A Rice Bowl is a great way to create a fast, nourishing, and complete meal for any time of day. It is ideal for lunch, especially if you take a lunch to work or need a lunch on the go, but it’s also great for quick dinners, and even breakfasts.
There are many types of health bowls you can make for various meals. A rice bowl is just one of these options. You’ll need a few ingredients to get going on making your own healthy rice bowls, and you don’t need to always make the same combinations. Use different spices, vegetables, and meats to make different flavors of rice bowls to fit with your mood, goals, or just the flavors you want that day.
The foundation, and bulk, of your bowl will be a grain or carb heavy item. For this bowl, we’re focusing on rice. There’s a lot of different rice that you can use, a lot of rice bowls call for short grain rice. This works if this is the rice you enjoy. I personally like a long grain rice, as it cooks drier and leaves space for mixing without clumping together or getting sticky. Wild rice and colored rice blends are also a great option for making bowls, you get extra antioxidants with colored rice, and different flavors too. The extra long-grain, black wild rice has a very distinct nutty flavor and is awesome on it’s own if you can get it. Otherwise, when it’s part of shorter grained rice blends it doesn’t seem to cook as well, and can be less pleasant.
The second layer of your bowl is your healthy and flavorful veggies. You can use crisp salad greens, cooked veggies, or frozen and cooked veggies. At home I enjoy cooked bok choi and Chinese cabbage as part of my rice bowl, either fresh and crisp, or just lightly cooked. If I’m using my bowl as a travel lunch, I prefer corn, peas, or broccoli so it’s easier to re-heat. For a salad portion with the bowl, a nice crisp mixed chopped salad, a kale blend or crisp lettuce blend is also nice if you want the pairing of cold veggies with hot rice.
The third layer is your protein source. I like sliced beef or chicken breast when I’m at home. For traveling, I’ll use a small can of salmon or chicken, or cold chicken breast, if the bowl will be served chilled. If you prefer a vegetarian or meatless bowl, you can use garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, black beans, or edamame beans as part of the dish. You can also use tofu, prepared how you prefer.
Lastly the flavorings, I use spices alongside olive oil and a bit of soy sauce when making a rice bowl. You may prefer a vinaigrette type salad dressing, or something similar. Use your preferred flavors for the vegetables and meats you are using. Rice is very forgiving. My granddaughter gets a rice bowl that is rice with butter, sliced hot dog with ketchup, and lettuce with Caesar salad dressing.
I like using a long grained, dry cooked, rice for rice bowls. Simply chose your favorite long grained rice, I like Basmati rice, and cook it at the ratio of one cup rice to two cups water. Keep at a medium heat once it starts boiling, and then reduce heat to low. Keep on low until rice is cooked and all water is absorbed. Make sure the rice doesn’t scorch.
If you want a chewy long grain rice, take the pot off the heat when it begins to boil and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. You’ll end up with a more gelled, and less dry, rice.
Asian Style Rice Bowl Recipe:
- 1 cup cooked rice, long grain white rice or brown rice is my favorite
- 1-2 cups broccoli cauliflower mix, cooked
- 1 chicken breast, chopped
- 1 tablespoon peanuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon green onions, chopped
- To taste: sesame seed oil, soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic
There are two assembly methods for this. You can put the larger ingredients next to each other, then add toppings and sauce for presentation. Or, you can layer the ingredients. With my granddaughter, it’s easier to have ingredients next to each other, rather than layering, while most of the other adults prefer a layered presentation.
With layering, start with the rice in the bottom of the bowl, Add your vegetables, in this case broccoli cauliflower mix. You can also use chopped and steamed or fried bok choi, sui choi, or tatsoi if you like. A few slices of fresh diakon radish also go well and add some nice crunch.
Top the veggie and rice layers with your sliced protein. I’ve used chicken, but you can also substitute tofu if desired.
Sprinkle chopped peanuts, or nut of choice, over the top. Add your chopped green onions.
Then, in a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon or so of the sesame oil with a few splashes of soy sauce, some grated ginger and some minced garlic. Mix and pour over the bowl. Alternatively, just pour and sprinkle each ingredient into your bowl, but I like making it as a sauce to make sure flavors are more blended.
Serve your rice bowl hot. This specific bowl tastes equally good cold, or reheated, so you can make multiple bowls for dinner and also assemble some cold lunches at the same time.
Make Your Own Rice Bowl:
There are tons of variations on rice bowls available, and you can make your own variation just based off of whatever vegetables or leftovers you have on hand or need to use up. Instead of broccoli and asian greens, you can use carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, snap peas, onion, and more for the vegetables. For spices, you can bring in the red pepper flakes, cumin, kimchi, pineapple, mango, honey, basil, sesame seeds, and more for flavor and variation. Lastly, for the base you can use quinoa, sweet potato, couscous, and other variations to make your own unique bowl. If desired, you could even sub in cauliflower rice.
You may have favorite rice bowl recipes, or just wing it. I like the winging it side of things, especially using leftovers for the next day lunch or dinner prep.
Back to You:
What are your favorite delicious bowl recipes? The burrito bowl variation is a fun one, as is cilantro lime rice. Most rice based bowls can be made gluten-free, and it’s easy to tweak the bowl construction to your dietary restrictions and needs.
What do you think? Leave a comment!