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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.