Olive Lane Culinary - Archives

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Food trend alert: eating out of bowls…

One of the food trends that I just can not get behind is smoothie bowls…I don’t get them, at all. Aren’t you supposed to drink smoothies? I do however love making lunch or dinner bowls for a few reasons. The first one is, bowls tend to be a more appropriate size then today’s dinner plates. Since the 1960’s to today the American dinner plates have increased in size by about 4″. If you were to compare a 9″ dinner plate that was the standard in the 1960’s to the 12-13″ dinner plate that is the standard today. With the same amount of food, today’s dinner plate would be left with a lot of “dead space” that we feel we should cover up with more food, when in reality it is just an illusion. Second reason is when packing lunches for Bryan and I, they tend to be bowls anyway: a whole grain/starch, vegetables, and protein, so it makes meal prepping for the week even easier. Third, I love bowls in general, I have a small collection packed away of Japanese bowls my dad bought me years ago and being a lover of all things Asian these are dear to my heart along with my chopstick collection. Bowls are also perfect for meals that have a sauce with them too, less mess in the end.

I will be posting some bowl recipes here on the blog in the next few weeks, but will start with my most recent creation, Crunchy Thai Shrimp Bowl. These can 100% be eaten on a dinner plate too, don’t get me wrong, the bowl helps me personally watch my portion sizes as well and not overload a plate just because there is some extra space on there that I feel should be filled with more food.

So how does one go about building a bowl?

Lets start with the base of the bowl: a whole grain/starch of your choice: depending on what bowl I am creating I love adding a whole grain that provides some fiber to my meal, something that will help soak up some of the sauce, and something that will keep me fuller longer: quinoa, millet, brown rice, 100% buckwheat noodles (you can choose other options that are not gluten-free, but for this celiac, it’s always 100% gluten-free here). Ideal portion size: 2/3 cup

Next up is the veggies: remember to “eat the rainbow” – make it colorful as we eat with our eyes first by mixing and matching your veggies. Vegetables are loaded with nutrients, provide fiber in your diet, add a great crunch to your dish, and can be cooked or left raw. Some ideas include: cabbage (red/green), spinach, kale, edamame, carrots, peppers, bok choy, zucchini, avocado, tomatoes, pickled radish, etc.). Ideal portion size: 1 cup

Add on some protein: when creating bowls, everything is center stage, so don’t feel like you have to make the protein choice (animal and/or plant based) be the focal point, but make sure your protein of choice is well seasoned. I personally love adding the following to bowls: grilled or shredded chicken (burrito/taco bowls), fish/seafood (shrimp, tuna, salmon), tofu or beans, steak, and eggs. Get creative and mix and match your proteins as well for even more flavor and texture combinations. Ideal portion size: 3-4 ounces, for beans: 1/3 cup

Drizzle on some sauce: now that you’ve got layers of goodness going on in that bowl of yours, lets tie it all together with a delicious sauce. Which sauce to use? Well, that depends on what type of bowl you are making. You can keep it simple by using store bought dressings (look for low sodium options) or create your own. Ideal portion size: 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons

Top it off: looking for some additional crunch or creaminess? Add on some toasted nuts or seeds (peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds) or diced avocado for some creamy texture at the end. Why not sprinkle on some fresh chopped or torn herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley) as well for extra brightness and punch of flavor. Ideal portion size: 1-2 teaspoons

The possibilities are endless really, so get creative and have some fun in the kitchen!

Crunchy Thai Shrimp Bowl

(serves 1)

Bowl Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced/shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup julienne carrots
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 ounces shrimp (peeled/devained)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 lime – optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon torn cilantro leaves – optional

Sriracha Aioli Sauce

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons mayo (or vegenaise)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash all vegetables and set aside
  2. Prepare rice or quinoa according to package instructions, set aside
  3. Add spinach to cooked rice or quinoa and let wilt
  4. Prepare vegetables and set aside
  5. In a small bowl add soy sauce, sugar, oil, sesame oil, lime juice, and ginger – mix well. Add cabbage and carrots to create a quick slaw, set aside
  6. Season cleaned shrimp and heat oil in skillet over medium heat and cook until opaque (about 4-5 minutes depending on size of shrimp)
  7. Remove from pan and let cool
  8. Prepare aioli sauce and adjust spice as needed (too spicy? add a tad more mayo to it), if sauce is too thick, squeeze in a bit of lime juice (about 1/4 teaspoon) to help thin it out
  9. Assemble the bowl: starting with the brown rice or quinoa and spinach, then add the quick slaw of shredded red cabbage and carrots, next add peppers and cucumbers, then add on the shrimp and top with chopped peanuts and finish by drizzling on the sriracha aioli sauce! Looking for a little more punch to the bowl? Sprinkle on some freshly torn cilantro leaves and a lime wedge on the side.