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Prepare Your Own One-Bowl Meal for a Cheaper Dining Option

Skip the lines by creating your own delicious feast using a simple checklist

Photo illustration of shrimp and veggies falling in a bowl.


En español | Lunch and dinner bowls are the rage at trendy restaurants. Now preparing them just got easier. Here’s how to make them at home and chop the cost:

Get started

  • Use one or more ingredients from each of the five categories below and choose one international flavor profile. 
  • Find a sauce in your market’s global-foods section: ssamjang, chutney, hot sauce, salsa, pesto, chimichurri, romesco, aioli, tahini or peanut sauce.
  • Save money by using leftovers.
  • To save time, use prechopped fresh vegetables.

Choose a base ingredient

½ cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur, farro, barley, whole-grain pasta

Choose a lean protein 

3–4 ounces cooked meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, eggs, tofu 

Choose vegetables 

1–2 cups Vary colors and textures

Choose a sauce

1–3 tablespoons Sriracha, harissa, soy, sweet chili — or pick a sauce listed above

Choose a garnish

1–3 tablespoons nuts, dried fruits, fresh herbs, pickled veggies, cheese

Take these basic steps and then add your own flair to create these delicious dishes: