Build a Bowl Basics + Avocado Lover’s Breakfast

Let’s face it, even if you are bona fide pro at healthy breakfast eating, it can become boring to wake up to the same few choices day in and day out. Ditch the daily omelet, smoothie or bowl oats for a nourishing morning meal that’s completely unexpected and yet so delicious -- Avocado Lover’s Quinoa Breakfast Bowl.

Maybe you’re already on the lunch-hour “bowl” eating bandwagon, and if so – whoohoo! There seems to be a new build-your-own bowl joint popping up on every corner. Whatever the meal, a bowl brimming with leafy greens, whole grains, quality protein and an assortment of vegetables is the obvious smart choice over the vast majority of fast foods. You can start prepping your own complete meal in a bowl at home to save time all while boosting your nutrition, tantalizing your taste buds, and saving money in the process.                                       

Avocado Lover’s Quinoa Breakfast Bowl is packed with arugula and broccolini, but feel free to substitute any lettuce and vegetable you prefer. A quinoa-pea “grainless” grain combo adds more fiber and bulk and the egg on top pumps up the protein. Of course, avocado!  Not just as a gorgeous garnish but also in the Avocado Cilantro Greek Yogurt Dressing (only 50 calories per serving) for a double whammy of creamy goodness.

I used the following “Build a Bowl Basics” as the flexible guidelines to create my hearty, healthy breakfast bowl.  These steps can also help you craft a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner bowl, too!

There are 380 calories (including dressing and a generous serving of avocado), 22 grams of protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams of dietary fiber and loads and loads of vitamins and minerals in this quinoa bowl. It’s also an especially good source of Vitamins A, C, E as well as folate, iron and calcium. Seriously, who needs to rely on a multi-vitamin when you can gobble up so many nutrients in this meal?!

Build-A-Bowl Basics:

Leafy greens & Non-starchy Veggies: Fill majority of bowl up with these unlimited ingredients. Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and tomatoes are among the wide assortment of non-starchy veggie choices. 

Whole Grains, Beans, Legumes, Quinoa: Depending on your level of activity, fill bowl with a total of ½ cup to 1 cup of items from this category. Brown rice, ancient grains (like freekeh or amaranth), whole-grain pasta, quinoa, any type of beans or other legumes (like lentils or peas) are all excellent choices. 

Protein: Top bowl with 2 to 4 ounces of protein (like eggs, chicken beef or vegan options) depending on your dietary needs and sources of protein already in the bowl. Aim for a bowl with 20 to 30 grams of protein, keeping in mind that protein comes from other sources than just the “meat.”

Healthy Fat: Add a few teaspoons of nuts, seeds, up to an ounce of cheese, or a serving of avocado.

Dressing/Sauce/Spices: Use a modest amount of low-fat dressing, salsa or spices to add extra flavor.

Note: To reduce prep time in the morning, use “ready” grains available in pouches at the store or, better yet, meal prep your own. I make a huge pot of quinoa, rice, beans or combos and put 1 or 2 cup portions in zip-top bags to store in the freezer. 

Avocado Lover’s Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Serves 1 | Finish in 10 minutes
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Avocados, veggies, and grains, oh my! Build a bowl of breakfast goodness that helps you start the day with amazing nutrition and flavor. 

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup cooked grain or grain substitute (like rice, quinoa, beans, whole wheat couscous)*
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 spears broccolini or 2 ounces arugula
  • 2 teaspoons roasted pumpkin seeds (peptias) or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 large avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Avocado Cilantro OPA dressing by Litehouse

Directions

  1. Place pre-cooked grain or grain substitute in bowl along with broccolini, loosely cover and steam in microwave for 90 seconds.
  2. Meanwhile, bring small skillet to medium heat and cook egg, sunny side up, to desired level of yolk “doneness”. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Remove bowl from microwave, push contents to one side, and fill remainder of bowl with arugula.
  4. Add sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds and egg on top. Drizzle with dressing.
  5. Note: I used a combination of quinoa and split green peas that I meal prepped by simmering ½ cup dry split peas in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes and then adding ½ cup of quinoa and simmering together for another 20 minutes.
  6. Season to taste, cool and place approximately ¾ cup in freezer container, repeat for total of 4 ¾-cup servings.

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