“Super” Bowl!

Bowl - Fresh Energy

The guide to the good and healthy “bowl”, that is captivating Italians

Let’s talk about Bowls! The great thing about stereotypes, is that it’s really easy to disprove and dismantle them.

For example: if some (especially those looking in from the outside), think that “Italian” cuisine is only made up of spaghetti, pizza and lasagna, well, I’d tell them, that what I see on a daily bases, looking closely, is the complete opposite!

In fact, there’s an explosion of new ideas, innovative dishes and reinterpretations of recipes that belong to diverse cultures, going on, as you read. A real “revolution” is happening at the table, due to an ever-growing interest, by people, towards healthy food

All of this culinary excitement, that all this time has been brewing, without most hearing, or knowing about it, but that today, begins to circulate, and tomorrow, I’m sure, will go on to become some of the “best friends” of many of the “Boot’s” homes and their kitchens. 

Bowls Galore

You might have come across, for example, certain names like, “Buddah or Nourish Bowls”. Many other, similar names too, such as: “Pokè”, “Salad ”, “Smoothie”… and every bowl, you can possible think of. 

Literally! In being that the word “bowl”, in English, is a direct translation of the Italian “ciotola”, any dish (even, a little unhealthy ones) can be made into a “bowl”: If you put french fries into a bowl, they become a “french fry bowl”.. If you decided to put some pasta, with egg, pork cheek , in a bowl, you’d have a “carbonara bowl”.. I’m only joking, but I think you caught my drift.

In reality, the identity of bowls, is strongly linked to the tradition of health food, because they’re made, with the objective in mind, of creating a nutritionally balanced dish following the tips, that I spoke about with you before  here

For this reason, bowls are frequently vegetable based, with complex carbohydrate and protein rich components, all accompanied by delicious, healthy and non-out of balance, condiments and dressings.

“Awesome Alice! But…what about all of those different names that you told me before?”

Because, even though they all follow these shared “rules”, there are so many different kinds of bowls!

Let’s jump right into discovering them all, together…


Bowl, bowl, on the wall

1 – Let’s start from the Buddha Bowl: a single, usually vegan, or in any case, vegetarian, cold dish. It’s base is normally, leafy, green vegetables, together with a whole wheat grain, lots of other, colorful vegetables (both raw and cooked) and sometimes, fruit or berries. To this base, a vegan source of protein is usually added, like legumes, tofu, tempeh or hummus and it’s all accompanied by a condiment, that can be nut, or seed-based or, very frequently, made with avocado. 

All of these fantastic ingredients can be mixed together, like you would in your run of the mill salad, but the real “pros” of making the Buddha Bowl, choose to arrange them with an artistic touch, making the dish not only inviting, but also beautiful to behold! I assure you that a Buddha Bowl, made with care, will be able to completely satisfy your eyes and palate, send your hunger for a hike and never weigh you down.

2 – A variation of this is the Nourish Bowl, that is built in a similar way, to the Buddha Bowl, but doesn’t need to be vegetarian or vegan: here, you can use meat or fish for the protein and chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon or eggs are the usual choices.

3 – Much appreciated, for it’s easy use, quick preparation and versatility, is thePokè Bowl, that we could place into a particular and, at first glance, contradictory category: that of healthy fast food”. Yup, you read that correctly, because “eating healthily” doesn’t necessarily require spending tons of time to prepare dishes… it’s time it’s said! The Pokè Bowl is a dish from Hawaiian tradition, originally made with a base of rice, raw fish and algae.

Now, “Pokè dishes” also offer diversely made bowls, with different grains, instead of rice and cooked fish, instead of raw, or tofu and chicken, even fried! In any case, you can use whatever you like, creating a simple and delicious dish! I’d say to pay attention and be careful, because this liberty of choice, can make way for coming up with bowls that aren’t really “healthy”. To put it simply, I don’t think I’d cover a Pokè Bowl with mayonnaise, is all!

4 – A Smoothie Bowl is another one still: it’s not usually used for main meals, but they’re great for breakfast, snack or dessert. In fact, we’re talking about a fruit smoothie, with plant based milk, that remains dense and cold and is eaten with a spoon (not to be drunk with a straw, like a regular smoothie).

A smoothie bowl can be vegan— adding various seeds, nuts, peanut butter or other kinds of spreads— it can be vegetarian, when made with yoghurt, for example. If made well, it will be balanced, full of the three macronutrients, rich in fiber, omega 3 and micronutrients! As a base, I’d suggest using home-frozen, fresh fruit: you can find pre-frozen mixes of fruit, with “smoothie” written on them, in supermarkets, but they’ll surely be less balanced than the Smoothie Bowl that has your homemade touch: with a little bit of imagination, it won’t just be delicious, but beautifully colorful and photogenic…Instagram ready!

Really unique

The last thing to consider, is that they are all “single plate meals”and usually take the form of an unaccompanied, whole meal.

This is a little different from Italian tradition, that sees us dividing out meals into different courses, from the starter, to the ending coffee. Which is great for a beautiful dinner with friends, where we spend even 2 or 3 hours eating and talking happily. I love it!

But, when we want, or need to have a quick lunch, that gives up nothing in the way of health and nutrition (because maybe we want to go out and take a walk afterwards)? These are the moments and occasions, when Bowls lend themselves at their best: needing to choose between a “first” or “second” Italian style course, while still maintaining balance in a dish, with many vegetables, can sometimes be difficult. A single dish meal, like a good, colorful, fragrant and easily made, bowl is ideal!

Awesome, now that you know all there is to know about Bowls: there’s nothing left to do but… experiment with and try them!

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