How is it even possible that December is here? With the Holidays just around the corner, festive preparations are already in full swing, decorations have started to go up, and calendars have started to fill; the buzz of activity is all around us. Before we know it, we will all be indulging in seasonal treats and special holiday meals.
With all that in mind, I have been thinking a lot lately about how to put together a nutritious meal that requires very little cooking for those busy (and calorie-laden) days ahead. This is actually something less of a recipe and something more of an idea.
The concept of a healthy grain bowl is a great way to combine multiple flavors and textures with very little effort. A healthy bowl is all about assembling what you might already have on hand: cooked grains, fruit, some fresh and some cooked vegetables, a healthy protein and a great dressing to bring everything together–all in one bowl.
I developed this recipe for a favorite Greek organic extra virgin olive oil called Kosterina. As part of my collaboration with the company, I was asked to create and photograph a series of healthy recipes for busy people who care a lot about nutrition and are conscious about food choices. I am very excited about this new opportunity, because of the creativity it allows me with recipe development and also because food photography is a big part of this new venture!
How to assemble a healthy grain bowl
- 1. The Grains: when you cook grains during the week for other dishes, always cook some extra to use for your healthy bowls later in the week. Favorite grains that can be made ahead of time are: farro, barley, quinoa, couscous, wheat berries and brown rice. Even leftover sticky rice can go on your healthy bowl.
- 2. The Vegetables: go for raw leafy greens or cooked, seasonal vegetables. Kale, spinach, arugula, red or white cabbage, grated carrots, roasted broccoli or cauliflower, sautéed red peppers, and steamed sweet potatoes are all great options.
- 3. The Protein: sunny-side up eggs cooked in extra virgin olive oil, poached eggs, cooked salmon, left over roasted chicken, or, simply a chunk of good cheese are a few options to consider.
- 4. Fruit: choose some ripe seasonal fruit--some soft, some crunchy--for flavor and color interest. Sliced avocado is always a favorite for healthy bowls!
- 5. Toppings/Garnishes: add a few seeds, toasted nuts, fresh herbs, sliced radishes or pomegranate seeds, to give depth and character to your bowl.
- 6. Dressing: a great vinaigrette brings the whole dish together. Here is my simple Greek vinaigrette I use all the time:
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 TBSP. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
- 1 med. clove of garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Choose your favorite healthy bowl components and place them in a bowl.
- Make the simple Greek vinaigrette.
- Drizzle everything with the dressing and enjoy!
You might also like a previous recipe on my blog about putting together a healthy salad bowl:
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