Build your own ‘nourish bowl’

The food we eat and the pursuit of ‘wellness’ are inexorably linked, with a considered diet being the single greatest factor contributing to our overall health.

As we’ve grown more conscious of what effect our diets have on our bodies, we’ve seen a boom in nutrition-packed dining options- both in restaurants and at fast food levels- catering to our desire to eat better.

Among these widespread new options is the wonderful ‘nourish bowl’, a dish packed with grains, vegetables and lean protein that’s as satisfying as it is good for us.

While nourish bowls (or the similar ‘Buddha bowl’) have become a lunchtime mainstay in many cafes, they’re also quick and easy to make at home. And just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean you can’t pack them with flavour.

Here’s our guide to creating your own incredible nourish bowl at home.

STEP ONE: Choose your base(s)

Kick things off with a delicious combination of ancient grains, legumes, pulses and/or rices. They’re easy to cook, last for years in the pantry and add texture, flavour, and a whole suite of dietary benefits to your meal.

Some of our favourite options include wholegrain freekeh, black barley, farro, spelt, quinoa, green lentils, Camargue black rice, black turtle beans and chick peas, many being completely organic, and most grown in Australia.

Add an extra hit of flavour by seasoning your grains with a flavoured salt, like our popular black garlic salt.

STEP TWO: Choose your vegetables

A nourish bowl is a terrific showcase for in-season produce. Simply grab whatever looks freshest and most delicious from the local farmers market or greengrocer and prepare it in a way that preserves its nutritional value and amplifies its flavour.

Depending on the season, we love blanching green veggies like asparagus, sugar snaps, peas, broccoli and broad beans in salted boiling water for a minute, then plunging them into an ice bath to stop their cooking and preserve their colour.

Other ideas include:

-grilling vegetables like corn, mushrooms or asparagus
-roasting beetroot, sweet potato and other root vegetables with a splash of balsamic
-lightly pickling red onion, cucumber, radish, cabbage, etc.
-simply slicing tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and other fresh, in-season produce

STEP TWO: Add a hero

If you want something a little more substantial to complement your carefully selected vegetables, add a few slices of gently poached chicken breast, some cubes of raw sashimi-grade fish, a scattering of cooked prawns, a little smoked salmon or trout, or a jammy soft-boiled egg.

STEP THREE: Add a flavour bomb

‘Healthy’ doesn’t have to mean ‘bland’. Finish your nourish bowl with a hit of flavour using one of our (and Yotam Ottolenghi’s) favourite ‘flavour bombs‘. Whether it’s a spoonful of fiery rose harissa, a drizzle of tahini, a sprinkling of urfa chilli flakes or a slug of pomegranate molasses, choosing the right delicious finish to your dish will have your mouth humming along with the rest of your body.

For grains, legumes, pulses, and plenty more healthy ingredients, visit your nearest The Essential Ingredient store. Or buy online for delivery to anywhere in Australia. 

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