All the perfect elements of an egg roll except not as takeout. Continue reading
We love salmon but I had some not-great salmon from the grocery store that I really needed to use. The salmon from Costco is 100x better so this sub-par stuff seemed best suited to become a crispy cake with some powerful flavors like lemon and dijon.
Swap the rice for any grain you like, just don’t forget the lemon. Swap the salmon for any flaky fish, crab, shrimp, or canned salmon/tuna. Add a drizzle of tahini, or dijon + mayo, or cracked peppercorn salad dressing.
Salmon Cakes and Lemon Risotto:
Ingredients: (for 2 dinner/3 lunch portions)
1/4 white or yellow onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
~6 oz salmon, chopped or forked apart
1 egg, whisked
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted
2 tablespoons dijon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon seasoning (I used Zatar or TJ’s Mushroom Umami or Todd’s Dirt or Italian Seasoning)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Prepare the risotto (in a pot for ~30 minutes, or I used the pressure cooker cooking for 6 minutes). Sauté the onion and garlic in butter and olive oil. Then add in the rice and broth/wine mix.
Mix up the salmon, egg, panko, spices, salt and pepper.
Stir well and preheat a pan with olive oil and butter.
Form into patties and pan sear for ~4 minutes on each side, flipping just once. (I used silicone egg molds to keep them together while the first side cooked.) Once seared on each side, remove from oil onto paper towels.
When the risotto is cooked, remove from the heat, and juice half a lemon into it. Stir and spoon into 2 bowls.
Top each bowl with a salmon cake.
I drizzled with a little lemon/dijon/mayo/peppercorn aoli and some chives.
This is such a great meal. I would definitely order this kind of thing at a restaurant but having at home is so special but still easy. This absolutely is NOT a pack-for-work lunch, no fish is a work lunch. I froze a portion for another time. I have visions of getting home some night after baseball and getting the kids to bed and having something delicious to unearth from the freezer when cheez-its aren’t going to cut it.
I wouldn’t put it past me to lightly dress some arugula and toss it on top, or some green beans, or some tomatoes to make this a fully balanced meal. 😉 I loved it.
A burger in a quick & packable form! I made these rice bowls as an easy meal and froze another portion to grab for lunch or to eat quickly on a busy night on the baseball sidelines.
Think of a burger on a bed of bacon rice topped with cheese, pickles, greens, tomatoes, and a final drizzle of special sauce and ketchup. It is perfectly scoop-able, filling, and nutritious.
Burger Rice Bowls
Ingredients: (for 2 servings)
1 1/2 cup brown rice prepared
2 tablespoons bacon bits
2 veggie burgers (or any patty)
2 slices white cheddar cheese
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1-2 cups baby arugula
2 teaspoons mayo
4 teaspoons ketchup
dash of garlic powder
Cook the rice and stir in the bacon bits.
Pan fry (or grill) the burgers and top with cheese.
While the burgers are cooking, chop the tomatoes, arugula, and pickles.
Let the rice and burgers cool a few minutes.
Mix up the special sauce: 2 teaspoons ketchup with the mayo, garlic powder, and pepper.
Assemble with rice on the bottom, topped with burgers, cheese, greens, tomatoes, and pickles.
Drizzle with special sauce and ketchup and sesame seeds.
I loved these! It gives you all the flavors you want from a burger – just with a fork. I love a bun but serving this on rice is actually easier to pack and eat in a hurry than as a burger. It wouldn’t replace a traditional burger for me, but I also wouldn’t pack a burger to be a work lunch.
The bacon brown rice is delicious. I used a veggie burger topped with white cheddar (but could be any burger or portabella cap) and the bowl gets all the burger toppings I had on hand. It was great. For me it is much more filling than as a salad, but you-do-you!
I scooped another serving of rice and chopped another veggie burger and froze it for a later date. One morning I’ll be so grateful to pull it out of the freezer, throw on some greens, veggies, pickles and some ketchup/mustard/mayo dressing on the side. When it is time to eat, I flip the non-cooked parts onto the lid, then I warm the rice & burger and pile on the raw veggies and a drizzle. It is just what I need mid-day – something delicious, nutritious, and appealing.
Love a rice bowl – this inspiration was perfect for winter when we want something warmer than salad! Rice bowls are also filling and great to use leftovers! I subscribe to the goal of:
grain + protein + veg + drizzle = grain bowl
Cobb Salad Rice Bowls
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 1/2 cup rice/grain
4 breaded chicken tenders
4 hard boiled eggs
2 cups greens (I used arugula)
~6 oz cheese
1/4 cup salad dressing
Cook the rice and the chicken and hard boil the eggs. (My rice was in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes and my chicken went into the air fryer.)
While the rice, chicken, and eggs cook, chop the cheese, tomatoes, and greens.
Assemble as you like and drizzle with dressing.
Bacon, avocado, and pickles would all be great additions too but my avo decided a few days prior to this meal ‘it was now or nothing’.
The kiddos had cukes versus greens, and they like theirs separate and to dip into dressing. I stirred some bacon bits into the rice when I made it the first time!
There’s a whole category (over to the right under “rice/grain bowls”). I pack them for lunch all the time too – I just scoop out the raw things and warm the rest and dump back on and drizzle. Voila!
I love a rice bowl because of the customization options! The little ones always surprise me with what is a hit any particular day and the bowls ensure everyone has the same things- maybe more of some parts than others. The littlest was most into the chicken and the big one loved the grilled zucchini…who knew! These were only a slight variation from grilling a few things.
BBQ Chicken Rice Bowls
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water/broth
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
4 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons mixed herb seasoning (we love Todd’s Dirt, or Italian seasoning, etc)
1 large zucchini
1 tablespoon Italian dressing
1 teaspoon honey
Cook the rice (mine took 7 minutes in the pressure cooker – or it could be made in advance too). Then mix in 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce.
Preheat the grill.
Season the chicken with the dried herbs. Then slice the zucchini into coins and brush with olive oil on both sides.
Grill the chicken and when almost cooked through, add the zucchini to the grill for the last few minutes.
Chop the tomatoes and mix with Italian dressing.
Whisk or shake together the remaining 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce with the honey.
Spoon the bbq rice into each bowl, then top with sliced chicken, zucchini, tomatoes.
Drizzle with honey bbq sauce and Enjoy!
Our kids tend to want things separate but I love love love the bites together. Letting them surprise us is always worth it. Grilled zucchini isn’t something we have all the time but they liked it. They do not love brown rice but I think the BBQ sauce made them a bit more into it, and we don’t try to please everyone all the time.
Avocado would be great in here, or corn, or greens, or cheese. The rice could be any grain or starch – farro or potlenta or orzo or couscous…go wild! I usually do a grain + a protein + 2 or more veggies + drizzle of something. I like contrasts of cooked and raw veggies. Here are others!
Have you missed the grain bowls?! It has been awhile and I love love this format. We had these Cuban Rice bowls with inspiration from a cuban pressed sandwich – Pork, cheese, mustard, pickles. I didn’t have any ham but that would be traditional. These were fun for something different and have lots of ways to customize them.
Cuban Inspired Rice Bowls
Ingredients: (serves ~4-5)
1 1/2 cups rice
water/broth/bullion for the rice as dictated to prepare
1 1/2 cups pulled pork (or slices of cooked pork tenderloin)
2-3 pickle spears
1/4 cup white cheddar or swiss cheese
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup fried onions
Cook the rice – mine was 5 minutes in the pressure cooker and uses 2 1/4 cups water + bullion.
Warm the pork in a pan until heated through.
Chop the pickles & the cheese.
Whisk or shake together the mustard and honey.
Warm the fried onions in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble the bowls with rice, cheese, pork, pickles, and the crispy onions.
Then drizzle with honey mustard mixture and enjoy!
I loved these! Add in some chopped ham! Swap for the cheese you like! Use any kind of pickles you like- I like dill and the rest of the fam likes bread & butter pickles! Go for any grain or rice you’re into! I added the honey to the yellow mustard to mellow it out a bit but you could skip that too. The inspiration is a Cuban sandwich but I’d be open to more veggies or the mustard mixed into the rice too!
These were fun and a great deviation from other ways we enjoy pulled pork. I put a pork shoulder into the crock pot for 6 hours and this was one meal and we have ~4 more portions in the freezer for BBQ pulled pork or tacos or quesadillas or on pizza…the list goes on.
This is like a vacation! Coconut rice and pineapple are delightful on their own, then adding pork and a honey teriyaki drizzle makes magic. We loved this. The first time I made it with chicken but the pork was even better.
Pineapple Coconut Rice Bowls:
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cup water or broth
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 1/2 cup shredded pork
2 green onions
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
Cook the rice using the coconut milk and water/broth for the liquid (I used a pressure cooker- about 4 min for white rice!).
Warm the pork in a skillet over high heat to crisp up bits and add a tablespoon or so of the honey/teriyaki/bbq sauce for the last few minutes.
Add the pineapple to the rice when it has cooked completely and mix.
Assemble the bowls with rice on the bottom, the pork, and chopped green onion on top.
Drizzle bowls with the remaining sauce. Enjoy!
These were so good and a great use for pork. I love rice in the pressure cooker and it is so fast. The coconut and pineapple flavors are bright and easy to have anytime.
The pork shoulder in the crockpot for 8 hours became this, some went on pizza, and lots froze to be separate meals other times. We’ll use some for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and some smaller portions will go in quesadillas or nachos or something.
It has been awhile since I shared some grain bowls and today I have a healthier twist still with some indulgent flavors. These have chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, and quinoa. The little bit of bacon adds great flavor and the small amount of chicken gets bulked up with an equal amount of mushrooms.
Chicken BLT Grain Bowl
Ingredients: (for 4)
3 cups quinoa prepared or other grain
1 teaspoon ranch dressing mix
8 oz portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lg chicken breast or 1 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups lettuce, or greens, chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup ranch dressing
Prepare the quinoa (or grain) and stir in the dry dressing mix.
Saute the mushrooms in butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until golden – about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then remove from the heat.
Spoon the quinoa into 4 bowls then top each with mushrooms, chicken, tomato, lettuce, and bacon.
Drizzle with ranch and enjoy!
I loved this. Quinoa is not my fav grain but I do like variety so I prepped some to have around- and with the flavors of bacon and ranch, it seemed like any grain would be fine! I normally go for brown rice or farro- I like the bite of those.
I love grain bowls to get some fresh and rich bites all together. These are also a great way to stretch a small amount of chicken, or lots of small amount of veggies! I also love grain bowls for personalization. Not into mushrooms? Throw in some zucchini. No greens on hand? Swap for avocado. This is great packed for lunch, if you go somewhere, or lunch/dinner at home.
Will I ever run out of grain bowls? Actually – don’t answer that. I seriously loooove the combo of a grain + something cooked/warm + something cool/raw finished with a drizzle. They are also a fantastic way to hit lots of food groups while using up small quantities of things!
The littles aren’t enchanted by shrimp lately so I skipped them on this one and made it just for myself. It was a good thing because this was spi-cy. This would be great with any fish or chicken or beef.
Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowls
Ingredients: (for 2)
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1/4 cup sour cream
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (plus 2 teaspoons of sauce)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lime juice
8 jumbo shrimp, pealed and deveined
1/4 cup tomatoes
1/2 cup black beans
Cook the rice.
In a food processor or blender, mix together the sour cream, chipotle pepper plus 1 teaspoons of sauce, honey, and lime juice.
In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add in butter and remaining teaspoon of adobo sauce.
Slice tomatoes and avocado.
Layer into two bowls and drizzle with chipotle lime sauce.
The sauce is spi-cy. Next time I’d tone it down a bit (by halving the chipotle) but I liked it. The rice and the avocado and the beans all help the spice. It was great for something different. In a pinch I’m known to mix ranch with salsa for a creamy drizzle too.
You know I loooove a grain bowl and this one was perfect for the season. It is totally vegetarian, nearly vegan, filling, fitting for the season and quick! Who doesn’t need more veggies and whole grains this time of year? The tart dried cranberries and the sweet honey mustard drizzle are ideal here. Making the farro in advance and par-roasting the veggies gives a great head start.
Winter Veggie Grain Bowl
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 cup dried farro
3 cups water or broth
1/2 butternut squash, pealed
~2 cups mushrooms
~2 oz of sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup honey mustard or balsamic reduction or spicy honey
Add the farro and water/broth to a low boil. Cook for ~30 minutes until tender (or make in advance).
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
While the farro is cooking, peal and chop the butternut squash. Spread it out onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake.
Chop the zucchini and add to the sheet pan.
Bake for ~15 minutes, adding the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt & pepper to cook for the last five minutes.
Slice the cheese and break into crumbles.
Plate farro onto the bottom of the bowls or plates, top with veggies, then add dried cranberries and cheese.
Drizzle with honey mustard. Enjoy!
I really loved this one. The preschooler and toddler each loved it. The chewy farro has such texture with the roasted veggies. Swap the veggies for your fav and the drizzle of your choice. To me, the must haves here are the farro + dried cranberries + cheese. If meat is a must have, sausage or shredded roasted chicken would be good.