Bowl ‘Em Over

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Healthy ‘all-in-one’ grain bowls serve up fun meals full of flavor

Grain bowls seem to be everywhere: on menus, in magazines and even in standup comedy routines. They are fashionable for a reason. In our fast-paced society, this is a great way to pack a healthy meal in one bowl. Whole grains give you satisfaction without the negatives of conventional fast food. Get on the grain train!

Quinoa and Watercress Bowl

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • ½ cups quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • ¼ cup commercially prepared Lemon
  • Tahini Dressing (or see recipe below)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 radish, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup guacamole, for garnish
Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions:
  1. Place the quinoa, salt and 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 8 minutes or until the liquid is completely absorbed. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside to cool at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the red bell peppers, watercress, black beans, corn, dressing and black pepper. When the quinoa has cooled, add to the mixture, stirring gently. Divide among serving plates, and garnish with the radishes, pumpkins seeds and guacamole.
Lemon Tahini Dressing
  1. Place the water, tahini, oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender; blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Smoked Sausage Quinoa Bowl

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Sliced green onion tops for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and saute 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute 1 minute. Add 3 cups of water, quinoa, spaghetti sauce, sausage, thyme and salt. Stir well and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 35–40 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs, and serve warm with a garnish of green onions.

Riced Cauliflower

Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Yield: 3 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 head cauliflower, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 12 button or oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • ¼ cup chopped green olives
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Roughly chop the cauliflower and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower resembles grains of rice. Set aside.
  2. Place the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and saute 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, artichokes and bell pepper and saute 2 minutes longer. Add 3 cups of water along with the cauliflower. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the tomatoes, peas, olives, salt, saffron and pepper. Simmer 5–7 minutes. Serve warm with a garnish of fresh herbs.
Notes:
  1. NOTE: Roughly chopped grilled chicken or pork can be added, if desired.

Hoisin Turkey Bowl

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 (6.5-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 cups cooked chopped turkey
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the green onions, garlic and ginger. Cook 1 minute and stir in the water chestnuts, turkey and hoisin sauce. Cook another minute and add the rice, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute longer and stir in the sunflower seeds. Spoon into warm bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve warm.
Notes:
  1. NOTE: Hoisin sauce is a wonderfully sweet, thick condiment made from fermented soybeans. Look for it in Asian markets or the international section of your supermarket.

Tuna Couscous Bowl with Capers

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1¼ cups couscous
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked beans (use white or black, and if canned, drain and rinse)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
Instructions:
  1. Bring 1¾ cups of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar and orange juice. Slowly add the oil and whisk until well blended. Stir in the garlic, salt, cayenne and pepper. Set aside.
  3. When the couscous has cooled to room temperature (about 30 minutes), add to a serving bowl along with the beans, tuna, tomatoes, parsley and capers. Stir well and add the dressings. Toss well and serve at room temperature.

Brown Rice and Shrimp with Cilantro

Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • Riced Cauliflower
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • ½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • Hot sauce if desired
Instructions:
  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Meanwhile, place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the carrots and shallots. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shrimp. Cook about 3 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque. Drizzle with the lime juice and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Divide the rice between two individual serving bowls and top evenly with the shrimp mixture, drizzling any pan juices over the top. Garnish each with half the cilantro and pine nuts. Serve immediately with hot sauce, if desired.

Fall Vegetable Barley Bowl with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 small avocado, seeded and sliced
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Add the squash, carrots and beets in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with the salt, turmeric and black and white pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the barley and add to a saucepan along with the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, divide the barley between two serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and drizzle evenly with the remaining oil. Add the avocado slices on top and garnish with the pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.
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About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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