Photo Credit: Jewish Press

At some point last year, during one very long summer Shabbos, it dawned on me that my air conditioner was working overtime – more than likely because of how the kitchen heated up as a result of the hotplate.  Also, if I was being honest with myself, there was no real reason for the extra heat except inertia – none of us really wanted to eat chulent or meat or anything hot, for that matter, in the middle of August. But I had no idea what else to prepare for Shabbos.

Later that week, I did a little digging on my Pinterest board and noticed an abundance of one-bowl recipes popping up. One bowl? Sign me up.


These bowls of deliciousness go by many names: Glory Bowls, Buddha Bowls, Nourish Bowls. But in our house, we now call them Shabbos Bowls – as in, we eat these every single week for Shabbos lunch.

What exactly is a Shabbos Bowl?

It’s a meal – pre-cooked protein, produce, grains, dressing – all in one bowl.  (So easy, right?)

Shabbos Bowls are built right at the table, so we can all layer our choice of ingredients into our own bowl. The bowls are kind of like the salad course, the appetizer and the main all rolled into one. I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate dessert brownies into them.

At first, I was hesitant to serve this with guests – having company build their own lunch sounded a little too hippie even for me, but these scrumptious bowls have been so well received.

There are so many conceivable variations that it is completely possible to never eat the same bowl twice, but once you find your favorite combination, odds are you’ll be sticking with it.

Early on, I found it helpful to make a list of all my ingredient choices and tape it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door. This made for easier picking and choosing, and I also wouldn’t forget about any favorites. You can make your own list using whatever ingredients are favorites in your house, or, you can just cut out this cheat-sheet and call it a day. It’s all good, we’re friends here.

Assembling a Shabbos Bowl could not be simpler, and if you prepare a wide variety of ingredients, there are bound to be at least several foods each person will enjoy, thereby cutting the number of possible complaints to almost zero. I wonder, maybe we should call these Miracle Bowls instead?

Shabbos Bowls just might change the way you prepare for Shabbos. Offering a separate salad course can become a thing of the past, begging kids to just eat something won’t be necessary because they will be able to pick and choose their favorite “plain” foods all by themselves, and once everyone has finished eating, you can head straight to dessert.

Offering a multitude of ingredient options has another benefit too. Leftovers. (Busy moms, you can insert your round of applause here.)

Most of the foods listed here can be stored in the fridge for almost a week, and packing lunches for work or school might even become something you look forward to as opposed to being just another nightly chore that has you standing in front of an open fridge, shaking your head, having no idea what to pack yet again.

At first I was concerned that these meal-in-a-bowl were not that kid-friendly. I was, however, very wrong and very surprised at how well my kids took to them. I think the kid appeal lies in the fact that they can pick only the foods that they enjoy and, at the same time, they can eat each ingredient on its own, before adding another food to their plate so no food have to touch another food. We do encourage the kids to build real bowls – at the very least a protein, grain and vegetable – but even if a child only winds up choosing a piece of chicken and broccoli, I’m happy. Better choices than just a bowl of plain pasta. Making a game of building the bowls works as well. Try challenging kids to create a rainbow in their bowl. And if all else fails, pull out a no-fail game and play restaurant, having the kids create bowls for the grown-ups. But then, of course, you have to actually eat them.

* * * * *

All of these ingredients can be served at room temperature.

Our favorite grains:

White or brown rice


The best vegetables to cube and roast:

Sweet potatoes
Butternut squash
Red onion
Brussels sprouts
Canned chickpeas


Fresh vegetables come in two categories – crunchy and soft.


Red cabbage



Wilted spinach



Diced apples
Halved grapes
Chopped strawberries
Diced pears
Mandarin oranges pieces
Cubed watermelon


Nuts and Fats:

Slivered almonds
Chopped walnuts
Pistachio nuts
Pine nuts
Sliced almonds
Diced avocado



Olive oil, salt and garlic
Avocado dressing
Mustard dressing
Russian dressing


Noodle Stand-ins:

Caramelized onions
Spaghetti squash
Spiralized zucchini


Proteins, diced or cut into bite size pieces:

Grilled chicken
Sautéed ground meat
Grilled steak
Mini turkey meatballs
Baked salmon
Sliced hard boiled eggs
Omelets sliced into ribbons
Deli meat


* * * * *


Avocado Dressing:

2 whole ripe avocados
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp salt
⅓ cup olive oil
½ tsp lemon juice
A little water

If you have a mini food chopper, now would be the time to use it. Otherwise, an immersion blender in a deep bowl or even a full size food processor will work well too. Start by processing the avocados and garlic together. Add the salt, olive oil and lemon juice and blend until fully mixed. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, add one tsp of water at a time, blending in between water additions. Store the dressing in a covered container in the refrigerator. The dressing should last several days.


Mustard Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a small covered container. Enjoy right away or store, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.


Olive Oil Dressing:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp minced garlic


Pour all three ingredients into a salad dressing carafe and shake well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Allow dressing to come to room temperature, shake well and enjoy. The longer this dressing is stored in the fridge, the more garlic-infused it becomes.

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Jen Wise is a work-at-home mother to a bunch of kids somewhere in New Jersey. She's also a freelance writer, an art teacher and a pediatric nutrition coach.