How to Build a ‘Meal-in-a-Bowl’


One-bowl meals are a great way to use up leftovers and clean out your fridge. It can make an otherwise plain ingredient (such as chopped vegetables) taste good by combining it with other foods and sauces.

I put together this particular combination by chance because many of these were leftovers from the past week. Although I was somewhat sceptical about whether these ingredients would actually taste good together, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out.

Pictured in my bowl is:

One of the best things about this meal is the flexibility and ease with which you can substitute different ingredients to play around with different flavours and textures. It’s essentially a ‘no-recipe’ recipe. There’s really no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to make it!

To make your own meal-in-a-bowl a complete meal, include grains, protein, and lots of veggies (at least half your bowl). 

Here’s how you can build your own meal-in-a-bowl:

Step 1: Vegetables

Choose 1-3 of these:

  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale)
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Grated carrots and beets
  • Peppers
  • Roasted vegetables (zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash)
  • Leftover salad

Step 2: Grains

Choose 1-2 of these:

  • Brown or wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Millet

Step 3: Protein

Choose 1-2 of these:

  • Beans, lentils
  • Fried/boiled/poached egg
  • Baked/fried tofu
  • Leftover chicken, turkey (lean meats)
  • Crushed nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts)

Step 4: Sauce

Choose 1 of these:

  • Tahini dressing
  • Vinaigrette
  • Pesto sauce
  • Salsa and Guacamole for a’Mexi bowl’ (basically a deconstructed taco!)

Optional: Herbs

  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
Here are some one-bowl meal ideas to get you started:

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Bowl with Kale Pesto

Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

Summer Glow Buddha Bowl

Have you ever made a meal-in-a-bowl? What do you like to add in yours? 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I love these kind of meals because there’s so much variety in one bowl and the flavors together are always so unique!


    1. Naomi says:

      Yes, exactly why I love them!


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