatic herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil, oregano.
How to compose the bowl
There is no strict rule, but indicatively your bowl must contain the different ingredients in these proportions :
- 25% carbohydrates
- 15% protein
- 35% vegetables
- 10% of seasonings
- 15% of dried fruit, seeds and / or sprouts.
The nutritional properties
The bowl represents a complete and nutritionally balanced single dish , which brings many beneficial substances for your health.
- cereals ensure you the right amount of carbohydrates , the basic nutrient of the Mediterranean diet and the main fuel for your daily activities.
- Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber , beneficial for intestinal regularity and for promoting satiety, antioxidants , which help you protect yourself from the harmful effects of free radicals, the cause of aging and cellular degeneration, vitamins and minerals .
- Legumes, fish, meat, eggs, yogurt and cheeses enrich the bowl with a share of proteins , but also of vitamins and minerals and, in the case of fish, of “good” omega 3 fats with anti-inflammatory action, beneficial for the health of the heart.
- Seeds, dried fruit, avocado, extra virgin olive oil complete the dish with good quality fats such as oleic and linoleic acid , allies against cholesterol, but also mineral salts such as magnesium and vitamins like E, with antioxidant action.
How to insert the bowl in your diet, even on a diet
The bowl is perfect for varying your diet and ideal for dieting, from breakfast to dinner.
As a single dish, for lunch or dinner
The bowl is a complete single dish that helps you manage your meals more easily, because it guarantees you all the nutrients you need with a single recipe , without the need to prepare first, second and side dishes. A nice saving of time and energy.
In addition, it is very convenient to carry, so it is ideal to take with you to the office for a nourishing, filling and genuine lunch break . The variety of ingredients and the many combinations with which you can combine them make your meal very tasty and never monotonous .
The extra idea to make it even more practical and quick to prepare
Cook the ingredients that require cooking in advance , prepare the preparations such as homemade sauces and hummus and keep them in the refrigerator, so that they are ready to make the bowl. For example, you can take advantage of the weekend to cook cereals, vegetables and legumes, or to prepare a hummus or falafel to insert in it. At lunch time, you will only need to dose each ingredient, transfer it to the bowl and season it to your liking . With this organization,It becomes a perfect ally to manage your meals in an even more practical and faster way.
The bowl for breakfast
lt is an excellent idea for an alternative, filling and energetic breakfast . You can prepare your smoothie in a bowl with low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt , add the fruit you love most , preferably in season, and complete with cereals : puffed rice, cornflakes, oat flakes, or muesli or granola, again more nutritious because enriched with dried fruit and raisins. Add, if you want, also seeds, like those of Chia , or berries, like those of Goji . If you are intolerant to milk , you can prepare the Smoothie bowl with a vegetable drink , such as almond, soy or oat.
4 good reasons to bring a bowl to the table
- It is a complete single dish, filling and nutritionally balanced.
- With its mix of ingredients and the many possible combinations it helps you eat in a varied and never monotonous way.
- It is quick and easy to prepare.
- It is practical to carry, so excellent for your lunch break in the office.
Two recipes to try
Buddha bowl with quinoa, chickpea hummus, aubergines and roasted zucchini
Total calories: 1064 kcal / Calories per person: 532 kcal
Ingredients for 2 people:
- 100 g of quinoa
- 2 long eggplants
- 4 courgettes
- 1 and a half clove of garlic
- 3 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
- fresh parsley to taste
- mint to taste
- Salt to taste
- pepper as needed
- 250 g of boiled chickpeas
- 1/2 lemon juice
- a piece of garlic
- 2 teaspoons tahina
- Salt to taste
- paprika to taste
- parsley to taste
Turn on the oven at 200 °. Wash the courgettes and cut into slices, cut the aubergines in half, lengthwise, then cut them into horizontal and vertical cuts.
Peel and finely chop half a clove of garlic. Sprinkle the aubergines with a spoonful of oil, chopped parsley, salt, pepper and chopped garlic. Crush the other garlic and add it to the courgettes, sprinkle them with a spoonful of oil, salt, mint.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown.
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the quinoa: wash it thoroughly under cold water with the help of a narrow-mesh strainer, so as to eliminate the saponin. Cook it following the instructions on the package, once cooked shell it with the prongs of a fork. Season it with the remaining oil and a chopped parsley.
Prepare the hummus: blend the boiled chickpeas in a blender, a pinch of salt, a piece of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, a few tablespoons of chickpea cooking water kept aside, the tahina, until you get a cream homogeneous.
Form the buddha bowl by placing quinoa, aubergines, courgettes and hummus , serve immediately.
Smoothie bowl with Greek yogurt and fruit
Total calories: 370 kcal / Calories per person: 185 kcal
Ingredients for 2 people:
- 300 g of Greek yogurt 0%
- 1/2 banana
- 60 g of raspberries
- 10 g of oats
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 1/2 apple
- 1 kiwi
Peel the banana and cut it into pieces, wash the raspberries and dry them gently.
Place the Greek yogurt, honey, banana and half of the raspberries in a blender, blend until smooth and homogeneous, lump-free.
Pour the smoothie into the bowls, complete with slices of kiwi, apple, the remaining raspberries and oats.