We wrote about the bowl food trend early in 2018 (read all about it here) and almost a year on there’s no sign of it slowing down. It’s easy to see the appeal. Bowl food is super charged, nutrient dense, delicious and fun. Here’s a quick low down on bowl food facts and classic combinations.
The bowl food trend sprang from the health food and super foods trends: a meal-in-one packed with nutrient dense foods designed to refuel post-workout. Now, everybody wants to eat bowl foods.
When it comes to the bowl food recipe, customers want choice. They want the assurance of the classic recipe as well as the excitement of something new and different.
Standalone bowl food restaurant chains have appeared on our main streets, but customers are on the lookout for bowl food everywhere, including on Café menus.
As Café owners and Chefs, now’s the time to take inspiration from the classic bowl food recipe and jump on the bowl food trend.
Açai is the small, round, purple fruit of the açai palm and a staple super food in Brazil. It’s available as powder or pulp and is blended with frozen banana and coconut water or apple juice to form the smoothie base of this bowl food recipe. Toasted muesli and fresh fruit are then arranged on top. Sydney’s Natalie Viset documents açai breakfast bowls on Instagram. She rates the açai bowl and its close cousin, the smoothie bowl, on appearance, flavour and price. The most important thing, she says, is the smoothie to topping ratio. Natalie welcomes innovation, creativity and variety. “Make it your own,” she says. “But don’t favour looks over flavour.” @Ilovebowlsau
The raw fish bowl, basically a deconstructed sushi, is one of the most requested bowl foods from the home-delivery service Foodora and the inspiration behind dedicated poke bowl Cafés from Bondi to Byron Bay. The dish originated in Hawaii and the basic recipe includes layers of rice, raw fish (either raw tuna or salmon dressed with soy sauce), avocado and pickled ginger. However, variations to this bowl food recipe abound. The dressing can include wasabi, yuzu, chilli or sesame oil and the fish can be swapped out for prawns, octopus or even mackerel. That the essence of the bowl food recipe; it offers infinite possibilities for experimentation. Next time you make a poke bowl, add something new.
The Buddha bowl goes by many other names – glory bowl, hippie bowl, grain bowl, salad bowl. Whatever it’s called, you can expect the recipe to include plenty of super bowl foods: salad greens, raw or roasted vegetables, grains such as brown rice, chickpeas, tofu, or quinoa and nuts. The dressing can be a splash of lemon or creamy tahini. Vegans know how to rock the Buddha bowl (cashew cheese anyone?), but some recipes, like the one Curtis Stone created for Oprah.com, include protein. How does spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and quinoa with an apple cider vinaigrette, crumbled ricotta, rocket and pumpkin seeds sound as a combination? Not bad at all.
Super charge your Buddha bowl with these bowl food basics
Try combinations such as black rice with red quinoa; farro with red rice; bulgur with freekeh; or spelt with lentils.
Fried haloumi, big handfuls of chopped herbs, chopped olives, pickles, and a dab of harissa.
Tenderise hearty greens such as kale, collards and savoy cabbage by massaging with apple cider vinegar or oil.
Tahini and lemon, peanut butter and chilli, vinaigrette, tofu Green Goddess dressing or splashes of lemon or lime.
Add crunch with toasted nuts and seeds. Try toasting sunflower, hemp and fennel seeds in olive oil until crisp and season with salt and pepper.
Put the grains on the bottom and they layer up by weight, starting with the heavier ingredients, such as roasted veg, and finishing with delicate sprigs of herbs.