vegan macro bowl: yams, greens, red quinoa, tofu and cranberries
This how to build a macro bowl post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterWithCraisins #CollectiveBias
Macro bowls are everything I want in a meal – healthy, balanced and full of flavor. They are super convenient as well since you can just use whatever you have in your fridge. The macro bowl is the hero of leftovers in the fridge! I’m feeling this cooler weather (which in Palm Springs means super cool, breezy, perfect nights) so today’s macro bowl creation is inspired by fall flavors – yams, greens, cranberries… when the pumpkins arrive, I will probably swap the yams for them!
What the heck is a macro bowl? Is that what you are thinking? They are basically healthy rice bowls (but you can use any grain, like I used red quinoa today). They contain the three macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat and generally also are served with a dressing. You’ll see them often at vegan and vegetarian restaurants, but you can certainly create macro bowls with whatever protein you want!
Let’s break down the components so you can assemble your own creations!
carbs and grains
The grains will be the base and binder of your bowl, the thing that brings all of the other ingredients. Choose nutritious options like quinoa, farro, brown rice, lentils, barely, etc. You may also want to add additional carbs by way of a starch. I don’t eat white potatoes anymore, so yams and sweet potatoes are what I usually add.
Raw or sautéed, greens are pretty mandatory. Feel free to use whatever you like most, some good options being kale, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, etc.
To be called a macro bowl, you’re going to need some protein. I tend to stick to vegan proteins like tofu, tempeh, seitan and beans – beans are fabulous in macro bowls, especially chick peas.
For this bowl, my vegetables were only sweet potatoes and greens, but you can add pretty much any vegetable you want. Some of my favorites are zucchinis, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, green beans and brussels sprouts. Pretty much anything goes, just make sure you’re eating in-season. Roast up a big batch of veggies and keep them in the fridge for easy bowl creation throughout the week.
I like to stick my fat component in the dressing. Choose healthy fats like tahini, avocado and high quality oils and keep it simple. There is already a lot going on in the bowl, so your dressing does not have to be fancy. I generally like simply whipping tahini, lemon and garlic together and calling it done.
Macro bowls are a great place to stick in superfoods like chia and flax seeds, fermented foods or sea vegetables. I have issues with my thyroid, so I head straight to kelp, kelp noodles being my favorite option. They are crunchy raw, so they also add fun texture to the bowl.
Macro bowls are not smoothie bowls, so they tend to be very savory. Add a pop of sweetness for an unexpected flavor that brings balance to the dish. I almost always do this with dried fruits and dried cranberries are one of my faves!!
When choosing my ingredients, quality is KEY. I often search for only in-season, organic produce because they simply taste better. When choosing my dried cranberries, I go to the best – the company that is over 80 years old and owned by the very cranberry and grapefruit growers themselves! Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries have long been a staple in my pantry and they finish off this macro bowl perfectly. 1/4 cup of Craisins® Dried Cranberries provides 1/2 cup of fruit so it is a bonus nutritional addition.
I buy in bulk when I can, but Craisins® Dried Cranberries may not be available at all Sam’s Club locations. However, they are still available at a number of retailers. I found my bags at my local Ralph’s in the aisle with other dried fruits like raisins.
Fall Harvest Vegan Macro Bowl
- 1/2 cup tofu, pan fried
- 1/4 cup red quinoa, cooked
- 1/2 cup greens (chard, spinach, kale), sautéed
- 1/4 cup kelp noodles
- 1/4 cup yams or sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted
- 1/4 cup Craisins® Dried Cranberries
- favorite dressing, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring to combine. Top with dressing of choice (or don’t!). Enjoy!