If there’s one edible trend we believe isn’t going anywhere, it’s bowl food. Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson dedicated a whole chapter to her love of the one-dish meal in Simply Nigella, while Jarry Mag‘s editorial director, Lukas Volger, wrote an entire book on the topic, aptly titled Bowl.
Essentially, bowl food is a simple yet satisfying way to get something on the table without spending too much time in the kitchen. It’s cozy and comforting — all the things that make food, and the act of eating, so special. There’s also a casual appeal to it that’s undeniable — whether you’re slurping up a bowl of ramen noodles in front of the television, or entertaining a small group of friends.
We’ve put together a list of tips for creating the ultimate bowl food at home, with zero fuss. Simply follow a few straightforward steps, and you’ll have a well-balanced bowl with great textures, harmonious flavours and a perfect appearance in no time.
Choose your base
Whether it’s a grain or broth, there are seemingly endless options for how you can begin to build your perfect glory bowl. Craving a rich, hearty bowl of noodles? Start by exploring options for your broth — be it something homemade or straight from the can. When it comes to what you’ll be slurping on, the choice is yours. Soba, rice noodles and udon all make for great stand-by options, so feel free to explore your local markets and get creative.
Grains such as couscous, buckwheat groats and quinoa are all great options as a base, and go well with most toppings, but you can always keep things simple with a common pantry staple like rice, farro, or even oats (in case you didn’t hear, savoury oats are currently all the rage). Alternatively, nutrient-dense legumes and beans such as lentils and chickpeas are also welcome to the party — so where ever you’d like to start is really up to you.
Prep your toppings
We’ve always been partial to a really good salad bar (you know the kind that costs like $15 for something you could have made at home for half the price?), but as we’ve learned over time, there’s no reason why you can’t make it yourself. Prepping the veggies you use frequently can be a great way to prepare quicker, more efficient meals.
Fixings like hard or soft-boiled eggs can be prepared well ahead of time, as can fresh toppings like sliced carrot, radish and other crispy vegetables — we like to keep these on hand in the refrigerator, soaking in a Tupperware full of cold water to keep them fresh.
You can also mix raw and cooked veggies together to create a perfectly balanced consistency. No matter what you choose to throw into your bowl, the trick is really picking toppings with different textures, colours and flavours to help everything come together.
Add some protein + fat
Making your bowl well-balanced is what will leave you feeling satisfied, so adding a lean, clean protein such as organic eggs, chicken or tuna is always a great idea.
If you’re leaning towards a plant-based dish, consider an easy add like tofu, tempeh or another hearty legume that you enjoy. Avocado and nuts are two great healthy-fat options, as is Greek yogurt or crumbly feta cheese. We try not to worry that much about ratios here, but if you keep the majority of your bowl full of veggies, you should be fine.