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Mighty Bowls: Healthy, Budget-Friendly Meals

After the holidays, everyone seems to be watching their wallets and waistlines. In the kitchen, this means searching for ways to cut meal costs without sacrificing taste and nutrition.

Mighty Bowls of Goodness to the rescue! These tasty combination ideas from our Health Starts Here team are filled with nutritious foods and cost less than $4 a bowl – in fact, most are less than $3!

Based on what's in your fridge and pantry, the flavor combinations are endless but the basic recipe is easy:

  • Start by choosing a grain and a bean variety.
  • Add steamed vegetables and, if desired, a secondary protein.
  • Garnish with seeds, nuts, spices or avocado. Experiment with dressings and sauces.

Here are a few of our favorite combinations for lunch and dinner:

Delhi Express: brown rice, roasted eggplant, spinach, carrots, 3 oz grilled shrimp.

Serve with curry powder, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and cilantro, or your favorite chutney.

Mediterranean: brown rice, cooked lentils, steamed spinach-tossed with lemon juice and fresh garlic.

Top with steamed sautéed caramelized onions, cracked black pepper and lots of lemon juice.

Soba: soba noodles, steamed bok choy, shredded red cabbage, pea shoots, shredded carrots, cucumber.

Serve with miso ginger dressing.

Mediterranean Take 2: brown rice, cooked kidney beans, roasted eggplant, kale, 3 oz cooked shrimp or grilled tofu.

Top with tahini miso dressing (recipe below).

Zen: quinoa, peas, mushrooms, red beans, spinach, 3 oz grilled tofu.

Top with miso ginger dressing.  

All American: wheat berries or buckwheat, cooked black eyed peas, cooked (or fresh) shredded red cabbage and tomatoes.

Top with flat leaf parsley, nutritional yeast (optional) and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

Your turn!

Create your own Mighty Bowl of Goodness. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Beans A near perfect health food, low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, iron and folic acid, beans are an economical source of protein.

Adzuki beans, black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, fava beans, edamame and red kidney beans are among the many options.

Steamed Vegetables From kale to carrots and bok choy to broccoli, Mighty Bowls make great use of vegetables already in your fridge.

Proteins In addition to the beans, you can add a small amount of lean protein such as tofu, chicken breast, wild shrimp or wild salmon if desired.

Grains This is a great way to experiment with grains like quinoa, millet, bulgur and barley that may be new to you. Buying them in the bulk department allows you to buy only what you need.

Dressings and Sauces

Top your Mighty Bowl with big flavor by adding a sauce, chutney or homemade dressing like Tahini Miso Sauce or Miso Ginger Dressing.

Miso Ginger Dressing

2 cup orange juice

2 whole oranges, peeled

1 cup white miso

½ cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons ginger

4 cloves garlic

Sea salt to taste

In high speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Will keep for 1 week in fridge.

Condiments Simple additions like herbs, spices, scallions, raw nuts, dried fruits, low sodium tamari and vinegars can ramp up flavor without the addition of a sauce or dressing.

What's your favorite Mighty Bowl of Goodness combination? We'd love to know.

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Deb Bowman says …

I like to make couscous, add chick peas, raisins or cranberries, nut(whatever I have on hand), sauted shredded carrot, onion and garlic.

Carissa says …

Brown rice, white beans, roasted sweet potato, steamed kale & peanut sauce! Sooooo good!

susan fridley says …

these are perfect for a single person like myself!! great idea, and not an enormous amount of ingredients!! Will definitely save your ideas...thanks

Rachel L http://anewleafblog.wordpress.com says …

I love meals like this! Today my bowl of goodness had brown rice, chicken, and sauteed zucchini, broccoli, spinach, and garlic. I combined herbed goat cheese with ricotta to make a delicious creamy sauce.

Kate says …

Brown sushi rice, tempeh or chickpeas, an avocado, shredded carrots and zucchini, artichoke hearts, spinach, onions, tomatoes etc dosed with nutritional yeast :) Each and every day!

Lois says …

Is the ginger in the Ginger Miso Dressing ground ginger powder or grated fresh ginger?

Anon says …

Are these ingredients meant to be cooked and combined to be eaten immediately? Or thrown together as a cold lunch/left overs? Just curious what the preference is...

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ANON - This really boils down to your personal preference and lifestyle. If you need to be able to grab meals on the go I would suggest making a variety of options and you can throw them together in different combinations. In a perfect world we would all be able to make everything fresh each time we eat but we know that's not always possible. Let us know if you come up with any fun combinations/tricks you want to share along the way!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LOIS - It would be best to use fresh ginger with the recipe!

GU34C34 says …

Would LOVE to have the recipe for the black bean, corn, cilantro, red onion, avocado bowl!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@GU34CU34 - I was unable to find the bowl listed above that you described. Was this a bowl that you found in your local store?

Patricia Cone says …

Hi: I cannot find the River Forest, IL 28 Day Challenge on this website. Please advise. Thank you, Patti

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PATTI - I was unable to find anything on their website as well. I would suggest calling the store directly at 708.366.1045 to speak with a Healthy Eating specialist to see when the challenge will begin. If they don't have info on their website, more than likely they can email you info!

Veronica says …

New to this. Loved the Mighty Bowls Ideas and recipes. Hope to see more ideas soon as well as share my own.

Chris Kelly says …

Where is the nutritional information provided? Can you provide it?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CHRIS - Are you looking for nutritional info on a particular recipe? If you click on the recipe, there should be info on the recipe page.

Pat says …

Healthy isn't a trend, it's a way of life and it doesn't go out of style. Why did Whole Foods stop offering this? Instead the local Whole Foods in Charlottesville offers pizza. If I wanted pizza I could eat it anywhere!

Renee says …

What is the difference between the bowl and using your plate. is this for left overs only.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@RENEE - We just call it a mighty bowl but you can use whatever vessel you would like!

Paula says …

Please bring back the cold salmon rice noodle bowl!