The BOWL - Why Everyone Seems to Be Eating Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner out of a Bowl



Bowls, once known best for holding a nourishing breakfast, are expanding on that theme and branching out to claim lunch and dinner too! And they’re making a savory appearance on restaurant menus not only across the nation but across the globe too! You’ll find them as grain bowls, macro bowls, veggie bowls, poke (sushi-style) bowls, buddah bowls and more. A flurry of Bowl cookbooks has hit the shelves solidifying the ‘bowl’ as a top trend in 2016!

At Crisp Kitchen & Juice, we're not all about trends but rather delicious combinations and we've created an entire good-for-you grab-and-go menu around our own bowl concept. Customers love the creative combinations and the convenience of a whole meal in one bowl. It’s how we eat at our home in the Napa Valley most often.

Some say that portion control is behind the bowl’s current popularity, or that it’s simply a great way to get your protein, grains, and veggies, in perfect proportions. Others say that this is just the healthy, casual way more Americans want to be eating right now. It’s also an amazing way for last night’s leftovers to make s stunning reappearance as tomorrow’s lunch! And think about the pure feel of a bowl in your hands. There’s something really comforting about the serving vessel. It’s equally comforting to have the whole meal in front of you.

Each bowl is a combination of grains/pseudo grains - like our Quinoa Tabbouleh - , vegetables, beans or fish, and fermented foods. We love plenty of veggies and greens but chicken or other ‘land protein’ is an obvious add on if you desire. Our tastiest bowls are always based on what’s available seasonally and our creativity is loosely lead by what we know about seasonal taste preferences from an Ayervedic perspective. We toss in fresh fruit for variety or a quick red onion pickle for added flavor. We top it all off with a drizzle and crunch. Let your imagination take you on the bowl journey!

So…how can you build a bowl? It’s key to pay close attention to SEASONALITY and think VARIETY both for the taste buds and for the eyes! While there’s no “correct” breakdown for the perfect bowl -- and once you’ve made one or two you’ll see how your imagination goes wild with possibilities -- here are a few suggestions to get you started. 

Start with a base of LEAFY GREENS – kale, spinach, swiss chard, shredded Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, collard greens, arugula, bok choy, pea shoots, etc. And we’ll often toss in fresh herbs as well.

 

 

Add unlimited raw, roasted, steamed or grilled VEGGIES – cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, english peas, snap peas, asparagus, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, etc. Consider SEA VEGETABLES too – an important and often overlooked source of valuable nutrients and trace minerals - nori, hiziki, a wild Maine kelp, and dulse, etc.


Toss in a GRAIN and/or STARCH – Faro, buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, millet, soba noodles, winter squash, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, etc. And if grain is not your preference, have you tried the latest phenomenon, cauliflower ‘rice’? It’s a great substitute with the texture of grain.



Include healthy PROTEIN – lentils, chickpeas, black beans, tofu, edamame, 8-minute eggs, baked falafel, collard wrap, etc. And small portions from the fish, fowl and meat categories all work depending on your preferences.


And a FERMENTED FOOD - like sauerkraut or naturally fermented pickles – choose those over brined pickles if given the option since foods like these are wonderfully pungent, probiotic powerhouses that boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract.

 

Top it off with DRIZZLE or DRESSING – ginger tahini, pesto, coconut oil, hummus, lemon & olive oil, avocado goddess, cashew caesar, etc. And add a section of fresh avocado for it’s vitamin A and healthy fats too!

Sprinkle with CRUNCH – so satisfying as we weave our way through all the textures contained in the bowl! More protein and healthy fats too!– pumpkin crunch, hemp seeds, seeded mix, nuts, sunflower seeds, savory granola, etc.


OPTION
- In the fall or winter, we might develop a bowl around the concept that we’ll be adding a warm broth to the combination. It’s a way to make an almost instant stew-like bowl or a brothy noodle bowl.

 Bowls have been around for generations so needless to say the 'trend' is here to stay!  And we are delighted of course! Try one of our creative CRISP combinations or create one of your own.  Soon we bet you'll be eating more of your daily meals out of a bowl!

 


Annette Shafer
Annette Shafer

Author