Have you ever tried making nourish bowls? These nourishing bowls of healthy goodness incorporate your favorite veggies, proteins, and grains into a hearty and satisfying dish. Then everything is drizzled with a tangy lemon tahini sauce to make a craveable entrée that celebrates cold weather cuisine. Read on to learn to make your own nourish bowls, including vegan, vegetarian, and low carb options!
These nourish bowls with chicken truly tick all of the boxes. The seasonal bounty of winter squash, Brussels sprouts, and beets provide a colorful canvas for this delicious recipe. We’ve also got fiber-rich quinoa, lean protein, and a tahini sauce with healthy fats to help round out the meal.
Eating more veggies is likely a good idea for most people. Those in the United States, on average, are not consuming vegetables at the recommended levels. This is true across all age groups.
My family does meet the recommended intake for vegetables on most days. However, we aren’t perfect and there are times when we’re not eating as well as usual. Some common examples include holidays and family vacations.
These nourish bowls are the perfect solution for when I want to get more veggies into our diets before a holiday or other special occasion. I like to think that it helps to balance out our diet a bit.
If you are seeking a bit more dietary balance as well, I hope you enjoy this meal. The colorful phytonutrients are a feast for the eyes and may benefit your health if you eat your veggies often.
- What to Put in a Nourish Bowl
- The BEST Nourish Bowls
- How to Make Nourish Bowls
- Making Nourish Bowls (continued)
- Finishing the Nourish Bowls Recipe
- How to Store
- Veggie Prep Tips
- Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- More Recipes that Pack in the Veggies
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Nourish Bowl Recipe Ideas
- And now for the disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
What to Put in a Nourish Bowl
Nourish bowls are similar to the Butcher Block Recipe in that these are flexible recipes. Here’s the basic formula I use for building a nourish bowl:
- Vegetables: Stick with low carb veggies, add veggies with healthy carbs, or use a mix! Don’t feel limited by the veggies I used below. Add some sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, or other vegetables you’d enjoy. The sky’s the limit!
- Protein: No nourish bowl is complete without a source of protein! I used sliced, grilled chicken breast. You could also use thin strips of grilled steak, flavored tofu, edamame, tempeh, Zaatar chickpeas, or whatever floats your boat.
- Healthy fats: Healthy fats are coming at you from multiple sources in this recipe. We’re roasting the vegetables in olive oil, plus we’ve got the tahini sauce rich in sesame seeds, and the crunchy squash seed topping.
- Whole grains (or low carb alternatives): I consider whole grains to be optional in nourish bowls. That said, some prefer to make a grain-based bowl rather than a veggie-based bowl. Instead of the quinoa I used, feel free to use brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, farro, sorghum, or even cauliflower “rice.”
- Superfood Sauce: Don’t forget the sauce! My lemon-tahini sauce definitely adds some zing to these bowls. You could also use tzatziki, another yogurt sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice, pesto sauce, chipotle sauce, BBQ sauce, salsa, guacamole, or homemade ranch dressing.
- Toppings for texture and crunch: Here’s your chance to add another layer of flavor to your nourish bowls. I used fruit (pomegranate arils), herbs, and squash seeds. You could also add nuts, chia seeds, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, cheese, or your favorite seasonings and spices.
- Anything else you'd like! Did I forget anything? Hummus? Kimchi? Fermented red cabbage sauerkraut? Go for it!
The BEST Nourish Bowls
Why are you going to LOVE these dairy free nourish bowls? Here are some of the reasons I’m digging them right now:
- Healthy: We’ve got tons of nutrient-dense whole foods in this one. With this one meal, you’re meeting the RDA for vitamins A and C, getting over 40 grams of protein, and over 17 grams of fiber. I wasn't kidding- these healthy nourish bowls will definitely nourish you!
- Fun Way to Try New Foods: One time when I made these, I used honeynut squash, a cross between a butternut and buttercup squash. This time I swapped out the Brussels sprouts for Brussels sprouts tops (more on that below). Did you find a new-to-you veggie while grocery shopping? Try it here!
- Meal Prep: This nourish bowl recipe can absolutely be part of your meal prepping plan. Keep the quinoa, chicken, and veggies separate so they can be reheated when ready to eat. Drizzle on the tahini sauce and add the toppings after heating.
- Special Diets: Want a vegetarian nourish bowl? How about a gluten free nourish bowl? With a few minor swaps, you can make a nourish bowl that fits your dietary needs.
- Delicious: One of the top reasons that people choose a food is simply because they enjoy it. We really enjoyed these nourish bowls and we think you will too, since they can be customized however you’d like!
It’s time to hit the farmer’s market or your favorite grocery store for produce! You’re going to want to pick the best seasonal bounty for these nourish bowls. Here’s what you need:
- Chopped beets
- Sliced carrots
- Thickly sliced red onion and yellow onion
- Halved Brussels sprouts
- Sliced butternut squash and seeds (or another favorite winter squash)
- Olive oil
- Chicken breast
- Dried thyme and dried rosemary
- Pomegranate arils
- Finely chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and black pepper
- Cooking oil spray
As I mentioned above, this time around I used Brussels sprouts tops. These are the clusters of leaves that grow at the top of the Brussels sprouts stalk. They look a bit like a very loosely packed head of cabbage, IMO.
If you don’t like the bitterness of Brussels sprouts, I’d still give this a try. We found the leaves to have a much milder flavor, like spinach, rather than like Brussels sprouts heads.
The cooking times for Brussels sprouts tops versus heads differ, so I'll provide directions for both. You could also substitute kale or broccoli leaves for Brussels sprouts tops.
For winter squash, you could use butternut, honeynut, acorn squash, delicata squash, kabocha, etc. It seems I find a new winter squash every time I go to the store. Lol Take it and throw it in this recipe!
You’ll also be making a citrus tahini sauce for your nourish bowls. Here’s what you need for that:
- Fresh lemon juice
- Zaatar seasoning
In addition, I recommend having a sharp knife, parchment paper, and roasting pan. A stovetop grill pan is nice to get lovely grill lines on the chicken, but it’s optional. If you don’t care about grill lines, you could throw the chicken in with the veggies and save yourself from having to wash another pan.
How to Make Nourish Bowls
Mise en place (i.e., prepping your ingredients before you begin) will make this recipe go so much easier. Start by washing and chopping all of your veggies:
- Cut the unpeeled beets into 1-inch pieces.
- Chop the carrots into 2–3-inch pieces.
- Only peel the squash if the skin is thick or damaged. Cut it into 1-inch-thick slices and save the seeds.
- Slice the onions into thick slices.
- Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, or into quarters if they are large. (Or cut the Brussels sprouts tops into shreds if you are using those.)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large metal roasting pan with parchment paper.
Mix the beets with ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Place them along one edge of the baking pan. Roast for 15 minutes in the top third of the oven.
Mix the onions, squash, carrots, and Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. (If you are using Brussels sprouts leaves or other leafy greens, don’t mix them with oil yet! Instead, just mix the onions, squash, and carrots with 2 tablespoons of oil.)
Add the veggies in the previous step (EXCEPT Brussels sprouts tops) to the roasting pan with the beets. Try to get everything into a single layer. Roast an additional 30 minutes at 400F.
Making Nourish Bowls (continued)
If you haven’t already, clean the squash seeds and pat them dry with a paper towel. I had approximately 2 tablespoons of seeds.
Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread the seeds on the sheet in a single layer and mist them with the oil as well.
When the time is up for the veggies, take them out of the oven to flip and stir. Mix the veggies with the dried thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Push the veggies in the pan aside to make room for the Brussels sprouts leaves (if using). Mix the leaves with 1½ tablespoons of oil and add them to the pan.
Put the roasting pan with the veggies back in the top third of the oven. Place the baking sheet with the seeds on a lower oven rack.
After 15 minutes, take the squash seeds out of the oven, salt them, and set them aside. Take the veggies out of the oven, flip and stir them once more, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Finishing the Nourish Bowls Recipe
While the vegetables are roasting, cook the quinoa in water on the stovetop. Follow the quinoa’s package directions regarding amount of water to add and cooking time.
Feel free to cook the quinoa in veggie broth instead of water for an additional layer of flavor. Quinoa generally takes about 20 minutes.
Cook the chicken breasts on a stovetop grill pan that has been misted with cooking spray. They take about 8-10 minutes per side. (Pro tip: skip this step by using store-bought grilled chicken strips.)
Make sure the chicken reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set it aside.
Finally, you’ll need to make the tahini dressing. Whisk the tahini, garlic, water, lemon juice, and zaatar seasoning together. The dressing will seem thin at first but it thickens as it sits.
To serve, distribute the quinoa between the bowls. Top with the grilled chicken and roasted vegetables. Drizzle the bowls with the lemon and tahini sauce.
Top your nourish bowls with pomegranate seeds, the roasted squash seeds, and finely chopped parsley. Enjoy all of the colors and textures you’ve brought together. Savor your beautiful meal and be nourished!
How to Store
You can keep leftover nourish bowls in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I recommend keeping the sauce and toppings separate until after reheating the rest of the dish. Any leftovers that are not consumed within 3-4 days should be frozen.
Veggie Prep Tips
One downside of these nourish bowls is the work needed to chop all of the produce. I would save this dish for the weekend instead of a hectic weeknight. If time is your main concern, here are a few tips to make prepping veggies (and fruit!) easier:
- Don't waste time peeling veggies that don't need peeling.
You don’t have to peel the beets or carrots in this recipe! If you choose a small butternut squash, honeynut, or delicata, you don’t have to peel those either. Keeping the (edible) skins and peels on your fruits and veggies saves time, prevents food waste, and provides more fiber.
The rinds of larger winter squashes (acorn, kabocha, etc.) are technically edible. However, I don’t find them as palatable as the rinds from small squash, so I always peel large squash.
- Use this trick to cut fresh pomegranates with minimal clean up.
Try cutting your fresh pomegranate in a bowl of water. The bowl catches juices that may stain your clothes or cutting board.
After cutting, I break the pieces apart with my fingers and pull out the seeds. Do this over a bowl or paper towel, since the fruit will be drippy. It results in very little mess!
- There’s no shame in shortcuts.
Another way to save time is to use fresh precut squash and pomegranate seeds that have already been removed from the fruit. These prepared items tend to cost a little more, but they may be of value to you if you’re very short on time.
- Here’s one more nourish bowl tip!
Since we're roasting the squash seeds, choose a squash with seeds you like. Honestly, I enjoy most types of roasted squash seeds aside from kabocha. Delicata seeds are a personal favorite.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). If you need a level 1 recipe (under 500 calories), try skipping the quinoa and replacing some of the starchy veggies with non-starchy ones. I've made this recipe without the quinoa before, and my family thought it was fine without it!
There are other “carb-y” foods here (beets, winter squash), so simply removing the grain does not make this one keto-friendly, FYI. However, if you nix the quinoa and replace the beets and squash with non-starchy veggies, you’ve got yourself a low calorie and low carb nourish bowl. Try adding cauliflower, sweet bell peppers, and/or broccoli for your non-starchy veggies.
On the flip side, you could add more quinoa, starchy veggies, and tahini sauce for a higher calorie meal. Another thing you could do is use some extra olive oil to roast your veggies.
With 120 calories per tablespoon, olive oil is a healthy but high calorie ingredient. Using it generously may be helpful if your goal is weight gain. Keep in mind that the nutrition information provided for the recipe is no longer accurate if you add or subtract ingredients.
More Recipes that Pack in the Veggies
Are you looking for more ways to eat more vegetables? Nourish bowls aren’t the only game in town! Be sure to check these veggie-licious recipes out:
- Eggplant Parmesan Bites
- Wildflower Bread Chopped Salad Copycat
- Veggie-Filled Salmon Salad with Sesame-Orange Dressing
- Air Fryer Frozen Hash Browns (Hey, potatoes definitely count as a vegetable too!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, these nourish bowls are filled with wholesome ingredients. You’re getting lean protein, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids, and beneficial phytonutrients here. If you add a glass of milk (or calcium-fortified and protein-packed soymilk) all of your food groups will be covered.
I’ve seen Mann’s Nourish Bowls available at Costco, Walmart, and many of my local mainstream supermarket chains. That said, I’m partial to homemade nourish bowls because you can skip the ultra-processed foods with DIY nourish bowls. If your store-bought nourish bowl uses certain veggies you like, incorporate those ingredients into this recipe to make a copycat.
You can make your nourish bowl low calorie and filling by focusing in on the non-starchy vegetables and lean protein. In this recipe, I’d skip the quinoa and use non-starchy veggies (such as cauliflower) in place of the squash. These swaps make these nourish bowls low carb as well.
You can freeze nourish bowls if you skip the toppings of fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds. Keep the veggies, chicken, and quinoa separate from the sauce until you are ready to reheat and eat.
Other Nourish Bowl Recipe Ideas
We don’t have to officially call it a “nourish bowl” to have it be a nourishing bowl of food! Here are some other bowl recipes packed with veggies, protein, and other nourishing ingredients that you may enjoy:
- Deconstructed Sushi Bowl (California Roll Style)
- Unrolled Egg Rolls Bowl
- Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma Bowls
- Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Bowl
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let's get cooking!
Nourish Bowls (Dairy free, Vegetarian and Vegan Options)
- 1 lb. beets, washed, chopped into 1" pieces
- 3 medium carrots, sliced lengthwise, cut into 2"-3" pieces
- ½ medium red onion, cut into thick slices
- ½ medium yellow onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, cut in half (OR 1 lb. of Brussels sprouts tops, cut into shreds)
- 1 small butternut squash, sliced lengthwise, cut into 1" thick slices (Save the seeds! I had about 3 cups of squash.)
- 3½ tablespoons olive oil, divided (You'll need 4 tablespoons of olive oil if using Brussels sprouts tops)
- 1 lb. chicken breast
- ¾ cup dry quinoa
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 medium pomegranate (seeds only) (about 1 cup of pomegranate seeds)
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooking oil spray of choice
For the lemon-tahini sauce:
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon zaatar seasoning
- Wash and cut all of your veggies before beginning this recipe. I've provided information on how each veggie should be cut in the ingredients list.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the beets in a metal roasting pan that was covered with parchment paper. Drizzle the beets with ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes in the top third of the oven.
- While the beets bake, mix the onions, squash, carrots, and Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. (Note: If you are using Brussels sprouts leaves or other leafy greens, don’t mix them with oil yet! Instead, just mix the onions, squash, and carrots with 2 tablespoons of oil.)
- Add the veggies in the previous step (EXCEPT Brussels sprouts tops) to the roasting pan with the beets. Try to get everything into a single layer. Roast an additional 30 minutes at 400F.
- While the veggies bake, clean the squash seeds and pat dry. Mist a dark baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread the seeds on the sheet in a single layer and mist them with more cooking spray.
- When the time is up for the veggies, take them out of the oven to flip and stir. Mix the veggies with the dried thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Push the veggies in the pan aside to make room for the Brussels sprouts leaves (if using). Mix the leaves with 1½ tablespoons of oil and add them to the pan. Turn the oven down to 350°F.
- Put the roasting pan with the veggies back in the top third of the oven. Place the baking sheet with the seeds on a lower oven rack.
- After 15 minutes, take the squash seeds out of the oven, salt them, and set them aside. Take the veggies out of the oven, flip and stir them once more, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa in water according to the quinoa's package directions. This will take about 20 minutes. Set the quinoa aside.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken breasts. Cook the chicken breasts on a stovetop grill pan that has been misted with cooking spray. It takes about 8-10 minutes per side. (Pro tip: skip this step by using store-bought grilled chicken strips.) Grilled chicken should reach a minimum safe internal temperature of 165°F.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized slices. Set the chicken aside.
- Now make the tahini sauce. Whisk the tahini, garlic, water, lemon juice, and zaatar seasoning together. The dressing will seem thin at first but it thickens as it sits.
- Distribute the quinoa between the bowls or meal prep containers. Top with the chicken and roasted veggies.
- Drizzle the bowls with the lemon-tahini sauce. (Note: keep the tahini dressing and toppings separate if you are meal prepping.)
- Top the bowls with the pomegranate seeds, squash seeds, and fresh parsley. Admire your beautiful and delicious masterpieces!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). If you need a level 1 recipe (under 500 calories), try skipping the quinoa and replacing some of the starchy veggies with non-starchy ones. I've made this recipe without the quinoa before, and my family thought it was fine without it! There are other “carb-y” foods here (beets, winter squash), so simply removing the grain does not make this one keto-friendly, FYI. However, if you nix the quinoa and replace the beets and squash with non-starchy veggies, you’ve got yourself a low calorie and low carb nourish bowl. Try adding cauliflower, sweet bell peppers, and/or broccoli for your non-starchy veggies. On the flip side, you could add more quinoa, starchy veggies, and tahini sauce for a higher calorie meal. Another thing you could do is use some extra olive oil to roast your veggies. With 120 calories per tablespoon, olive oil is a healthy but high calorie ingredient. Using it generously may be helpful if your goal is weight gain. Keep in mind that the nutrition information provided for the recipe is no longer accurate if you add or subtract ingredients. Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.