Kale Rice Bowl

A quick lunchtime brown rice bowl with kale, capers, salted yogurt, za'atar, toasted sesame seeds - and a poached egg for good measure.

Kale Rice Bowl

My lunch, at least a few days a week, is some sort of rice bowl or grain bowl. I love a feel-good lunch, and using rice as the foundation, I can usually grab other components from the refrigerator to make something quick and satisfying. This Kale Rice Bowl, for example, is worth a shout out. You have grains plus greens, dollops of creamy salted yogurt, blistered capers, and plenty of homemade za’atar. So good!

Rice bowl made with brown rice and kale, topped with an egg and yogurt

Kale Rice Bowl: Make Ahead Plan

Most of the components here can be made ahead. They’re also good travelers - work lunches, picnics, etc. So you could meal prep on a Sunday for meals through out the week. For that approach here’s the plan.

  • Cook the rice.  Then allow it to cool and then refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. At that point you can either heat it, or allow it enough time to come up to room temperature.
  • Cook some eggs.  If you like an egg on top of your rice bowls, make a few hard-boiled eggs or fried eggs and refrigerate those as well.
  • Choose your spices: I use za’atar as my seasoning here, but if you have another favorite spice blend, no problem. Have that at the ready.

I typically fry up the capers and salt the yogurt at the last minute, but you could also do that in the morning if you’re packing a lunch for later.Three small bowls filled with rice bowl toppings - sesame, za'atar, and fried capers


You can certainly take a rice bowl like this one in many different directions. I mentioned exploring a spice or seasoning swap up above. On the grain front, you see brown rice here, but farro would be nice, or a quinoa / rice blend. When it comes to the kale, my original intent was to bake the shredded kale (massaged with olive oil and za'atar), so it had more of a crispy texture (kale chips), but didn't want to wait for the oven to heat. I ended up sautéing the kale instead. This is a long way of saying, play around!

Rice bowl made with brown rice and kale, topped with an egg and yogurt

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Kale Rice Bowl

5 from 1 vote

I used lacinato kale here. But use another kale if that is what you have. Or, you could even substitute chard. Broccoli or broccolini are also good substitutes. The main thing is I like to get something green and vibrant in the mix. Here's a link if you want to make your own za'atar.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter
  • 1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
To serve:
  • - capers, rinsed, dried, and pan-fried until blistered in butter
  • - a poached or hard-boiled egg
  • - a dollop of salted greek yogurt
  • - a big drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil
  • - lot's of za'atar
  • - toasted sesame seeds
  1. In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the kale and a couple pinches of salt. Saute until the kale softens a bit and brightens, just a minute or so. Stir in the rice, and cook until the rice is hot. If your rice is on the dry side, you might have to add a small splash of water.
  2. Serve the kale rice topped with (preferably) all of the following: the capers, egg, yogurt drizzled with olive oil, and plenty of za'atar.

Serves 2-3

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Eating this for lunch and loving it. Drying your own thyme for the zataar was shockingly easy and the flavor much fresher. I added avocado and sautéed shiitake mushrooms. Delish!!


I made this last night. It's the perfect light and complete meal. I didn't have yogurt, but did have some feta and that went well with it. Love the capers!


Simple food but very delicious!


I cooked this last night, and it was simple and delicious - with a somewhat unusual/ unexpected flavour due to the unlikely combination of za'atar, capers and yoghurt. I used lots and lots of za'atar and toasted sesame seeds; and I think next time I'll add some garlic too. Instead of kale, I used 'flower sprouts' - kale naturally cross-bred with brussels sprouts, which is a new-ish vegetable here in the UK. Thanks for this recipe.


I made this the other day for lunch with my roommate and we both loved it. I didn't have any za'atar, or capers but we adjusted for what we had and it was great with garlic, salt and pepper instead. I also chopped up some avocado and tossed it on top. Thanks for the inspiration!


Made this on Sunday and it was great—very satisfying. I only wished I'd made us two poached eggs each! Be sure to really use plenty of za'atar to flavor the whole bowl.

Kelly Z

This is what I refer to as a "hippie bowl". :) I make a variation of this several times a week. The staples for my bowls tend to be kale sautéed with coconut oil, eggs in various forms, and lots of nutritional yeast. Quinoa is usually my grain of choice and lately I've been eating it popped and sprinkled liberally on top of the other delicious bowl ingredients. Sometimes I'll add a few chunks of roasted kabocha squash, raw fermented veggies, or a nice, fat blob of hummus. Yum!


I love the bowls too! And, of course, the food in them. I'm desperately trying to get my kids to eat healthier and I notice that a good presentation can make all the difference.


OMG! I just made this! I skipped the yogurt, because I am limiting my dairy intake, and it still tasted so delicious! I found your recipe online, as I was looking for another way to eat Kale! This is a winner! Thanks for sharing.


I made this or my 19 month old for lunch yesterday, and he loved it! Thanks or sharing. I will refer to the recipe on my blog later this week if that is of. It is great! Keep up the good work! I love reading you.

rue du chat qui peche

I made this for dinner last night and it was fab! I think the capers and za'atar really made this dish. I loved that, with the exception of kale, I had everything in the house to make it and it went together so quickly. The only thing that I did differently was that since I already had a sauté pan out to toast the sesame seeds and sauté the capers, I fried the egg. Thanks for another winner Heidi!


This is the Chipotle burrito bowl for someone like me. I love it! I like this blog because I can actually make and eat most of the things on here. Must try it.


I had forgotten how well kale goes with rice: lovely recipe

Ivona Poyntz

I just made this for our lunch today, and it was fab! Thanks for a great recipe for a quick meal that's still tasty & nutricious.


I often make this... fabulous for a quick dinner or lunch! In my version I add in goodly amount of tamari, but I had never thought of your extras such as capers, I'll have to give it a go. Thanks!


Just made this for dinner.....unbelievable!!!! I did not have that spice combo, but used a no salt spice I love from Whole Foods. I am still amazed at how flavorful this was, easy to make, and very filling.


Heidi- I saw this today and was so excited to make it. I am in the middle of a sinus infection, so gluten is not my friend right now, and this just sounded perfect. I added chickpeas, fennel, and avocado, used cumin, but not capers. I also toasted some pepitas, and sprinkled some green onion on top. IT WAS RIDICULOUS. My friends thought it was one of the best things I've made. So, thanks for the awesome idea, because now I have visions of variations dancing in my head:)


Capers! Love. Such a beautiful, simple, nourishing meal to have thrown together in between your scurrying. It sounds like an exciting time, enjoy! Heidi xo

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

so timely! i had just decided that tomorrow's dinner will consist of kale, eggs and rice. can't stand capers, though, so fermented beets it is instead. i'll have to look za'atar up now...


Oh my goodness, I was just searching this week for a way to use some sumac a good friend brought to me from a specialty spices store in Spokane. I'm not familiar with za'atar but it looks so delicious. Always looking for new ways to use kale, as well. Thank you for your posts!

Angela Gallardo @ Bare Root

Hello Heidi. I just want to send you a little thank you for putting so many great recipes here, I have made quite a few of them and they always turn out wonderful. My boyfriend and I are always trying to find more vegetarian recipes to add to our repertoire, as we wish to eat more sensibly and be concious about what we eat. So thank you for being such an inspiration.

Ingrid @ Chickpeas & Love

I haven't tried your Zatar yet, but this is motivation and inspiration to get in gear and do it! I also love putting poached eggs on everything... salads, rice bowls, stir fries. They're always a protein that's in the fridge during a busy week! I am going to make this and bring it to work for lunch this week for sure. I really like the color combination, too!

Allie @ The Nutritional Epiphany

Too funny, this is exactly the kind of meal I prepare on my busy days/weeks for lunch! It's become quite a routine actually. I love that you've shared it here because it makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one who knows how good such a 'thrown together' type meal can be!


I love this! looks like the perfect end of day treat...

Rocky Mountain Woman

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