Bowls aren’t just for soup anymore, but entire meals.
Bowl Food is trending and has been for several years. Bowl Food, for the uninitiated, is healthy colorful food eaten out of a bowl. It can be breakfast, lunch, dinner or a first course. When served as a first course, bowl food is larger than an hors d’oeuvre but about 1/2 the size of a main course. It is served in hand-held bowls and ready to eat with a fork. The idea is that guests can stay standing up and mingling while they eat. When it is served at catered events, it is done so that guests can keep engaging with each other and eat at the same time. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle served bowl food at their wedding so that they didn’t have to seat the reception.
Instagram helped launch the popularity of Bowl Food. Photos of ‘smoothie’ bowls in colorful pottery looked very appealing. Chef Nigella Lawson took up the trend and devoted a chapter to bowl food in her new cookbook Simply Nigella.
All Bowl Food shares several characteristics. The food is usually healthy and nutritious, comforting and satisfyingly sustaining all at the same time. Many recipes mix vegetables protein and grains. With the exception of oatmeal, most ‘comfort’ food is associated with unhealthy foods, like grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream, mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookie dough. With nutritious bowl food we realized that comfort food could also be good for us. Bowl food is quick and easy to put together, a great way to use leftovers and works for any time of day. Bowl food is also the kind of food you want to be eating at this time of year, curled up in front of a fire.
Bowls are used much more in Asia than here to serve meals or part of meals in. For dishes that have many parts like curries, risottos, rice dishes and even salads, bowls are better at keeping everything in its place and not spilling. Restaurants that feature bowl food often allow the customer to customize their bowl. There are many types of bowls – Buddha Bowls, Poke Bowls, Burrito Bowls, Macro Bowls, Acai Breakfast Bowls, Noodle Bowls and Smoothie Bowls.
Some of the healthier popular restaurant chains that serve bowl food are Sweetgreen (nationwide), Cava (found in East Coast cities, Southern California and Texas), Pokéworks (nationwide), Yumm bowl, (found in Oregon, Washington and Idaho), Starbucks protein bowl and Jamba smoothie bowl.
Here are some recipes to try:
One Pot BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl from The Kitchn
Rice bowl with ginger, radish and avocado from Nigella Lawson.
Acai Breakfast Bowl recipe from Food Network Kitchen.
Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Chickpea Buddha Bowl from Life Made Sweeter.
Some bowls that make good vessels for bowl food:
This set of 4 stoneware bowls is in a neutral tone and will blend well with your existing ceramics. It is chip-resistant and can be stacked. Choose a shallow set for $59.00 or a deep set for $69.00. Food52.
This set of four 8″ Bistro bowls is $24.95 from Crate and Barrel.
These Organic Shaped Low Bowls are unique, not perfectly rounded. They are 8.5″ in diameter in glazed porcelain. There are four colors to choose from. The bowls can be ordered individually to mix the colors or as a set of four of one color. Four bowls on sale for $4.99 – $42.00 from West Elm.
These are handmade made-to-order dinner bowls in sand color. The bowls are 7″-8″ in diameter and 3.5″ high and hold at least 20 ounces. Orders take 4 – 6 weeks to be delivered. $48.00 each.
See our earlier article on Poke Bowl recipes