Why your meals should be served in bowls

Forget about plates, food blogger and author Sara Forte says all you need is a bowl and spoon for the perfect meal.

Designed to be eaten with just a spoon, Sara Forte’s signature grain-filled meals are the kind of everyday healthy fare you can curl up with on your couch after a hard workout. “I call them bowl foods,” says the dynamo food blogger behind Sprouted Kitchen. “They’re about throwing together whole grains and vegetables in a simple, comfortable way—packing in max nutrition while using what I already have in the fridge.”

We like to think of Forte’s bowls as a modern, healthier take on the kitchen sink salad: Toss everything nutritious in your fridge together, grab a spoon and go. But if you’d like a little more guidance, you’re in luck. Forte just released her second cookbook, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon this week, and it’s full of easy, healthy recipes for her kick-butt bowls.

Q spoke with Forte about her favorite produce, creative cooking oils and finding time to eat a healthy breakfast.

Q: You’re a self-proclaimed produce nut. Tell us what veggies you’re obsessed with right now.
A: I'm so thankful spring produce is coming in because the winter selection is a little dismal. I miss good fruit! I'm still riding the kaletrend, specifically baby kales mixed with shredded Brussels for sturdy, slaw-type salads. With Curran, my toddler, in the house, I make things in bulk that will keep for a few days so I can grab a meal quickly. I also do a lot of roasted carrots with tahini dressing or mixed with cooked quinoa. The season is tuckering out but I am forever obsessed with pomegranate seeds...on salads, on yogurt, on oatmeal. Everywhere, please.

Q: The new book has a really helpful section on kitchen tools. What's the top tool that helps you eat more healthfully?
A: Thank you, I’m glad you liked that section. I would say a good mandolin, which allows me to slice up vegetables super thin or shred them nicely so I can make pretty grain salads or slaws that are easy to keep on hand in the fridge—see toddler distraction above! I won't really reach for a bag of carrot sticks, but if I make a pretty shredded carrot salad with some toasted nuts, lentils and herbs—a lunch that looks more intentional—I'll fill up on more vegetables than carb-heavy and sugary snacks.

Q: We love how some of your recipes use coconut oil—nice to break out of using olive oil allthe time. What other types of oil do you use?
A: Olive oilis the most versatile, but I have been using coconut oil for higher-heat roasting or in baked goods. It gives a hint of the tropics. When I make salads, I will use a good nut oil—my favorites are pistachio and walnut—and some fresh Meyer lemon juice for the acid. Nut oils are pricier and can spoil quickly, so I save them for when you'll really taste it, like on a green salad.

Q: Your morning bowls look amazing! How do you find the time to make them?
A: Let me be frank that my breakfasts do not always look amazing. I eat granola quite frequently and make a big batch on Sundays that gets us through the week. Curran is hungry in the morning just like myself, so I try to keep his finger foods chopped and ready to buy myself 10 minutes to throw something together for my husband, Hugh, and myself. I sprinkle some pear and avocado chunks on his high chair tray and hustle to manage some eggs together. It's a multitasking game, really. It's not necessarily leisurely, but breakfast is my favorite meal so we make it happen.

Get bowl recipes by Sara Forte:
The Hippie Bowl
The Tropical Smoothie Bowl