yummy bowls

Now that I am working during my daughter’s nap-time and after she goes to bed at night – I find that I don’t have nearly as much time for cooking as I’d like (need, actually). So I have been in search of some recipes that we can eat for a few meals in a row without getting sick of it. Something that can be heavily prepped the night before (when Ian, my husband is around to help cook). And perhaps unusual for many, we have friends and/or family joining us for dinner on most nights. There are a bunch of different dietary considerations (vegetarian, lactose intolerant, etc…) that I need to be able to deal all of those with in one meal. So that means a meal with options that each person can customize to their dinner to suit their needs.

For some new ideas to throw into our regular meal rotation, I asked my friends on Facebook for ideas. My friend Rachel, who lives in Portland, Oregon shared an idea for something called a yummy bowl inspired by an Oregon restaurant called Café Yumm! It was just what I had been looking for! We’ve been making and devouring yummy bowls regularly for months now.

There is a special sauce that can be made up ahead of time and stored in the fridge for weeks. The base of each dish is usually brown rice. Then each person’s bowl of rice can be topped with veggies, protein and whatever else would be good in the mix. You could do a southwest theme, an Japanese theme… but so far we tend to go with the “whatever is in the fridge” as a theme.

We (me and Ian) will chop veggies the night before. Usually while watching The Daily Show and Colbert Report. We have these great glass storage containers (Glasslock) with lids that snap on super tight. These things are the key to the veggies staying fresh forever. Seriously, I can keep chopped up cucumbers in these for almost 2 weeks. And if I put chopped onions in them, they will not stink up the fridge!

Here is the recipe for the yummy sauce:

Yummy Sauce Recipe
(via Your Home Based Mom inspired by a recipe from Food.com and additional notes and tweaks by me.)

1/2   C   canola oil
1/2   C   almond flour/ ground almonds

  • Can be found in most grocery stores in the baking aisle.

1/3   C   nutritional yeast

  • can be found at: Whole Foods – bulk and in cans, Amazon, any co-op, etc…

1/2   C   canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
1/4   C   canned white soybeans – drained and rinsed

  • These are hard to find. My co-op does not have them. 1 nearby Whole Foods had them, another did not. I have heard people substituting silken tofu for them or additional garbanzo beans when they couldn’t find them. Amazon sells a case of them.

1/2   C   water
1/2   C   lemon juice
1/2 tsp   salt
1 1/2 tsp   curry powder
1 tsp.   dried organo
1 tsp   dried cilantro

*some other versions of this recipe add 1-2 cloves of garlic. It’s good with or without it!


Combine almond meal, beans & oil in blender or food processor and blend together. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until creamy smooth. Cover and let refrigerate for one hour. Keep refrigerated between uses.

** I triple this recipe every time I make it. It just barely fits in my blender, but it works! Would fit easily in a larger food processor. Tripling the recipe means that you use almost the entire can of garbanzo beans and entire can of soy beans. I’m not sure what else I would do with the extra canned white soy beans. The sauce lasts for quite a while in the fridge. I just put the extra yummy sauce in a couple of mason jars for future lunches and dinners.

*** I have heard this is a great sauce for topping a veggie burger too. I haven’t tried it that way yet, but I will soon!

bowl by Michael Kline

When everything is chopped, diced, grated or blended,  we set out all the options for everyone to make up their own meals.

To make your yummy bowl, you should start off with a nice handmade bowl. It’ll make it taste even better. Our assorted collection of “bowl-plates” are by Bob Briscoe and Jo Severson. Then start building:

base layer:  brown rice (our favorite!),  white rice, jasmine or basmati rice, sauteed rice noodles (a new addition brought by friends)
next layer: yummy sauce
next layer: shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is my favorite!)
next layer: veggies! shredded carrots, shredded purple cabbage, diced bell peppers, slices of avocado, diced cucumbers, green onions, broccoli slaw, chopped tomatoes, peas, lightly steamed broccoli or sauteed greens. Whatever you have around.
next layer: – protein: we usually use chopped up rotisserie chicken and/ or sauteed tofu. black beans would be delicious… tempeh would be great… there are so many options!
top layer:  ground peanuts (our favorite), sliced almonds… wasabi peas? something with crunch is a nice addition.
top top layer: salsa, teriyaki sauce. My sister just used the Spicy Peanut Vinegarette from Trader Joe’s on a yummy bowl and loved it. But we usually don’t add anything else. The yummy sauce is great by itself.

Ada and her cousin Shiya love love love this meal!

After everyone served up their bowls, I passed the camera around to capture what everyone dished up! I am getting hungry just looking at these photos… luckily I have 2 more jars of yum sauce in the fridge!


11 thoughts on “yummy bowls

    1. How did your recipe compare to the original? I actually made this this summer for a friend who was visiting from Eugene, OR! I didn’t even think about it until we sat down to eat. I just didn’t know what his dietary restrictions were so I made a meal that would cover all bases! It was pretty funny. He thought it was quite close to the original.

  1. Emily – I used to have a salt-fired bowl with carbon deposits just like the one in the lower left photo but I broke it. Any chance you might have another for sale? It made a perfect salad bowl and I miss it.

    Hope all is well. Your kids (are they both yours?) are adorable!


    1. Hi Linda! I don’t have any… I’m only firing c.10 oxidation (porcelain) now. The bowls in the photos are by Bob Briscoe and Jo Severson. I know you can find Bob’s work at Lillstreet- so you might have luck there!
      Ada is my daughter (18 months) and Shiya is my nephew (almost 5) and he and my sister live in the house next door to us, which is quite fun for all of us!

  2. This sounds exciting! Tonight I played around with our newish food processor so this will be another reason to take it out!

  3. Mmmm! I’m going to try this ASAP! I just need to find those elusive white soybeans.

    I’m jealous that you have friends or family for dinner most nights. I often dream of having family-style dinners like that (y’know, in addition to the three of us), but it’s so much work to host now that we have a youngun and my good friends don’t cook much so we don’t get invites. Even if we did, it’s so stressful to visit homes of friends without kids due to the whole toddler-proofing issue.

    Maybe this recipe will make it easier to be able to host more often! I’ll have each guest bring 1-2 toppings. ;-)

    1. That sounds like a great plan Katie! It helps that my sister and nephew live next door and our good friends live downstairs from us. And I think I am incapable of cooking small amounts of food! I used to cook/bake for catering and after that I lost the ability to make normal quantities of foods for a single family ;), so I’m always inviting people over to help us make a dent in whatever I cooked up.

      We had a group of friends that would host a weekly potluck. We would rotate who brought the main dish. And then coordinate all of the other parts of the meal. Then there was a kid-boom and suddenly there were too many people in the group! And now that many of the kids are school aged, it’s harder finding a good time to meet up. It used to be on Thursday evenings. Then we tried weekend brunches (a fun time for a potluck!). We’re trying to restart it with a smaller group now.

  4. This is great!
    I’ve never been to Cafe Yumm – but this recipe was perfect timing for me. I have been looking for something to spark more veg in my life. I had to go with what was available in the house -so FYI here are my substitutes – and it still came out tasting yum. As I said, I can’t compare to Cafe Yumm’s sauce – but it’s a great yummy bowl topping.

    in the coffee grinder, grind: 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1/2 cup almonds

    then in the food processor:

    1 cup chick peas,
    the sesame flour and almond flour that I ground above,
    1 tsp olive oil (I wanted to keep it lower in fat),
    3 tsp Marmite – (I didn’t have Nutritional Yeast – it’s pretty much the same thing)
    1/2 cup water
    1 lemon – squeezed
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp cardamom seed powder (I didn’t have curry or cilantro)

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