How to BYOB (Build Your Own Bowl) + Burrito Bowl w/ Nacho Cashew Cheese Recipe
Contrary to popular belief, you will almost never find me at home making gourmet, long, intensive meals. There is a possibility of this going down every once in awhile (like on weekends when I’m hosting guests or in the mood to try something new) … but busy weeknights or on the regular? Nope. Never. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This is where my weekly tried and true staples come in hand — aka my go-to meals I practically know by heart. They taste good, keep my energy levels and brain power optimal during busy weeks and are easy to make.
They’re the meals I turn to when I simply have no idea what else to make and definitely don’t have the time or energy to come up with something new. The meals that keep me from running to the drive-through and ordering Thai takeout every night.
They’re the meals that you too, should have in your back pocket, so you don’t get too stressed or frustrated, give up on your healthy eating goals and order Domino’s by default (when you honestly don’t even really want it but are too exhausted to figure out something else).
My go-to meals tend to rotate seasonally, so now that it’s fall you’ll most likely find me making some sort of soup, roasted squash dish, or bowl of random goodies every week. They can all be made in large batches (which makes for little to no cooking throughout the week), are easy to reheat and taste great as leftovers.
I especially love bowls because they’re versatile, nourishing, filling, comforting, easy (aka you can make it up and don’t need to follow a recipe) and delicious. All you need to follow is this simple bowl formula below.
FoolProof BYOB (Build Your Own Bowl) Formula
1. Pick Your Base —
My fave as of late is cauliflower rice (which you can now find pre-riced at most stores like Whole Foods or TJ’s) but leafy greens, steamed kale, quinoa, lentils, brown rice or even oats work well. Just make sure it’s nutrient-dense.
PRO-TIP — Cook a big batch of grains and lentils or wash and chop your greens on a day that’s convenient for you. Then you can easily steam or reheat to toss in bowls through the week.
2. Add A Protein —
Roasted pasture-raised chicken, wild salmon, grass-fed turkey or lamb meatballs, lentils, beans and quinoa are all awesome sources of protein. Try cooking them in spices, garlic, onion and grass-fed butter or ghee for optimal flavor.
PRO-TIP — Again, batch cook your meat when possible to easily re-heat throughout the week. Or if you’re super strapped for time try organic rotisserie chicken or smoked wild salmon for an easy, no-cook option.
3. Roast Some Veggies —
This is an essential step. Not only are veggies a key source for fiber, antioxidants (which combat free radicals in the body that DRAIN us of energy) and naturally support our bodies detoxification process, but they add a whole new level of depth and flavor. My fall faves include sweet potatoes, delicata, kabocha and butternut squash, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. Feel free to get creative and try to keep it seasonal when possible!
PRO-TIP — Again with the batch-cooking, I know, I know. But if you roast a huge bunch one day it only takes a few seconds to reheat throughout the week (key for when you’re slammed and starving). Also try cooking with coconut oil, avocado or grass-fed ghee and tossing with spices like curry powder, garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin, sea salt and turmeric.
4. Keep it Saucy —
This is one of the most important components of any bowl — DO NOT skip this step. A good sauce adds so much flavor and really brings the whole dish together. I tend to favor homemade sauces as they are tastier and filled with less sugar and shelf-stabilizing chemicals. They don’t have to be complicated, try a pesto or chimichurri with just fresh herbs, garlic, nuts and sea salt or simply mix together some avocado oil mayo with some garlic and lemon.
PRO-TIP — I make ONE big batch of sauce every Sunday or Monday to use on dishes throughout the entire week. If you don’t use it all you can always freeze and re-thaw in a pinch. If you’re not into making your own there are plenty of healthy alternatives out there like fermented Sriracha sauce or tahini, just be sure to read the ingredient label first. If it has a long list of names you don’t recognize, skip it — your bod will thank you.
5. Add An Optimizer (for flavor AND function)
An optimizer is something that enhances the flavor and functionality (or nutrient density) of your dish. Think magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds, vitamin e-rich avocado, kimchi or fermented veggies, crunchy baked kale chips or roasted seaweed snacks, coconut chips, even fresh herbs like cilantro or chives.
The only rule here is it needs to taste good and help you feel good too.
Still not feeling the bowl feels? Try this easy burrito bowl recipe with nacho cashew cheese sauce. It’s a serious flavor bomb and an easy way to help you stick to your healthy eating goals — because if it tastes good and you enjoy eating it you’ll be much more likely to follow through. Plus life is just too short for boring food amiright?
This burrito bowl is functional, feel-good and effin delicious — just how all food should be.
Build Your Own Burrito Bowl + Nacho Cashew Cheese Sauce
This burrito bowl is functional, feel-good and effin delicious -- just how all food should be.
For The Bowl:
- 4 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
- 4 cups cauliflower rice, quinoa or brown rice, cooked
- 4 cups leafy green such as spinach
- 1 sweet potato, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- ½ sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- Sliced avocado
- Fresh Lime
- Full-fat cotija cheese (if you digest dairy well) or Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta Cheese
Cashew Nacho Cheese Sauce:
- 2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours in water
- 2 red bell peppers, de-seeded and chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped
- ½ jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup tahini sauce
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (loaded with B vitamins and will give it that cheesy flavor)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
PRO-TIP - If possible I recommend cooking your chicken and roasting your veggies in a large batch on one day, this way you can easily reheat throughout the week. The same goes for your sauce.
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees for veggies. Toss them in 2 tbsp avocado oil and ½ of the amount of spices (save the other ½ and oil for your chicken rub). Bake veggies at 425 for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. You'll want to bake the chicken at 350 for 30 minutes -- so try cooking at separate times for maximum efficiency. OR you can simply sautee your chicken while roasting your veggies. Lastly you can roast your veggies at 350 as well, but they will take longer to cook (allot 45 minutes to an hour).
- While veggies and chicken are cooking, whip together your sauce by tossing all sauce ingredients together in a high-speed blender or food processor and blending until smooth.
- Layer bowls with cauliflower rice, quinoa or brown rice, fresh spinach, roasted veggies and chicken. Smother in cashew nacho cheese sauce and top with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and either cotija or almond milk cheese.
- Should make a minimum four servings and tastes great as leftovers. The sauce makes a huge batch and will last up to a week in the fridge. I like to immediately freeze half of it and defrost when needed.