The whole idea of a one bowl meal is nothing new, but recent trends have seen "bowl food" elevated beyond mere convenience and nutrition. Bowl food can be endlessly varied and the presentation awe inspiring. It's also easy to make bowl foods highly nutritious by using a balance of grains, pulses and vegetables. A rainbow of colours makes bowl food feast a feast for eyes and, as is often the case, the fun is in the toppings.
We've taken ideas from around the world to create these three bowl food recipes that are all at once healthy, delicious, and undeniably beautiful. All are vegan and work well cold so a great option for packed lunches. They take a bit of time to prepare so it's worth making the components in bulk for yummy leftovers for days to come.
Hawaiian Poke is the newest addition to the London ‘street food’ food culture. It ticks all the boxes for healthy, nutritious, quick and instantly instagrammable. Poke is a Hawaiian traditional native dish served in a bowl, made with hot white rice topped with raw fish, but is easily adapted to plant-based.
I had my first poke bowl off Carnaby Street and loved the zingy flavours and the contrast of hot rice and cold ceviche style vegetables with lots of toppings to choose from. We've gone for roasted vegetables with a pineapple yuzu salsa.
Recipe: Hawaiian Poke Bowl
Why are they called Buddha Bowls? Traditionally in Japanese culture there is a meditative form of eating called Oryoki. One eats from special bowls, an Oryoki set, consisting of three nested bowls called Jihatsu. The largest is referred to as the Buddha Bowl, or Zuhatsu, and symbolizes the Buddhas head and his wisdom.
Buddhist monks go out everyday at dawn with a Buddha bowl to collect food from the locals. Whatever they can spare would be put in the bowl as a donation, often rice and vegetables.
Our Japanese bowl is inspired from the Okinawa diet, which is a very healthy diet from the Japanese Okinawa islands where there is one of the highest density of people over 100 in the world. Their diet is based on sushi rice, purple vegetables, tofu, miso, seaweed and pickles.
Recipe: Japanese Buddha Bowl
Mexican food is perfect for one bowl meals! Our Mexican bowl includes a mix of quinoa and black beans for that ultra nutritious complete protein hit. Quinoa (pronounced ‘keenwa’) is a tiny golden seed from South America grown in the Andes. It has a higher protein content than rice. It’s gluten-free and is also rich in minerals, including calcium. Quinoa has a high amino-acid profile giving it a protein quality very like that of milk, hence it’s a valuable cereal for vegans. It's also got a fantastic texture that works beautiful alongside beans and salsa.
Recipe: Mexican Bowl
Find more vegan bowl food inspiration from Rachel in the May 2018 issue of Vegetarian Living.
Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.
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