The insanely simple and healthy way to put dinner on the table

Bowls. Think bowls.

I am always on the search for insanely healthy and ridiculously simple ways to put dinner on the table. That’s because I get stressed trying to come up with something new every night.

So I came across the bowl method. It definitely passes my test for ridiculously simple and healthy cooking. Here’s all you need, every night:

Bowl

Grain

Veggies

Protein

Sauce

Miscellaneous goodies for added excitement

Done.

The only cooking tools you’ll need are also insanely simple: wooden spoon, knife, frying pan and sauce pan.

I found a great book that massively simplifies this idea. It’s titled Grain Bowls, by Anna Shillinglaw Hampton. Even the layout is super simple – each page shows you the finished bowl, plus a super simple recipe.

I’m loving this! Minimal and healthy cooking at its finest!

Here are a few samples:

 

Red Quinoa Ratatouille

Time: 15 minutes

Serves 2

9 oz cooked red quinoa (4 oz uncooked)

7 oz eggplant, chargrilled and chopped

4 oz zucchini, chargrilled and chopped

5 oz Cherry Tomato topping

1 oz feta, crumbled

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Divide the quinoa, eggplant and zucchini evenly between 2 bowls. Top with Cherry Tomato Topping and feta. Season.

Cherry Tomato topping:

9 ½ oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

5 fl oz olive oil

½ red onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 garlic clove, very finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Gently toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl or jar. Store in air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Avocado Chicken Bowl

Time: 15 minutes

Serves 2

7 oz cooked quinoa (3/12 oz uncooked)

7 oz rotisserie chicken, shredded

2 small hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced

3-4 tablespoons Buttermilk Herb Dressing

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 oz blue cheese, crumbled

4 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled (optional)

Divide the quinoa, chicken, eggs and avocado evenly between 2 bowls. Drizzle with the dressing and season. top with blue cheese and crumbled bacon.

Buttermilk Herb Dressing

4 fl oz buttermilk

2 tablespoons sour cream or creme fraiche

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 garlic clove, grated

2 teaspoons fresh herbs (such as chives or flat-leaf parsley) chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic and herbs together in a bowl or jar until smooth. Season to taste.

 

Prawns & Sugar Snap Peas

Time: 15 minutes

Serves 2

3 ½ oz white cabbage, shredded

3-4 tablespoons Soy Dressing

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

9 oz cooked buckwheat (3 oz uncooked)

7 oz cooked prawns

3 ½ oz sugar snap peas, sliced and sauteed

2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped (If you’re allergic to peanuts, substitute another nut.) 

Toss the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and a pinch of salt to marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients. In another bowl, toss the buckwheat with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Divide the mixture evenly between 2 bowls. Top with the prawns, sugar snap peas and the remaining dressing. Season with the chopped peanuts.

Soy dressing

4 oz dark soy sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 red chilies, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, grated

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Chicken Curry

Time: 45 minutes

Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 oz raw chicken breast, diced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons curry powder

3 oz uncooked brown rice

10 fl oz coconut milk

2 oz baby spinach

Small handful of cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the chicken for 8 minutes until lightly browned. Season with salt, pepper and the curry powder. Move the chicken to the side of the pan. Add the rice and cook until toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Add 20 fl oz of water to bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the rice is tender. Add the coconut milk and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Divide the mixture between 2 bowls, season and garnish with cilantro.

My note: This recipe takes 45 minutes, so if you want to super simplify it, cook a batch of brown rice ahead and store in fridge to be ready when you want it. You can also pre-cook the chicken, or even buy pre-cooked, frozen slices of chicken. Then this recipe will take all of 5-15 minutes.
This is the book, Grain Bowls, by Anna Shillinglaw Hampton, which you can order here. In a nutshell, here’s how to build the perfect grain bowl: 1. Choose a grain. 2. Cook grains. 3. Add raw and/ or cooked vegetables. 4. Add extra protein to make it a meal. 5. Add a fresh and interesting dressing. 6. Finish with quick upgrades like nuts, herbs, ready-made sauces.

3 comments

  1. Great recipes!

    I was just thinking the other day how much easier dinner is to prepare when it’s in a bowl. Less clean up too.

    With working a full-time job and 2 small kids, quick and easy dinners are a must around here.

    Janet, so glad I stumbled upon your blog from Google.

  2. This blog inspired me to purchase this book. This idea is so simple but so effective. It helps keep meals interesting but nice and easy. Thanks Janet!

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