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
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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

Now that’s my kind of fast food!


I just made this and had it for lunch. Really just so delicious you don’t even realize it’s health food.


This was so, so good! I was scratching my head last night about what to eat, and I had almost everything already in the house (other than two bunches of kale, that I picked up on the way home). This hit the spot- filling, fresh flavors, delicious, and so good for you. I also added some julienned beets, lentils, and avocado (we were hungry). What a great meal! I want this three times a week now.


Oh keep these quick + creative ideas coming. That’s the way of it on the kitchenfront around here lately – but my wholesome inspirations are waning – and I’m grateful for quick/healthy suggestions.


Kale is the most favorite greens in our household so this recipe adds a new twist to a brunch menu! Can’t wait to try it! BTW, oven-baked crispy kale is one of my favorite add-ons rather than the usual suspects of parsley and other toppings.


Good luck on your projects! Love this kind of quick meal – a strong hit of vitamins plus some protein. I’m a HUGE fan of za’atar and have a bunch of it, but I’m always tentative to use it in recipes for some reason; not sure if it’ll “go.” Thanks for this recipe idea, and pleasepleaseplease post more recipes using za’atar!

Katherine @ our peas + carrots

I’ve been in love with kale for the last few weeks, but have fallen into a bit of a rut with my standard salad. I’m going to try this one tomorrow!

Food Wine Fashion

The second I saw that sunny yellow yolk dripping over the rice, and the deliciously briny capers; you had me hooked!

Kari@Loaves n Dishes

Lovely dish!


This is perfect! I’ve been on the busy side myself and was running out of quick meal ideas. I love this and will definitely try it out this week.

Briana Morrison

I STILL love your simple recipes. Just like this one, one I know I will make and love.


I do something incredibly similar, but also including cooked Puy lentils and a dash of sambal oelek in the mix; poached egg like yours if I really want a protein fix. I also like homemade dukkah in this, with the lovely subtle crunch and taste of pistachios. Beautiful images as always. *sigh* Hope all your projects are ticking along nicely




I was looking for a different way to use all of the kale from my garden that I’d blanched and frozen, and this was just the ticket. Simple but tasty, just the ticket for a quick but delicious after work meal.


This looks delicious and very beautiful!

Skylor (@SproutLifestyle)

I love your rice bowl – so simple, comforting and delicious. If za’atar is not available, the Japanese seeweed and sesame mix is also very flavorful.


Mmm! This reminds me of your kale/coconut salad in Super Natural Everyday, which is one of my family’s favorites. I have to thank you for that recipe! My 2 and 5 year olds eat SO MUCH KALE! I always double it and eat it with barley cooked in vegetable broth. I’ll have to try this now too.


This is one of my favorite meals…completely underrated in my opinion. Definitely on the menu for later in the week!


This is my major go-to dinner. Sometimes I premake the ingredients so when I don’t feel like cooking during the week I can just reheat and it’s delicous.


I did a similar dish to this recently but used quinoa as the grain, and I roasted small cubes of butternut squash for some nice color and texture. I dressed it with a dash of truffle oil and a squeeze of lime + some salted pumpkins seeds to finish. It was yummy!

Alice Dishes

Love this; so amazing Heidi. Simple and perfect for a February NYC day! Gluten-Free too!!

The Healthy Apple

Made this tonight for dinner, and it was perfect! Thanks for the inspiration!


Sounds delicious! I love meals like this that are so simple, but so yummy. Have all these things around the house pretty much always, so I’m sure I’ll be throwing this together sometime soon!

Little Kitchie

This is such a great quick meal for one. I always have left over cooked carbs. this reminds me of a simple version of the Korean rice bowl and im going to serve this Gochujang. I can not wait to try this with barley or wild rice too!

Belinda @themoonblushbaker

I love pushing rice bowls as a dinner idea, I always think of it more for breakfast/lunch, but would be a perfect quick and filling dinner. Thank you for sharing!


This looks so clean and delicious! I love a good poached egg so this has to be amazing!

Lauren | Sweet Splendor

that is my kind of meal!


Rice bowls with kale and egg is one of my absolute favorite go-to dishes. I made it last night! I often throw this together when I am in a hurry, have nothing fresh in the fridge but don’t feel like going to the grocery store. My favorite is adding Sriracha!

Ashleigh @ francesandian.com

looks like a nice and hearty bowl!

Simply Life

This looks fabulous and is just the inspiration I need to make a delicious rice bowl for dinner tonight – perhaps even including some za’atar!


Loving this bowl! Great for any weeknight!

Belinda @zomppa

Delicious! I just made this with a few substitutions (didn’t have capers)…no capers, so I cooked some cannellini beans seasoned with garlic & onion and made soft boiled eggs. Very nutritious and filling!


I just made this replacing the rice for black beans. It was great!


looks so good. I think I’ll veganize this tonight and swap out the yogurt and eggs for toasted pine nuts and garbanzos. Yum!


I love the appearance of your blog. I have been following you since a couple of months or so and this is the first time I comment. Some times I don’t understand all what you write or all the ingredients (and I have to check the dictionary, since I’m from Spain) but the photos are absolutely wonderful and I’ve taken a lot of original ideas to cook.
Thank you!


Kale, brown rice and egg: my dinner every other night.
Healthy, nutritionally complete, and so tasty!


We are on a tight budge right now as we are about to move, which has also left us with less time to cook. I have been making a version of this a lot lately, usually with farro lightly dressed in a garlicy vinaigrette and red pepper flake-spiced kale. Will definitely be trying this version to mix it up a bit, as I always have za’atar on hand. It certainly fits the bill of quick, nutritious, and filling, and as soon as I start making it, I’m glad we didn’t give in to take-out. Thanks for the inspiration!


Dear Heidi,
I just sent my daughter a copy of your Kale Rice Bowl. She is in her fourth year at Portland State University and needs quick healthy meals. This will be perfect for her.
I got a copy of Super Natural Every Day from the library a week ago. Needless to say, I’m ordering the book today. Your book is amazing. So far I have made 7 recipes from the book (this morning was Multigrain Pancakes, my husband was a happy man) and 2 from your website. Tonight is Cabbage Soup, with many more recipes in waiting. Thank you!!

HS: Thank you LuAnn! Portland has amazing markets – your daughter is lucky! Happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes.


I actually make this with wild rice cooked in rotel tomatoes with jalapeños, I add some kidney (or white) beans. On a tortilla or flat bread I layer kale, cheddar cheese & the rice mixture. Roll it up for lunches at work. Heat in microwave for under a minute…. Melts the cheese & softens the kale! I like mine with hot sauce too!


Thank you for posting. We’re in Boston, i’m 8 months pregnant, and we and have not dug out our car from the blizzard: so I’m scratching my head as to what to make for dinner this week. This is perfect. I’m going to have to sub the kale with cabbage, but I still think it’s going to be delis 🙂


I love a good rice bowl on a busy week night. It’s fun to just throw everything together and play around with flavours. Kale is always in there somewhere and I usually wilt it in the oven too. This looks fantastic and the photos are so beautiful as always. 🙂


Such an easy recipe with such complex flavors. Some of the best dishes are whipped together in a flash with minimal ingredients around.

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

Oh, this is my kind of meal, to be sure! I love flavorful bowls of grains and greens with an egg atop, and I constantly dollop things with yogurt and add capers for a zip of flavor. But I love your creative touches: blistering the capers, adding za’atar. I will definitely be trying those out in my kitchen. Glad to hear you are enjoying some happily busy days!


Rice bowls can be boring, but the combined flavor punch of capers and za’atar solve that issue. This sounds tempting.


These photos are wonderful. They make me want to dive into that bowl of kale and rice. And surely that’s what recipe writing and blogging is all about!


Simple, healthy and satisfying. I need recipes like this for busy nights and maybe we won’t eat quite so many tacos around here!


This reminds me of Korean rice bowls which are delicious! I love that you have taken the same concept and played with the elements and spices. It goes to show that with ingenuity, your palate can be continually stimulated. Thank you Heidi!


Can’t wait to hear more about your projects! In the meantime, this is lovely and very welcome to see, in the midst of red velvet and red, white, and pink food everywhere..and I love it, but some good kale is always fab.

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Just made a spinach version of this for dinner and loved it! Thanks Heidi!


All it needs is a splash of sriracha! Can’t wait to have this for lunch tomorrow.


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