Plant-based power bowls go by many names: Buddha bowls, quinoa bowls, and burrito bowls, to name a few. Whatever you want to call it, a power bowl is a great way to nourish your body with plenty of nutritious plant foods.
If you’re not already making power bowls, this particular formula will be an absolute game-changer, especially if you’re feeding a family with many different tastes.
How to Build a Basic Plant-Based Power Bowl
The basic formula for creating power bowls is ¼ grain, ¼ plant-based protein, ½ veggies, and sauce, seeds, nuts, microgreens, sprouts, condiments, etc. for toppings.
- 1/4 grain: brown rice, farro, quinoa, steel-cut oats, lentil pasta
- 1/4 protein: beans, lentils, organic tofu or tempeh, hummus
- 1/2 veggies: greens, root veggies, seasonal roasted or raw veggies
- top with: sauce, seeds, nuts, nut butter, condiments, microgreens or sprouts, hot sauce, nutritional yeast
Get Creative: Customizing Your Power Bowl
Once you’ve got the basic formula down, it’s time to get groovy with your power bowl! Sure, you could use up any leftover grains, beans, and veggies you’ve got in the fridge. But it’s even more fun to create themed bowls featuring your favorite flavor combos, such as:
- Mexican: farro, black beans, greens, veggies, avocado, hot sauce, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), salsa
- Thai: brown rice, black-eyed peas, shredded carrots, brussels sprouts, kale, spicy peanut sauce, fresh cilantro, hemp seeds
- Mediterranean: quinoa, roasted seasonal veggies, vegan pesto, nutritional yeast
- Italian: lentil pasta, marinara sauce, veggies, and greens
Tips to Make Power Bowls Fast, Easy, and Flavorful
Follow these tips to make it even faster and easier to pull together a delicious and nutritious power bowl in no time at all.
The trick to effortless power bowls is to batch cook. Batch cooking is the practice of cooking many servings of something at once – think grains like quinoa or rice, roasted veggies, hummus or pesto, soups and stews, or simply chopping or shredding veggies. Prepare all of these staples with a neutral seasoning, if any at all. That way, when you use them, they’re still very versatile, and you’re not tied to one particular flavor profile.
Pack it Up
When I’m making a power bowl for dinner, I’ll pack up the next day’s lunch while I’ve already got all the ingredients and inspiration at the ready. The goal here is to spend as little time “working” in the kitchen as possible. Packing your lunch the night before is a guaranteed time-saver in the morning.
Serving Power Bowls
Serve power bowls in a bowl that’s just large enough to hold as much food as you think you’ll eat in a sitting. If you make too much and can’t finish, you can always save what’s left for another meal or use it as burrito/wrap filling.
If you’re cooking for a family, set out on the counter the number of bowls you need to feed all family members. I like to use ice cream scoops or measuring cups to evenly portion ingredients.
Use it, Don’t Toss it
Power bowls are also a fantastic way to use up odds and ends in the fridge, or last night’s leftovers.
Pro tip: keep a bowl in the fridge for “use-first” foods that must be eaten soon. Keep the “use-first” container at eye level and fill it with the vegetables that you bought (with good intentions!) last week. This is how you avoid throwing out that bag of mixed greens that always seems to get lost in the produce drawer.
Dress it Up
For a delicious dressing, try your hand at homemade. You can make a quick and easy dressing for your bowls with three ingredients or less.
- tahini, maple syrup, and lemon juice
- olive oil, red wine vinegar, and mustard
- avocado, cilantro, and lime
- soaked cashews, garlic, salt
Yellow mustard, liquid aminos, or hot sauce also make a fabulous dressing for your power bowl. However you dress it, top it, or serve it, a power bowl is an easy way to fuel your body with healthy grains, vegetables, and other nourishing plant-foods.