We all know it’s important to eat healthy and to include a variety of foods in our diets. But just as critical as what we eat is consuming the right amounts. One way to make sure we’re getting enough of the major nutrients we need is by building a macro bowl. This macro bowl combines Middle Eastern flavors with healthy plant-based protein, and is perfect for a clean diet.
WHAT’S A MACRO BOWL?
A macro bowl is a healthy and balanced way of squeezing all of our macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, and fat – into one meal. There are literally thousands of macro bowl recipes floating around the Internet (including this one!). But the beautiful thing about a macro bowl is that you can also choose your own adventure.
Also called a Buddha bowl or nourish bowl, a macro bowl typically consists of a whole-grain base, vegetables, protein, healthy fat, and sauce. There is no “golden” macronutrient ratio, as everyone’s body types and goals are different. However, a healthy balance for many people is 30 to 50 percent carbohydrates and 25 to 35 percent each of protein and fat. While the term “macro” refers to macronutrients, it’s also thought that macro bowls are rooted in macrobiotics.
Popularized in the 90s, macrobiotics is less of a “diet” than a conscious way of eating. It involves learning to keep our lives in harmony with nature and eating food for fuel, rather than entertainment. Macrobiotic eating means understanding how different foods affect you and choosing to consume foods that make you feel energized and alive – similar to the philosophy of the 21-Day Clean Program.
MIDDLE EASTERN MACRO BOWL
Our Middle Eastern macro bowl is inspired by the fresh, flavorful, and nutritious cuisine of the Mediterranean. Chickpeas are a great source of vegan and vegetarian protein and assist in the absorption of healthy fat – which we get from tahini in this recipe. Lentils lend the complex carbohydrates our bodies need for energy, while a simple tabbouleh salad made from quinoa, fresh herbs, and pomegranate infuse our meal with extra plant-protein and antioxidants.
Harissa roasted chickpeas
1 15-oz. can chickpeas
½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ tsp. harissa seasoning
¼ cup quinoa
½ Tbsp. olive oil
½ Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup cucumber
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh mint
½ cup pomegranate arils
¼ cup red lentils
½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
Lemon tahini dressing
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. water
½ lemon, juiced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 cups mixed greens
Preheat oven to 400F. Drain, rinse, and dry the chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Remove the paper towels; drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil and sprinkle with harissa seasoning. Toss to coat.
Roast the chickpeas for 25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through, until golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the quinoa and a half-cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork.
As the chickpeas roast and the quinoa cooks, make the dressing and prep the veggies for your tabbouleh salad. Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Chop the cucumber, parsley, and mint and remove the arils from the pomegranate.
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the cooled quinoa and drizzle with the dressing.
Now, make the lentils. Combine the lentils with two cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place a tilted lid on the saucepan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils, rinse with cool water, and pour them into a bowl. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic and pour the dressing over the lentils. Stir gently to coat.
To make the lemon tahini dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add more lemon juice and/or salt, if desired.
Assemble the Middle Eastern Macro Bowl by placing the mixed greens in the bottom of two bowls. Add the lentils, followed by the tabbouleh salad and harissa roasted chickpeas. Serve with a drizzle of lemon tahini dressing.
Recipe and photography by Kate Kasbee
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