Build Your Own Bowls.

Build Your Own Bowls.

I’m pleased to announce that my latest cookbook, Great Bowls of Food: Grain Bowls, Buddha Bowls, Broth Bowls, and More (Countryman Press $21.95) is arriving just in time to help you explore bowl food at home.

I’m very proud of the book, and I hope you will like it. This is my eighth book, and the first one in which I worked with an amazing photographer, David Schmit, to shoot the food. My friend Bret Bannon lent his talents as a food stylist. I enlisted local talent by borrowing handmade bowls from Erik Riese (click the link to check out his etsy page) and using them in some of the photographs.

It was very meaningful for me to be able to stage some of the photos using handmade platters and bowls made by my father, Larry Calhoun. He passed away last year, and left behind many beautiful works of art, and I grew up eating everything out of his handmade bowls.

So I wrote Great Bowls of Food, to celebrate big, satisfying bowl meals.

“Bowl food” is booming, whether you are at a restaurant, a food service, or at home. It’s such a hot trend, that according to food-industry consulting firm Technomic, bowls have seen a 29.7% rise in the entree category over the last five years.

Of course, bowl food is not new, but it is having a moment.

When I was dreaming up this book, I asked around. Many people that I know were already doing bowl food, for a multitude of reasons. There were the families with kids, where a peaceful meal was just easier when everybody piled their chosen veggies and proteins on top of a bowl of grain or vegetable. There were single people, who assembled prepped and leftover foods into a bowl and drizzled on a sauce, so they could enjoy a varied meal without dirtying multiple dishes. There were couples with mixed diet-styles, sharing a bowl concept that could be customized for a paleo meal and a vegan meal, without too much trouble.

And then there was me, worshiping at the altars of both whole grains and Asian rice based cuisines, and steeped in hippie-healthy tradition. Of course, eating a big, beautiful bowl is right up my alley. When I see a big brown rice based Buddha Bowl on a menu, I just can’t resist.

The bowl is comforting, with its rounded shape and expansive space. Your first meal was probably served in a bowl, before you were big enough to hold a fork. The bowl is simple, a respite from complexity and artifice.

In the book, I lay out my use of bowl food as an exercise in mindfulness. If you take the time that you spend preparing and enjoying food to be mindful, you will be mining a bit of peace out of your busy day.

I’ve been teaching classes on Buddha Bowls at Cooks of Crocus Hill for a couple of years now, and this recipe has been on the menu from the beginning. It’s a quintessential bowl, with a balanced assortment of colors and flavors, and a simple apricot and Sriracha dressing.

Give it a try, and you may just want to try more Great Bowls of Food.

photo by David Schmit

Quinoa Black Bean and Kale Bowl with Sriracha Apricot Dressing

( Photo by David Schmit)

Quinoa, Black Bean, and Kale Bowl with Sriracha–Apricot Dressing

(reprinted with permission from Countryman Press)

Make extra of this dressing; it is really just that good. Sweet, sour, fruity, spicy, this pourable elixir will fix up any bowl that needs a little kick. It can even bring to life a boring burrito or salad. This is a quintessential bowl, loaded up with beans and veggies, and sure to satisfy and delight with every bite.


Yield: 4 servings


4 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 cup apricot jam

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, pressed

2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

4 ounces baby kale, chopped

1 cup pickled beets, slivered

1 cup shredded carrot

1 cup microgreens, washed and dried


Warm the quinoa.

In a medium bowl or Pyrex cup, stir the jam, tamari, sriracha, cider vinegar, and garlic. Reserve.

In each of four wide pasta bowls, place 1/4 of the quinoa, and arrange equally the beans and all the remaining ingredients on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve.