Soup, breakfast cereal, chili, or the occasional risotto have always been eaten out of a bowl. And yes, ice cream is best in a big bowl. But today, bowls have suddenly become fashionable for all sorts of foods—smoothie bowls, Buddha or “wellness” bowls, raw fish poke bowls, or artfully layered burrito bowls.
On food blogs and Instagram, the “meal in a bowl” idea has suddenly become a part of our culinary vocabulary.
There’s something satisfying and healthful about eating food from a bowl, and restaurants have come to realize that bowls are great for more than cereal and soup. They look beautiful and allow customers to choose exactly what they want in each bite. Fast-casual restaurants around Miami like Della Bowls, Ono Poke Shop, Pincho Factory, and Chipotle are serving up quinoa, hummus, acai, and burrito bowls.
Unlike plated food, which requires cutting, bowl food can be eaten one-handed, leaving the other hand free to hold a glass of wine. According to USA Today, even Prince Harry and Megan Markle chose to serve “bowl food” to their 600 wedding reception guests. We shouldn’t be surprised because for much of the rest of the world eating out of a bowl is quite normal, whether it’s Japanese ramen, Vietnamese Pho or Italian pasta.
The growing popularity of bowl food coincides with a focus on healthy eating. Typically, grains, greens, vegetables, and protein are arranged in layers and finished with a sauce or a poached egg — bringing a variety of flavors and textures together in one bowl. These bowls are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Dozens of bowl dishes can be created at home and adapted to your own tastes. For instance, try a bowl of roasted beets and feta with vinaigrette, apple, walnuts and kale; grilled chicken, wild rice, shredded kale, jicama, raisins, almonds, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette; or whole grains like quinoa or faro, with Swiss chard, roasted mushrooms, red onion, roasted tofu, sunflower seeds and miso sesame ginger dressing. For breakfast, try a smoothie poured into a bowl and topped with bananas, granola and a drizzle of honey.
Adapted from Siriously Delicious by Siri Daly, Time Inc. Books ($26.99).
A dry but aromatic Italian white like Barone Fini Pinot Grigio 2016 ($12) with notes of apples, citrus, and flowers matches well with the flavors in this big dinner bowl.
Daly writes, “Buddha Bowls, also known as Hippie Bowls, are hearty vessels made up of raw and roasted veggies, usually dark, leafy greens, and beans or rice. In this recipe, sweet potato, broccolini, and kale are roasted together for a textural and flavorful base and then added to your favorite cooked rice. Avocado lends the perfect creaminess, and the seasoned and sautéed garbanzo beans balance out the bowl with a slight crunch.”
2 cups diced peeled sweet potato (from 2 medium potatoes)
1 bunch Broccolini, stems removed
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and outer skins removed
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups cooked wild rice or brown rice
1 medium-sized ripe avocado, halved and sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
Hot sauce (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the sweet potatoes and Broccolini on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of the salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir in the kale, and roast until lightly browned and the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove and cover with aluminum foil; set aside.
Meanwhile, toss together the chickpeas, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium. Add the chickpea mixture, and cook, stirring often, until the chickpeas have a nice crunch, 10 to 15 minutes.
Divide the rice between 2 bowls. Top evenly with the roasted veggies, chickpea mixture, and avocado. Drizzle each serving with about 1 teaspoon olive oil, and if desired, hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings