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!
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.
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!
More Rice Bowl Recipes
Kale Rice Bowl
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
- - 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
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.
Serve the kale rice topped with (preferably) all of the following: the capers, egg, yogurt drizzled with olive oil, and plenty of za'atar.