Easy Rice Bowl Recipes to Try ASAP
Whenever I’m at a loss as to what to make for dinner, bowls are the answer! Rice bowls are a fabulous way to turn a bowl of cooked rice and any ingredients I have in the fridge into a well-rounded meal. They’re one of my favorite ways to improvise with leftovers, too. Begin with a base of rice and go from there!
Below, I’ve rounded up a collection of easy rice bowl recipes to get you started. Find your favorites to make for a healthy weeknight dinner, or prepare them ahead for lunches all week long. Plus, easy ideas and variations, along with helpful tips for the best rice bowls!
Why You’ll Love Rice Bowls
Wondering what to add to a bowl of white rice? With the recipes below as inspiration, you’ll never run out of tasty ways to convert a fridge full of ingredients into filling, nourishing meals. Here’s why you’ll be obsessed:
- Healthy. Rice, and especially brown rice, is a healthy grain that’s a high source of folate. Topped with your favorite proteins and veggies, rice bowls are a great way to get in your daily vitamins and minerals.
- DIY. The recipes in this round-up offer delicious inspiration. But, ultimately, you choose what goes into your rice bowl! Customize your favorite bowls with proteins, veggies, or what you have on hand. See the sections below for details.
- Great for meal prep. Rice bowls are some of the best all-in-one meals that you can prepare in advance and easily customize. If you’re looking for meal prep ideas, consider adding rice bowls to your weekly routine!
What Is a Rice Bowl?
A rice bowl involves a variety of proteins and veggies served over a bed of rice. They’re the ultimate meals for mixing and matching all kinds of healthy ingredients. Here’s a basic outline of what’s in a rice bowl:
- Rice – Start with a base of white rice, basmati or jasmine rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option. If you struggle making rice, try this Instant Pot Rice recipe. Or, if you prefer, substitute rice with quinoa or lentils.
- Protein – Next up, your choice of protein. You’ll find rice bowls made with chicken, beef, seafood, and more, plus plant-based protein like tempeh and tofu.
- Veggies – Pair your proteins with fresh, steamed, or roasted veggies, sauteed vegetables, and fresh greens. Arugula, kale, and spinach are all great options.
Are Rice Bowls Good for You?
Rice bowls are easy to make and satisfying whether you’re looking for new healthy meal ideas, vegetarian recipes, and more. As with most recipes, how healthy your rice bowls are depends on what goes into them! Luckily, as you’ll see below, there are plenty of ways to fill your bowls with wholesome, nutritious ingredients.
21 Healthy Rice Bowl Ideas
Get started with these easy and healthy rice bowl recipes! Feel free to follow these recipes to the “T” or change them up with your favorite ingredients.
How Can I Make My Rice Bowls Even Better?
Once you have your assortment of protein and vegetables ready to go, there are tons of ways to assemble a rice bowl that’s extra full-of-flavor. Try these ideas:
- Cooking Liquid – An easy trick to bring lots of flavor to rice is to swap out water with another cooking liquid, like broth or bouillon.
- Seasonings – Jazz up your rice bowls with chopped nuts, seeds, herbs, and spice blends (like this homemade Sazon seasoning). You can even get creative with the rice itself. Try Latin rice or cilantro lime rice.
- Garnishes – Try add-ins like hard-boiled eggs, crispy chickpeas, homemade falafel, and more.
You can also trade out any sauces and dressings with your own choices. Here are some homemade favorites:
- BBQ sauce
- Peruvian green sauce
- Blue cheese dressing
- Basil pesto
- Enchilada sauce
- Peanut sauce
More Rice Bowl Recipe Tips
You’ll see, there really isn’t a wrong way to prepare a rice bowl. But a few last-minute tips never hurt:
- Don’t cook the rice too quickly. Bring the pot to a boil, and then lower the heat. Heating the rice too fast will cause the water to evaporate, leaving the rice undercooked. Check out how to cook brown rice for more rice cooking tips.
- Prepare ahead. Rice bowl recipes are perfect for meal prep. Get a head start and prepare a week’s worth of bowls that you can enjoy for easy lunches and dinners.
- Store sauces and dressings separately. When preparing your rice bowls ahead of time, I recommend leaving off the sauces until you’re ready to serve. You can still prep the sauce or dressing in advance, and refrigerate it separately in an airtight container.
- Get creative! Rice bowls are excellent “clean out the fridge” meals. Change up the protein, grains, and veggies depending on what leftovers you have handy. Mix and match ingredients to your heart’s content, for endless variations!
It’s recommended! Like pasta, salting the water used to cook rice will yield flavorful, seasoned rice. You don’t need a lot, maybe a half teaspoon of salt for each cup of rice, but it does make a difference.
Nope. It’s better if you don’t stir rice while it’s cooking. Agitating the rice can break up the grains and stir up the starches, leading to a mushy outcome.
They can be both! Rice bowls, like poke bowls, are often served cold. Meanwhile, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your rice bowls warm depending on the ingredients you choose.