I receive emails and magazines that are forever taunting the next new and upcoming trends in the food business. In my 13 years of business, I’ve been fortunate to watch more than one trend come in and go out. The other day, I got one that said by the end of 2019, over 40% of the restaurant menus will have at least one bowl on their menu. By bowl, they mean a single bowl that contains the whole meal, protein, starch, salad greens, and lots of colorful vegetables. Of course the publication was selling bowls and bowls accessories along with micro greens and pre-cooked proteins you could use in bowls.
I find this bowl explosion rather surprising. We serve people every day and there isn’t a day that goes by that someone asks, “Can you put those beans in a separate bowl? I don’t like for my food to touch. Yet, having the whole meal in one bowl is now the trend.
For those of us who don’t mind if our food touches, then what’s so great about a bowl? We’ve been putting our peas and rice together all our lives, and if we were lucky to get some of the fat back out of the pot, we added meat to those peas and rice. We wouldn’t dream of putting it in a bowl because we want to sop up the pea juices with our cornbread.
This isn’t a new restaurant trend, either. About 20 years ago I used to stop by a rundown, walk-up window-kind of restaurant in Statesboro that sold you breakfast in a Styrofoam cup. Grits, eggs, sausage and cheese all layered in the cup together. I don’t think they wound up in any food magazines, though. Obviously they were way ahead of the times, but didn’t understand the importance of a pretty bowl.
Though I don’t understand the trend, I have indulged. We had some ground lamb in the freezer which Steve usually makes his scrumptious lamb burgers with, but he was nursing a sore foot so I decided to look for another recipe to use it in. I ran across a recipe for Mediterranean Lamb Bowl. It was simple and I liked all the ingredients, so I tried it. Steve loved it and said he thought he could eat it every night. I’ve made it twice and it’s on our rotation now.
Bowl recipes can be daunting. There are a lot of ingredients, but there’s not a lot of cooking involved, just slicing and chopping. And, it doesn’t have to have a lot of ingredients. Basically, you decide what you want in your bowl. If you omit sliced avocado because you don’t like it, it’s not going to ruin the whole dish. Of course, the more ingredients you use, the more color you get and the prettier your bowl is, which is one of the driving forces behind the bowl trend. You know, the whole eating the rainbow thing for your health.
If you’re interest is peaked, you can find a gazillion recipes online for power bowls, nourish bowls, Buddah bowls and so forth. I’ll get you started with these few, but trust me, you don’t need a special bowl — all of these would work fine on a plate — even a plastic one.
Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie’s Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to www.sophiesmarketplace.com.
Mediterranean Lamb Bowl
• 1 pound ground lamb
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• Salt & Pepper to Taste
Tumeric Rice ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup onion finely diced
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 cup jasmine rice rinsed
• 1 ½ cups chicken broth
• 1 bay leaf dried
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 1 tomato, diced
• 1 cucumber diced
• 1 cup hummus
• 1 cup feta cheese
• Naan or Pita Bread for Serving:
1. LAMB: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When oil is hot, add onions and sauté until soft. Add ground lamb and garlic to the pan and cook until lamb is browned. Add paprika, allspice, red pepper flakes, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mint
2. RICE: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add diced onion and sauté until onions are translucent. Add garlic, rice and turmeric. Stir until combined. Add chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, allow to simmer 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Salt to taste. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf and serve.
3. To Assemble Bowls: Layer Turmeric Rice, then top with some of the spiced ground lamb, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus and feta. Sprinkle with more fresh mint if desired.
Chicken & Quinoa with Sweet Chili Dressing
This can be enjoyed cold or hot. If you don’t make the bowl, you’ve still have to try the dressing! Serves 4.
• 1 cup tricolor quinoa, cooked according to directions
• Bean sprouts
• 1 carrot, shredded
• 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
• 1/2 red pepper, sliced into strips
• 1/2 cabbage, sliced
• 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
• Cooked chicken, shredded or sliced
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
• Sweet chili dressing
To assemble bowls: Layer quinoa and remaining ingredients and drizzle with Sweet Chili Dressing.
Sweet Chili Dressing:
• 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• Juice of 1 lime
• 2 cloves garlic, grated
• 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Simmer everything in a sauce pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes and set aside to cool. Store remaining dressing in the refrigerator.
• 1 cup Jasmine Rice, cooked according to package instructions
• 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 3 cups fresh spinach
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (in the Asian food section)
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 carrot, grated
• 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 4 large eggs (1 egg per serving)
• 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1. Heat a large skillet over medium flame and add the cooking oil. Swirl to coat the skillet, then add the fresh spinach. Sauté the spinach just until it is wilted. Drizzle the sesame oil over top and salt to taste. Remove the spinach from the skillet to a clean bowl.
2. Using the same skillet, cook the ground beef until fully browned and drain excess grease. Add the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir and cook for until everything is mixed and the beef the beef is coated in sauce. Remove from heat
3. Fry eggs over easy. You want the center to be runny.
4. To build the bowls, add cooked rice to the bowl, followed the cooked spinach, the ground beef, some sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, and a cooked egg. Sprinkle sliced green onions and sesame seeds over top.