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Eat Well Jan. 21. 2014

The Guide to Making a Nourish Bowl

Jan. 21. 2014
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


A go-to recipe that’s a beautiful balance of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, healthy fats and quality proteins.

I’m excited to share with you all one of my favorite go-to “recipes” that I’ve been eating for years. I’ve finally come up with the perfect way to describe it – the Nourish Bowl. When I first shared one of my Nourish Bowls on Instagram, it became one of my most popular posts for good reason… it’s easy and so delicious! The root of the Nourish Bowl is choosing nutrient dense veggies, fruits/carbohydrates, healthy fats, and quality proteins to make a filling meal in a bowl. It’s essentially a macrobiotic bowl or macro bowl, so keep reading to learn the nutrition of a macro bowl and how to make your own!

Without fail, this is one of my staple recipes I eat at least once a day. I think the rest of you will catch on and soon become lovers of this “recipe”, too! So first things first, what is a Nourish Bowl? Basically, it’s what I call a huge salad bowl with the base being dark leafy greens, topped with a protein, a carbohydrate, and a healthy fat. It’s a perfect meal-in-a-bowl and completely nourishing when you’re choosing your toppings wisely. Below is a breakdown of ingredients that you can start making for your own Nourish Bowl, and I also include a recipe for my very favorite one that I hope you’ll try as well! 

Pictured {shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, purple sweet potatoes, quinoa, chickpeas, hemp seeds, avocado, roasted brussells sprouts, red onion, cherry tomatoes on top of romaine and spinach lettuce}



Spinach, romaine, arugula, kale, micro greens, sprouts, mustard greens, swiss chard, etc.


Tempeh, beans, quinoa and lentils (starchy-proteins), hemp seeds, nuts/seeds, nutritional yeast (not a “protein”, but loaded with plant-based protein). Vegetarian-friendly (ovo-, pesca-, lacto-): farm fresh eggs and wild-caught fish. Animal proteins: quality sources only.

Healthy fats

Avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, truffle oil


Carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, snap peas, peas, radish, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower; any and all veggies you enjoy!


Sweet potatoes, quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice, beans (starchy-protein), corn and peas  (starchy veggie).


Strawberries, pears, banana, papaya, mango, grapes, raspberries, apples, etc.


Fermented veggies like kimchi or sauerkraut, homemade salad dressings [try my favorite Sweet Tahini Drizzle], kelp/dulse granules and flakes for added iodine and minerals, nutritional yeast, homemade hummus, apple cider vinegar (a must!), fresh lemon juice


My favorite is 2 tablespoons hummus + 2-4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar + 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast = a super thick and creamy dressing.

**BONUS recipe

Take my Nourishing Nut & Seed Bread, cut into cubes, toast until crunchy and golden brown = gluten free/ vegan-friendly salad croutons!


TIP: utilize your batch cooking day to prepare some of these Nourish Bowl ingredients ahead of time. I.e. washing, cutting, preparing other veggies or grilling/baking/preparing proteins of your choice. It’ll save you so much time during a busy week.

On my batch cooking day, I’ll always have tempeh, beans, sweet potatoes, massaged kale salad, and roasted veggies galore to use throughout the week. The Nourish Bowl is the exact dish I use many of these prepared “meal components”. You simply start with a big bed of dark leafy greens, add your favorite toppings, drizzle a delicious dressing or squeeze of fresh lemon, and you’re good to go! Literally, lunch or dinner in under 10 minutes.

I hope you all enjoy the Nourish Bowl as much as I do! Get creative, have fun and be sure to send me pictures of your Nourish Bowl creations. I want to see them so use the hashtag #nutritionstripped.

With a full belly,

xo McKel

The Recipe

Serves 1



2 cups romaine, roughly chopped

1 cup spinach

4-5 roasted brussels sprouts (from batch cooking day)

1 roasted sweet potato

1/2 cup carrots, shredded or diced

1/4 cup cucumber, sliced thinly

1/4 of an avocado

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 tablespoons hummus (of your choice)

freshly squeezed lemon

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

dash of kelp granules

dash of cayenne pepper (optional)



Start by filling a large salad bowl with the dark leafy greens.

Next, top with all the remaining vegetables, sweet potatoes, and hemp seeds; piling them in their own “spot” in the bowl (as pictured).

You can arrange each ingredient in a pile and then wait to stir everything together, or you can simply top the dark leafy greens with all the remaining ingredients at the same time and stir thoroughly.

The nutritional yeast + the hummus + the apple cider vinegar makes for a thick and creamy dressing on it’s own.

Serve and enjoy!

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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • This looks great! I’d say my own version of this would be hitting up the Whole Foods salad bar. I love grabbing a bowl for lunch or dinner and filling it with all sorts of veggies. It’s a great way to try new things without have to buy a lot.

    • Hi Dana,
      Thank you! I’m a huge fan of a meal in a bowl (as I’m sure everyone on Instagram can tell!). Hope you enjoy

    • Zenon

      Very economical way to prepare meal in this regard and providing unaltered natural food when we eat. Obeying our natural instincts is part and parcel of good health that comes with it. The dish looks inviting.

  • Anne|Craving Something Healthy

    Just beautiful Mckel! I’m always trying to get across the idea of including several food groups on one plate and this “recipe” does that so beautifully! I’ll be sharing this I’m sure!

    • Hi Anne,
      Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy and have fun with your own creations- be sure to tag me so I can see them as well 🙂

  • jen

    My sister just told me about your blog and this is such a great post for me to start with. This looks SO yummy! Can’t wait to make it.

  • Adriana

    I make something quite similar that a friend call’s “Adriana’s Dream Bowl”. I noticed the portion size you made is a lot more than I would make… just curious, what would be the Nutritional Values for your serving?

    • Hi Adriana,
      Portions are different for everyone depending on your goals and health/fitness goals. If a salad is a meal it should be quite well balanced. I don’t have the nutrition information on this recipe as it changes daily depending on what and what everyone else puts in it! It’s a guideline 🙂

  • Gorgeous! I love how fresh veggies make such a beautiful meal…. Gotta try that dressing. I love hummus, mustard and balsamic as a dressing but yours sounds equally tantalizing. 🙂

    • Hi Janet,
      So glad you’re enjoying this “recipe” and I hope you enjoy! Be sure to tag Nutrition Striped so I can see!

  • This looks incredible! I feel like I eat something like this super often, it just doesn’t look quite as pretty haha! I love those “toss everything in a bowl and eat” kind of meals, so yum.

    • Hi Melissa,
      Haha- mine doesn’t always look this pretty either- it’s for the photography 😉 So glad you’re enjoying these- be sure to tag me on Instagram/facebook!

  • Callie

    This looks perfectly satisfying! I must have missed the post on batch cooking, so thanks for linking it again–I’d love to eat like this more often but always forget about prep time! I had a really delicious bowl like this at a restaurant recently, but it was served warm with roasted vegetables and tahini dressing. A good twist for these cold days!

  • Terese Scollard RD

    Saw this great recipe and thought that had to be by a dietitian!!…sure enought, I was right!

  • Misty

    🙂 That is all just 🙂

  • Carleigh

    Great blog- great variety of recipes and foods to try.

    I’m wondering how you prefer to cook your brussels sprouts?

    • Hi Carleigh,
      I actually have a recipe called Balsamic Brussels that gives you a way to roast them 😉 Enjoy!

  • Misty

    My lunch every day this week! Makes me feel like super woman! So
    Pretty in my Wooden bowl

  • Amy

    I will often make salads in the summertime with garden produce, my favorite is spinach, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese 2%, sunflower seeds and no dressing. Obviously the cottage cheese wouldn’t be considered a healthy oil but is it really that bad especially since I’m not using any salad dressing. Feedback is fine.

    • Hi Amy,
      Great question- cottage cheese is perfectly fine! I personally don’t use dairy or gluten in my cooking because I’m sensitive to it, but in general it’s not because I don’t think dairy isn’t healthy- just for some.

  • Mandy

    this looks great! how would you alter this to make it paleo freindly?

  • Cannot wait to try this!

    Random question though: Where did you buy this beautiful bowl you serve it in??

    • Thank you so much! It was a gift many years ago I wish I knew where from! Be sure to share your remake #nutritionstripped 😉

  • FoodGeekGraze

    so much amazing information, so many beautiful photos, and such an intriguing style of instruction… i am a fan!!! grateful~

  • Marta

    I find it kind of weird that fish is put under vegetarian friendly…? Either way, these are so cute and colorful. I love love l o v e anything put into a bowl. Love your new web layout too!

    • Pescatarian is a form of vegetarianism where one eats fish! Hope you enjoy and thank you for your kind words 🙂

  • Lynn

    As a new vegetarian (2.5 months), I really like how clean this bowl is. I made this last night for dinner. Super easy to take for lunch. Works well (for me) in a wrap. Lots of easy options for variety while keeping it clean. Prep time can be involved with cooking sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.

    • Hi Lynn,
      So glad you’re enjoying it! I love easy meals in a bowl and great additions with the sweet potatoes 😉

  • Jodi

    Hi, I would love to share this article with my friends on Facebook but the link is not working for me, is it just me?

    I have only just discovered your website and as I am just starting out studying nutrition it is an absolute inspiration for me!

    Thank you

    • Jodi

      Sorry, the link worked on my iPad but doesn’t on my iMac! I am a technical gumbo….
      Your photography is beautiful, do you take these photo’s yourself? What kind of camera do you use if you don’t mind me asking


      • Thank you Jodi, so glad you’re enjoying it! I do all my photography thank you! I like Cannon DSLR’s 😉

  • Jessica

    Thank you so much for your beautiful blog! I discovered it yesterday and cannot stop reading – I made a nourish bowl for lunch today (it wasn’t as wonderful as yours, I only used what I already had) but it was wonderful and will definitely become a staple meal for me – so easy and yet so delicious and nutritious! I absolutely love that you give ingredients and different ways that you make yours – it’s so helpful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing with us!!

    • Hi Jessica,
      Thank you so much for sharing, I’m glad you’re enjoying the Nourish Bowl as much as I obviously do 😉 xx mh

  • Kelly Sartorius

    I love all your recipes! I would love if you posted a meal idea post/section that paired which sides go well with which main courses/desserts/etc. I’m having a hard time deciding what I think will go well together!

  • Abbi*tarian

    I just came across this last night, so of course, I had to make a super quick impromptu version for my late night snack! (I’m hypoglycemic & have to eat every few hours.) I tossed baby spinach, garbanzo beans, sweet onion & raw broccoli with a little of a lemon, herb salad dressing (my healthy fat) & a topping of roasted garlic hummus – Yum! For a meal I can’t wait to hunt down purple sweet potatoes & make it all more complete, but as a quick snack, last night’s try was so healthy & easy – thank you!

    • Abbi*tarian

      Oh, I mean add a few other things besides the sweet potato, too to make it more complete. Adding just it would be too much sugars for me. I have to add those roasted brussels, too :0).

    • Thanks for sharing Abbi, so glad you enjoyed this combination for a quick meal or snack! Hope to see you try some of my other recipes!

  • elaine

    I do this with sushi ingredients. Lazy sushi – rice, real crab, avocado, cucumber, carrots, sesame oil and soy sauce, sometimes with bits of nori tossed on top.

  • Brandi

    Lovely! What a refreshing change from my regular salads. I really enjoyed the dressing; simple, easy, fast, and delicious! I can’t wait to try another. I’m growing rather tired of my trusty olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Thanks! 🙂

  • Diane

    The photo has onions, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and a grain; but these are not in the recipe.

    • Exactly right! In the blog post I talk about the versatility of this “recipe” as it’s more of a template and a guide to use than an exact recipe. Enjoy!

  • Kimberly

    Hi, How do you prepare your lettuces? do you wash and how do you store it to last all week? thanks!

    • McKel Hill

      I wash them after I bring them home from the grocery store and store them in an reuseable bag or container and then wash them before I eat them- they always last up to a week for me!

  • Michael Severance

    This looks absolutely beautiful. I want to serve this at my café.

  • silvia

    So the hemp seeds go into the bowl… the nutritional yeast, hummus and apple cider vinegar make the dressing… but what do you do with the lemon juice?

    • McKel Hill

      That’s right- all of those are just drizzled on top of the salad and mixed around! Again, this is just 1 recipe and idea for dressing- there are so many other ways to dress this salad 😉

  • Birdie

    That’s the way I eat, make sure you steam broccoli for 30 seconds before eating it breaks down in the body easier and the nutrients are better absorbed.

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