What is it about food in bowls that makes them so irresistible? We asked gluten-free Cotter Crunch blogger Lindsay Cotter for the answer after ravishing her first cookbook, Nourishing Superfood Bowls ($22). You’ll want to dive into every single one of the 75 bowls depicted by vivid photos of vibrant food . Her approach to cooking is founded in sports nutrition, as she used to accompany her former pro triathlete husband, toting along healthy food to help him prep for and recover after races. But we too can benefit from these banging bowls. “In any sport or life stress, you still need nourishment. Your body still sees stress the same as running a marathon — it’s the same reactions,” she said. We hear that!
The idea for Nourishing Superfood Bowls came about when her Buddha bowl recipe went viral on Pinterest. It led her to consider that people wanted quick, extremely healthy recipes that were doable and not over-complicated. Cotter said the bulk of the recipes are plant-based to cater to veggie folks, but you can always add meat, because “the bowls are so flavorful that you can just put a slab of chicken on, put on the sauce, and you’re good.”
Some of our favorite tips from Cotter include cooking your polenta in a rice cooker for her creamy polenta bowls or freezing peanut butter in ice cube trays to blend in a strawberry PB swirl smoothie bowl. We loved the ingenuity of ricing broccoli to serve with her Sticky Mongolian beef bowls.
Of the popular family-style bowls, the Baja fish taco bowl is a favorite at Cotter’s home and one her husband has made her. “I redid that photo three times because I didn’t think the first time gave it justice,” she said. Her sticky date cake yogurt bowl is perhaps the paleo treat we didn’t know we needed in our lives. With summer coming, we can’t wait to try the smoothie bowls or the five-minute cheesy zucchetti bowls for a light lunch.
5-Minute Cheesy Zucchetti Bowl
(Serves 1 to 2)
Note: For an extra protein boost, add chickpeas or chicken or gluten-free sausage for a paleo option.
- 2 small zucchinis
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 plum tomato, sliced thin
- pinch of Italian seasoning
- fresh basil or parsley
- crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon capers
1. Spiralize or julienne-cut the zucchini. Place in a bowl and press with a paper towel to remove the excess water. Drain the excess water from the bowl.
2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the nutritional yeast, almond milk, olive oil, and garlic. Cook in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds until warm. Remove and whisk the mixture until well combined. Add the salt, pepper, and tomato sauce, and whisk again.
3. Toss the almond milk mixture with the zucchini noodles and add the sliced tomato. Add a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, basil, red pepper flakes, and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Family-Style Deconstructed Stuffed Bell Pepper Bowl
(Serves 4 to 5)
These gluten-free deconstructed stuffed bell pepper bowls are family friendly, easy to make, easy to clean up and easy to devour! The combo of lean beef and bell peppers make for one iron-boosting and antioxidant-rich bowl.
For the Beef (or Turkey):
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning
- fine sea salt or kosher salt, to taste; pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces tomato sauce or BBQ sauce
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce or tamari
For the Bowls:
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 cups lightly steamed spinach
- 1 bell pepper, sliced thin
- handful of fresh torn cilantro
- 1 green onion, chopped
- handful of sliced cherry tomato
- yogurt, cheese, or sour cream, for topping
- red pepper flakes, for topping
- hot sauce or Tabasco, optional, for topping
- lemon slices, for garnish
1. To make the meat: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain off any extra fat.
2. Add the garlic and onion, cooking for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped bell pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, cooking for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce (or BBQ sauce) and Worcestershire sauce, and cook until bubbly, about 5 more minutes.
3. For the bowl: Spoon the quinoa into a large bowl, followed by the spinach. Add in the ground meat mixture, and top with the sliced bell pepper, cilantro, green onion, and cherry tomatoes.Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add toppings: Optional sour cream or yogurt, cheese, and red pepper flakes, if desired, and garnish with sliced lemon.
Sticky Date Cake Yogurt Bowl
Sticky date cake yogurt bowls with a quick microwave version! Did you know that soaking dates and blending them creates a sticky sweet paste? Oh, how I love nature’s candy! All you need are a few minutes to bake the cake with the sticky date paste, and then whip it together with yogurt and toppings. You’ll never know this grain-free dessert “superfood” bowl is actually good for you.
Recipe Notes: For the paleo version, use coconut cream whipped or coconut yogurt in place of regular yogurt.
- 6 to 7 pitted dates
- purified water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons almond flour (not meal)
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 3 tablespoons almond or coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 10 ounces yogurt or coconut yogurt, vanilla flavored
- 1 banana, sliced
- crushed nuts or granola
- molasses to drizzle
1. To make the bowls, soak the dates in purified water for 1 to 2 hours. Discard all of the water except 1 tablespoon (15 ml) after soaking.
2. Blend the dates together with the honey to create a sticky paste. Set aside. If making the cake in the microwave, only one large mug is needed.
3. For the oven, use 2 ramekins and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray the mug or ramekins with cooking spray.
4. Place the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt in the mug, and stir the ingredients to combine. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, almond milk, and vanilla.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry flour mixture, stirring to combine. Add the sticky date paste and egg, and mix until thoroughly combined.
6. Microwave for 90 to 120 seconds, or bake in ramekins for 20 to 25 minutes at 350°F. Slice the cake into pieces and divide into serving bowls. Top with a dollop of yogurt, sliced banana, nuts, and drizzle of molasses.
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(Recipes and photographs reprinted with permission from Nourishing Superfood Bowls. © 2018 by Lindsay Cotter. Published by Page Street Publishing)