In honor of National Fruits & Veggies Month and The International Year of Fruits and Veggies (finally they get their time to shine in the spotlight!), let’s walk through ways to build a better veggie-based bowl, using influences from cultures around the world. The best part of creating the perfect bowl is mixing and matching flavor combinations that best match your tastebuds. Let’s dive in and celebrate flavors from around the world — and don’t forget, fruits and veggies, too!

When building a bowl, there are five main components, all of which add flavor, texture, and nutrition! They are:

  1. Veggies
  2. Grains
  3. Proteins
  4. Toppings
  5. Dressings

When creating your own bowl recipe, get creative! Take influences from your favorite cuisines and use unexpected combinations. Let’s walk through each of the five components and inspire your next favorite bowl recipe!


There are not only a variety of veggies that you can include as your base for your bowl, but there are also several ways they can be prepared. If you’re looking for a flavor punch, I’m partial to roasted and pickled options!

  • Raw
  • Steamed
  • Grilled
  • Roasted
  • Pickled


While traditional whole grain pasta or brown rice is versatile in bowl recipes, ancient grains can add more diverse flavor and texture and make you feel like you are experiencing an entirely different cuisine!

  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole grain couscous
  • Sorghum
  • Barley
  • Farro


We all tend to have our go-to protein sources, but don’t be afraid to try something new! Vegetarian options like tofu and tempeh take on the flavor of the seasonings and sauces you cook with, which can amplify the flavor of your bowl!

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh


Now this is the fun part! How can you take your base ingredients and up your game with exciting new flavors?

  • Fresh or dried fruit: You didn’t think I forgot to include fruit, did you? Fresh and dried fruit can add an excellent sweet balance to a savory dish. Try golden raisins or mandarin oranges for a sweet and savory bowl.
  • Fermented foods: :Like sauerkraut or kimchi
  • Herbs: this can instantly change your dish! Whether you love basil or rosemary or can’t get enough of cilantro, this is where you can add it in!
  • Spices: Dried spices and blends are a great way to add flavor
  • Crunch: Dried chickpeas, nuts, seeds, crushed tortilla chips


To finish off your bowl, you can’t forget your delicious dressing.

  • Oils
  • Vinaigrettes
  • Hummus
  • Tahini
  • Avocado/Guacamole
  • Yogurt
  • Salsa

Grab your ingredients and combine your favorites to create a bowl perfectly made to meet your taste! Cheers to a fabulous International Year of Fruits and Veggies!

Happy and Healthy Eating,

Emily Parent, MFCS, RD, LD

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