Delectable Dime

meal planning on a budget

The Whole Bowl

Delectable Dime

The Whole Bowl by Faith Escher

I remember a time in my life when the only thing I ate out of a bowl was cereal, soup or salad, so to me, a bowl didn’t seem like a meal as much as it seemed like a side or a snack. It was simple and healthy, but it wasn’t satisfying on its own. Recently though, I have discovered the most amazing recipes that all have two things in common, they are delicious and they are in a bowl! I have become obsessed with the idea of a whole meal existing in one pretty bowl, and now my plates rarely find their way out of the cupboard unless I am having company. Eating bowls has become one of my favorite ways to live delectably on a dime…

D – Delicious! There is something about eating out of a bowl that feels so much more satiating to me than eating off of a plate. A plate at times feels compartmentalized; whereas, a bowl is designed, with each ingredient in mind, all mixed together to become a unified experience. The veggies balancing together, some sweet and some savory, to create a well-rounded and healthy delight lying atop a scoop of warm nutty protein packed grains. I love the addition of a drizzle of something tangy or sweet and fresh herbs sprinkled on top to give it a pop of flavor. The bowl has given me license to explore combinations that I wouldn’t have thought possible!

I – Inexpensive! When I first moved to LA to go to college I had no spice cabinet, only a few dishes, and one shelf in a shared fridge, so I quickly discovered I would need to be creative about my new meal plans. The month before school started I began experimenting with cooking on a budget. In doing so, I would create brown rice or quinoa bowls, and throw three ingredients together to get a balanced and affordable meal. It became an exciting challenge for me to see what I could create with only three veggie ingredients, a grain, and whatever seasonings I had in my cupboard. As my spice cabinet grew, my dishes became more exciting and I started to find recipes by amazing chefs that quickly became a part of my meal plans. Quickly, one-dish meals that I could easily prepare ahead of time to take with me became a favorite staple.

M – Moderation! Eating food from a bowl is one of the best ways that I have found to eat with balance and moderation. Since the dish is a fusion of different veggies, proteins, roots, and grains, I find that I am getting a good balance of all various vitamins and minerals that I should be having in my diet. This gives me tremendous energy throughout the week. I also find that when I eat from a bowl I am eating the perfect amount for my body’s energy needs. If I make a big meal plan at the beginning of the week and separate it into portion sizes, I find it very easy to keep my meal size intentional and moderate, rather than deciding to eat extra helpings of the meal just because it tastes good. I end up being able to listen to my body and anticipate and prepare what I need to eat, and then I get to have another helping for a yummy lunch the next day!

E – Elegant! Putting several colors together in a bowl can end up looking very beautiful. I am a big fan of arranging things in a bowl so that they are not only a pleasure to taste, but also  aesthetically pleasing. I have been to restaurants where the cooks end up turning a small bowl of unique ingredients into a lovely edible piece of art. I enjoy creating symmetry or patterns in a dish; sometimes I even like to pick a fresh edible flower to put on top of my bowl. When I take the time to make my food look beautiful, I feel that I am valuing the food, honoring the people who are going to eat it, and enjoying the process.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes by amazing chefs that I have collected.

The Whole Bowl

Total Budget: $100 or less

All recipes serve 4

NOTE: Garlic (2) = how many recipes the ingredient garlic is used in. For example, “Garlic (2)” means we will be using garlic in two of our recipes for this week.

The Shopping List For All 5 Dinners

  • 1 Small garlic bulb – $0.50 each (1)
  • 1 Small package of snack seaweed – $0.99 – $1.50 each (1)
  • 6 Portobello mushrooms – $7.00 (1)
  • Small stub of ginger root – $0.50 at $3.99/lb (1)
  • 1 Lemon – $0.39 each (1)
  • 1 Ripe tomato – $0.89 (1)
  • Bag of quinoa -$6.99 -$7.99 (3)
  • 3 Limes – $0.60 at $0.19 each (1)
  • 1 Bunch of broccoli – $2.29 a bunch (1)
  • Green onion – $1 per bunch (2)
  • 1 White onion – $1 each (1)
  • 1 Small red onion $0.89 (1)
  • 1 Carton of baby bella mushrooms – $2.29 (1) *Refer to note on No. 4
  • 1 Bag of carrots – $2.49 (3)
  • 1 Cucumber – $0.99 (1)
  • 1 Bin or bag of your favorite greens – $5.00 (1) *For poke bowl and lunches
  • Sesame seeds – $1.99 – $2.98 (2)
  • Smooth natural peanut butter – $2.49 (2)
  • 1 Bag of peanuts – $3.29 (3)
  • 1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro – $1 per bunch (3)
  • 4 Sweet potatoes – $2 – $3.99 (1)
  • 1 Can of coconut milk – $1.00 – $1.49 per 12-15 oz. can (1)
  • 1 Package extra-firm tofu – $2.49 (1)
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper – $0.39 – $0.99 (1)
  • 1 Small bunch of Rosemary – $0.99 (1)
  • Ground Cinnamon – $2.50 – $3.99 (1)
  • Ground Nutmeg – $2.50 -$3.99 (1)
  • 1 Small purple cabbage – $1.50 (1)
  • 1 Small green cabbage – $1.50 (1)

$60.23 – $68.84  *Prices may fluctuate depending on tax, store, sale and season. I paid $65.35 this week.

If you followed us last week (and or the previous weeks) you already have the following; however, if this is your first week you will need to make these additional purchases (appx $23.72) or substitute with ingredients you have in your cupboard.

  • Soy sauce or Tamari – $1.99 *GF version is usually more expensive (4)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – $2.99 for spice container (2)
  • Olive oil – $3.99 for 12 oz container (4)
  • Rice vinegar – $1.99 per bottle (4)
  • Agave nectar – $3.99 (2)
  • Red Thai Curry Paste – $2.50 (1)
  • Salt and Pepper shakers – $3.49 (2)
  • Sesame oil – $2.78 for 5 fl oz (3)

$83.95-$92.56 *Prices may fluctuate depending on tax, store, sale and season. Because I bought these items over the last couple of weeks my total was $65.35 this week.

Recipe No. 1

Portobello Poke | Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Source: The Vegetarian Times | Link to instructions

  • ¼ Cup of Arame (I used 1 small package of snack seaweed)
  • 6 Large portobello mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
  • 4 Tbs. lemon juice, divided
  • 1 Tbs. miso paste (I omitted this)
  • 1 tsp. wheat-free tamari sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Medium tomato, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 Green onions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • 1 Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 Tbs. white sesame seeds

Note: Poke is definitely one of my very favorite things in the world, so when I am trying to eat plant based, poke becomes something I miss tremendously. But I have found that there are certain veggies that you can prepare like poke and they taste amazing! This is one of the better recipes that I have found, and I hope you like it!

Recipe No. 2

Bahn Mi Tofu Bowl | Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Source: Vegetarian Times | Link to instructions

  • 1 Package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • Pinch of cornstarch (if you have it on hand, but it is not on the shopping list)
  • Pinch of salt

For the bowl:

  • 1 cup uncooked grain of choice (I used quinoa)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ¼ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • About ¼ cup chopped peanuts

For the peanut sauce:

  • ¼ cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey or (I used agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

Recipe No. 3

Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl | Cook Time: 29 Minutes

Source: Whitney Bond | Link to instructions

  • 4 cups sweet potato (peeled & small dice)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup carrots (shredded)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup peanuts (chopped)

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I used agave)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Note: If you are allergic to peanuts, I am sorry! This week is very peanut oriented…however, if there is another nut, such as almond or cashew that your body can imbibe, you can substitute the peanuts and peanut butter out for another nut and nut butter.

Recipe No. 4

Vegan Egg Roll in A Bowl | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Source: My Whole Food Life | Link to Instructions

  • 1 small cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced (Substituted for baby bellas, see shopping list)
  • 1 onion (1 white), diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 T coconut aminos (I used tamari)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • Salt (if needed)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (optional for garnish)

Recipe No. 5

Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowl | Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Source: Vicky at Avocado Pesto | Link to Instructions

Note: Recipe is for 2 serving sizes, double the recipe for 4 people.

  • 1/2 cup broccoli, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 1 lime, zest and juice (start with juice from half a lime, and add more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Thank you for following us this week and I hope that you enjoy eating delectably on a dime…and that you eat the whole bowl!

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Julie, & Orchard Street Kitchen. (2016, April 4). Banh Mi Tofu Bowl. Retrieved April 8,

2017, from www.orchardstreetkitchen.com website:


King, M. (2017, January 29). Vegan Egg Roll in A Bowl. Retrieved April 8, 2017, from

www.mywholefoodlife.com website: http://mywholefoodlife.com/2017/01/29/vegan-egg-roll-in-a-bowl/

The Vegetarian Times, & Reinfeld, M. (2013, July-Aug). Portobello Poke. The Vegetarian

Times, 57. Retrieved from http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/portobello-poke

Vicky, & Avocado Pesto. (2014, July 7). Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowl. Retrieved April 8, 2017,

from www.avocadopesto.com website: http://avocadopesto.com/2014/07/07/thai-veggie-quinoa-bowl-gluten-free-vegan/

Whitney, B. (N.D.). Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl. Retrieved April 8, 2017, from

www.whitneybond.com website: http://whitneybond.com/2017/01/09/thai-peanut-sweet-potato-buddha-bowl-recipe/



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