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If you’ve been on social media at all over the last year you’ve probably had one of these vibrant bowls pop up in your feed. They are basically a fantastic way to combine a heap of different veggies, greens, fruit, beans & grains to make a complete meal. Veggie bowls are my favourite meal to put together. They are easy to make and a genius way to use up leftovers. This post is less of a recipe and more of guide on how to make the most nourishing veggie bowl. So once you get the main principles down you can create your own bowl of the week.
How To Make A Rainbow Veggie Bowl
1 Pick a Flavour – This can be based on what herbs, spices & veggies you have in your fridge or if you’re craving something in particular like Mexican (guacamole + black beans + salsa) or Mediterranean (olives + pesto + tomatoes) the combinations are endless so get creative.
2 Make a Base – I always make a base for my bowls out of leafy greens. They are natures perfect whole food package, loaded with Fibre, Vitamins, Minerals, Protein even omega 3’s they are the best food you can add to your diet. Usually, i leave them raw but sometimes I like to sauté them in coconut oil to make them an easier to chew. You can a choice between a milder leaf like spinach, rocket or cos lettuce or a hearty green like kale, silverbeet or radicchio.
3 Add a grain -Whole grains are the holy grail of energy-dense foods providing not only complex carbs but b vitamins, zinc, iron, protein and fibre. There is really no need to go grain free unless you have a diagnosed illness or know you have a sensitivity to certain gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, spelt or barley. Just make sure you pick the whole grain version i.e. minimally processed with the husk & outer layers intact. Some of my favourites are brown/black/red rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet & freekeh.
4 Pick Your Protein – Yes it true you can meet your daily protein needs consuming only plants. Plant proteins are great because they are naturally free from cholesterol, lower in saturated fats & provide a whole host of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants & phytonutrients so you get way more bang for your buck. Choose things like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, tempeh & tofu.
5 Eat The Rainbow – Load your bowl up with rainbow veggies. I go for one starchy one like pumpkin, sweet potato or beets and 2 – 3 fresh ones like capsicum, cucumber, tomatoes, snow peas etc. Using a combination of raw & cooked veggies creates different flavours & textures and provides a greater profile of nutrients. Some vitamins like B & C are degraded by heat while the bioavailability of others is increased.
6 Don’t Forget The Fats – Fats are an essential part of our diet and actually, aid in the absorption of antioxidants, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K and contribute to glowing skin, shiny hair, increased cognitive function & hormone production. A little bit goes a long way so choose whole food sources like nuts, seeds, avocados or minimally processed oils like flax or extra virgin olive oil.
7 Flavour boosters – Now you can tie it all together with a killer dressing, some delicious sauces like pesto, spice mixes like dukkah, fermented foods like saurkraut/kimchi or simply just a squeeze of Lemon.
For my bowl, I’ve used
Kale + Radicchio (base)
Crispy Chickpeas (plant protein)
Roasted Pumpkin + asparagus (starchy/cooked veg)
Cucumber, Capsicum, Tomatoes (fresh veg)
Avo + olive oil (healthy fat)
lemon (flavour booster)