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Rice Bowls Make a Quick and Easy Dinner

Rice bowls are the perfect answer to what’s for dinner, particularly if you don’t know what to make or don’t have a lot of time. They are quick, easy, and delicious.

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Mothers of varying cultures ave served them to feed their kids cheaply and nutritiously. Chipotle has practically built an empire on them. Even the most inexperienced college kid can make them. What are they?

Rice bowls.

Rice bowls make a quick and easy meal that tastes great and uses all kinds of little bits. It’s the perfect dinner to make when you’re not sure what to make. Get the rice cooker going, and then start rummaging through the cupboards and fridge for things to add on. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to have a lot of any one topping. Everyone can build his own combination with whatever you have.

Consider these delicious rice bowl toppings:

What to put in Rice Bowls?

Rice, of course

Rice is easy to cook and typically inexpensive. There’s great debate about the health benefits of brown v. white, so I say go with what you like and can afford.

While plain cooked rice is certainly simple and traditional for a rice bowl, don’t limit yourself to that. Consider these different rice recipes to serve as the base of your bowl:

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Check out these delicious proteins to top the bowl:

  • Shredded chicken, beef, or pork
  • Seasoned ground beef
  • Meatballs
  • Fish
  • Shrimp or other shellfish
  • Tofu
  • Beans of all kinds
  • Sausage – crumbled, sliced, balls or links
  • Eggs – Scrambled, fried, or soft boiled
  • Cheese – shredded or crumbled
  • Quinoa – this could even stand in for some or all of the rice!

 

Vegetables for rice bowls

Or how about the veggie department? Grilled or sauteed, these vegetables taste great

  • zucchini and squash
  • mushrooms
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • bell peppers
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • spinach, kale, or cabbage
  • sweet potato

Don’t forget fresh veggies!

  • tomatoes
  • scallions
  • olives
  • avocado or guacamole
  • shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • carrots
  • cucumbers

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Sauces for rice bowls

And condiments?!

Part of the fun is making your bowl suit your own tastes. Be sure to lay out a selection of sausages so folks can make their own flavor combinations.

  • salsa
  • hot sauce
  • sriracha
  • soy sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • sour cream
  • ranch dressing
  • guacamole

There are really no limits to what could work in a rice bowl. Obviously, you want to stay a little close to the flavor profile of the sauce you choose. I’m not sure BBQ sauce would go on cucumbers, chicken, and feta, but you know what I’m talking about.

A pot of white rice takes 20 minutes to cook, so you can easily pull together some delicious toppings to go with.

What’s YOUR favorite rice bowl combination?

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Comments

  1. Would you mind sharing what brand of rice cooker you have? And any details about it such as if it works well with brown rice, maximum amount it makes, etc? Thanks!

    • I bought the Black and Decker from Walmart years ago, but I’ve heard that Aroma is really the best brand to get.

      • I bought my husband an Aroma at Costco for Christmas-LOVE IT! Super easy to use and it was $29.99. They are still in stock at our PHX location. It’s got a lot of different options on it, I use the quick start mostly. I’m glad I didn’t buy the one he really wanted (Zojirushi), as it was almost 5 times the cost for the basic one and we don’t use the rice cooker as often as he thought we would. Great appliance!

  2. karen J says:

    Love, love, love the simplicity and yumminess of rice bowls. We generally keep ours simple-rice (brown or white), black beans, cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, with avocado and cabbage if we have it. We could easily eat this meal one a week (or more!) Looking forward to trying some of your variations.

  3. Michelle says:

    We love rice bowls (and sometimes noodle bowls with the same concept) in our family as they let the grown ups and kids customize to their hearts’ desire. E.g., I eat vegetarian but the rest of the family doesn’t.
    The main ones we do are:
    Mexican (beans, cheese, all the taco toppings, etc)
    Asian (edamame, cabbage, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, cucumbers, soy/ginger sauce, etc)
    Buffalo (I make buffalo chickpeas for myself, chicken for the boys – add carrots, celery, blue cheese, etc)
    BBQ (chicken/chick peas, pineapple, red onion, etc)
    Italian (usually Italian chicken sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, etc)
    and of course Leftover free for alls 🙂

  4. I love rice bowls! They’re not my husband’s favorite, so I don’t make them as often as I might otherwise for supper. But I definitely use this idea often for lunch. I like canned tuna, fresh basil, and hot sauce over fresh or reheated rice. I really like the idea of branching out into different toppings and sauces though. Yum!

    My favorite way to reheat rice: heat oil in pan, add some onion. When the onion is slightly browned but not too soft, add rice and stir till warmed through. It’s a variation on fried rice that leaves the flavor fairly neutral so you can add whatever toppings you want. Today I had it with leftover gumbo, for example 🙂 I like leftover rice so much better this way!

    Also, have you ever tried the kind of rice that says “Thai fragrant” on the package? I think it’s Mahatma brand, but I don’t know if it’s jasmine or basmati or whatever. It definitely has a different flavor and is really great with Asian toppings.

  5. Got to throw in a shout-out for your Cilantro Chicken Rice Bowls. Love that sauce!
    http://goodcheapeats.com/2015/02/cilantro-chicken-rice-bowls/

  6. Well this was very a timely post. I got home from work today to find I had 4 unexpected guests for dinner — four tweens that had just come from a 90-minute gymnastics class — can you say ravenous wolves. We talked about ordering pizza, but I told my husband we didn’t have it in the budget this late in the month. I had put chicken breasts in the crock pot this morning. I shredded it and that was the protein for our meal. I started pulling from the cupboard and freezer and made a buffet. In addition to the chicken, I made a large batch of rice along with green beans, black beans, shredded cheese and salsa. Since we were having rice bowls, I pulled out the chopsticks for a fun twist. The kids all ate hearty and were very complimentary.

  7. As someone with prediabetes – or anyone, for that matter – a very good substitute for the rice in the bowl is cooked quinoa! Easy to make, high protein and fiber ?and everyone in the family, even the picky ones, love it.

  8. BUSY MOM IN AL says:

    We mixed brown rice with quinoa and the kids loved it! Thanks for the ideas. It is going on my monthly rotation.

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