Sometimes, when I feel a bit lazy or uninspired, I stand in front of my open refrigerator begging for an idea or an already made meal to manifest itself before me. At times like these, though I often have plenty of ingredients available to me, nothing inspires me. Finally, at that point, I rely heavily on my favorite and reliable go-to meals: rice bowl recipes! So, what exactly are rice bowls and how easy are they to make?
What Is a Rice Bowl?
The basic premise of a rice bowl is simple enough. It involves piling protein, veggies, and sauce on top of a bed of fluffy rice. With each bite, you get a bit of all the ingredients. This gives you a medley of flavors and textures. The best part of rice bowls involves the ability to mix and match ingredients based on what you have in the refrigerator or what you are in the mood to eat.
While some rice bowls take time to make because of marinating processes, others take less than 30 minutes to pull together. We wanted to give you different options of rice bowls based on many flavor combinations. So, for this week’s ‘Emily Recommends’ series, let’s delve into some of my favorite rice bowl recipes and ideas for you to try.
10 Rice Bowl Recipes to Enjoy at Home
We hope you enjoy all of these rice bowl recipes. We listed a range of options so that everyone can have something to enjoy. For example, we listed options for those with dietary restrictions–vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and so on. Also, we listed different foods from around the world–Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, etc. We hope you enjoy!
1. Hawaiian Poke Bowl
While poke bowls have increasingly become popular over the years on the mainland of the USA, poke originated in Hawaii approximately 50 years ago in the 1970s. Traditionally, Hawaiians made poke using freshly skinned and filleted raw fish. Then, they served the fish with Hawaiian salt, seaweed, and ground candlenut meat.
Now, poke has expanded in variety and exploded in popularity. Poke restaurants have continued to pop up across the USA as a great quick and healthy lunch alternative. Poke bowl restaurants make rice-based meals topped with different styles and varieties of raw fish, vegetables, and sauces.
There are so many types of poke bowls on the internet. If you want to learn more about the history of poke from someone native to Hawaii, I recommend checking out Kathy’s blog Onolicious Hawaii. Her blog tells you everything you need to know!
If you want a quick recipe for a poke bowl, I enjoy Natalya’s version of this dish on her blog Mom’s Dish.
Koreans take the rice bowl concept to an entirely different level. Rice is ingrained and entrenched in their food and culinary culture. Outside of Korea, bibimbap happens to be the most famous version of the Korean ‘rice bowl.’
Bibimbap consists of rice topped with a variety of sautéed vegetables, protein such as beef or tofu, hot pepper paste, and further additions like a raw or fried egg. Bibimbap is exactly what it means: a bowl of ‘mixed rice.’ As such, Koreans typically mix everything together until all the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the rice before digging in.
While many rice bowls take very little time to make, bibimbap is a bit more advanced as you need to cook each type of vegetable separately. Often, I cut down the cooking time by making bibimbap with leftover Korean side dishes I made throughout the week.
If you would like to learn how to make bibimbap, I recommend trying Sue’s recipe from My Korean Kitchen. You can find her recipe and website linked below!
3. Yoshinoya Beef Bowl (Gyudon)
Gyudon is a popular Japanese dish consisting of a bed of rice topped with thinly sliced beef and onion that was simmered in a sweet and savory sauce. Typically, the sauce includes dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. Each household has its recipe. So, their gyudon tastes slightly differently, though the basic premise remains the same.
In Japan, yoshinoya gyudon is considered to be a quick and delicious meal. We recommend checking out Nami’s recipe on her website Just One Cookbook. Not only does she go into an in-depth explanation of this cultural dish, she gives options and recommendations for popular variations available in Japan. Her recipe is my favorite!
I promise that you will enjoy this quick and easy Japanese rice bowl meal! You can check out the links to her website and recipe below.
4. Korean Tuna Mayo Rice (참치마요 Chamchi Mayo)
In South Korea, tuna mayo rice continues to trend as a popular cheap and delicious meal among young professionals and students. Typically, you can eat a bowl of tuna mayo rice at a restaurant for less than $5. That is a great deal for such a filling meal packed full of protein, vegetables, and rice!
Recently, We uploaded a recipe for Korean tuna mayo rice on our blog. You can check out the link to the recipe below!
5. Crispy Salmon Skin Rice Bowl
Have you ever read the blog Woks of Life? While their main focus is Chinese food, they venture out to include many different types of Asian recipes on their blog. One of my favorite rice bowl recipes on their website is crispy salmon skin on top of a bowl of rice.
The recipe takes very little time to make and is extremely simple. I love this blog post because it teaches us how to use every part of the salmon filet, skin and all. Many cultures use every part of an animal. This rice bowl is so simple–salmon, rice, and avocado with a sauce. Soon, you will be eating the crispy skin of salmon all the time! It is addictive!
Check out their recipe and website through the links below.
6. Build-Your-Own Buddha Bowl
A Buddha bowl, otherwise known and referred to as a hippie bowl, is a one-dish meal made up of various raw or roasted vegetables over a bed of rice. More often than not, you then add dressing on top of the bowl for further complexity and depth of flavor.
While almost all Buddha bowls you can find on the web are vegetarian or vegan, it is not a requirement.
One of my favorite recipes comes from the blog Cookie and Kate. Kate, the owner, recipe creator, and writer of the blog, focuses her time on making delicious and fresh vegetarian meals. This brown rice Buddha bowl is packed full of nutrients and flavor! You can find her recipe and website through the links below!
7. Pineapple Chicken Bowl
When I think of summer, I think of pineapple salsa–with black bean burgers, overtop chicken, and inside tacos. Nothing tastes better than juicy pineapple to help cool off during those hot months.
I believe Chelsea thinks so too on her blog Chelsea’s Messy Apron. Chelsea created a pineapple chicken recipe to top over a bowl of rice. She elevates her delicious pineapple chicken even more when she recommends topping it over coconut-lime rice.
You can go to Chelsea’s blog and delicious recipe via the links provided below!
8. Japanese Curry
In Japan, people love curry and consider it to be a quick and easy meal. Typically, families make the curry from pre-made processed curry blocks. The curry blocks contain the curry flavorings and the roux to thicken the stew around the added onions, potatoes, and chicken.
While the pre-made curry blocks are delicious, they contain many additives that aren’t healthy for constant consumption. I love Marc’s recipe for Japanese curry from scratch. You can find his recipe on his blog No Recipes. His recipe breaks down how to make fresh Japanese curry without using unhealthy additives and preservatives.
Japanese curry often tops rice–making it a warm and delicious rice bowl recipe! You can follow the links to his blog and recipe below.
9. Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl
Sometimes, you may want a rice bowl without wanting the carbs or calories that go along with the rice. We get it. We all need to cut back sometimes. For those looking to cut the rice, we recommend looking into some cauliflower rice bowl recipes and ideas. Cauliflower can imitate the texture and neutral flavor of rice with only 27 calories and 5 grams of carbs per cup. For reference, a cup of cooked long-grain white rice has 206 calories and 45 grams of carbs. Huge difference, right?!
Jeanine and Jack from the blog Love and Lemons offer a delicious cauliflower rice burrito bowl. You can enjoy all the flavors of a burrito bowl without really missing the rice! Though riced cauliflower isn’t real rice, it still makes our list of favorite rice bowl recipes and ideas!
10. Vegan Poke Bowl
For those looking for vegan and vegetarian recipes, I recommend making a ‘poke bowl’ with tofu instead of seafood! Though it is not traditional ‘poke’ without the seafood, vegan poke can still taste delicious. Using the typical marinades, soak the tofu so it can absorb all the delicious Asian flavors.
Julie, with her blog Simple Veganista, has a delicious recipe for vegan poke. Her recipe takes very little time to make and gives a strong punch of flavor. You can find her recipe via the links below!
Do You Have Any Favorite Rice Bowl Recipes?
Do you have any rice bowl recipes you enjoy? If so, we would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below to tell us your favorite rice bowl recipes, or send us an email at [email protected]!
Further, we listed past blog posts below from our ‘Emily Recommends’ series. This way, you can check out some of our previous recommendations for recipes, bloggers, books, etc., based on that week’s theme. We hope you enjoy these posts!
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