Bowls of Plenty by Carolynn Carreno

Hi friends! Have you jumped on “The Bowl” bandwagon yet? I’m sure you’ve seen the beautiful pictures of breakfast bowls all over Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. They look delicious, but I have no clue how to put one together. Thankfully, James Beard award-winning food writer Carolynn Carreno brings these one-dish meals to the home cook with “Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole-Grain Meals.”

Bowls of Plenty

Bowls aren’t just for breakfast. Salad Bowls, Main Dish Bowls and Build Your Own bowls are popular too! Carolyn even has “healthy-ish” dessert bowls included in her cookbook.

Bowls of Plenty

I was fortunate enough to meet Carolynn at a recent media event at Melissa’s Produce. We tasted her Red Beet and Quinoa Salad with hazelnuts and goat cheese, as well as her Shaved Brussels Sprouts with farrow, almonds and pecorino. For the Main dishes, there was a beautiful Build Your Own Asian Bowl and a Build Your Own Mexican Bowl spread! For dessert, we sampled a lovely Mixed Berry Crisp with a whole-grain topping!

Bowls of Plenty

Bowls of Plenty

One thing I absolutely love about this cookbook are the pages that give you ideas for Build Your Own Bowl themes! These are just two examples: Build Your Own Mexican Bowls and The Farmers Market Inspired Bowls. These would be perfect for a potluck or even a quick weeknight meal! Chop everything and set it out for everyone to make their own Bowls of Plenty! There are other examples in the book too. These were just my favorites and now I know how to build these beauties! YAY!

Bowls of Plenty

Bowls of Plenty

Bowls of Plenty features hearty, one-dish meals that layer flavorful veggies, meats, sauces and vinaigrettes on a foundation of whole grains! Carolynn encourages people to be creative and use different sauces or vinaigrettes from her book to customize the bowls to your family’s taste or dietary preferences! Vegetarian? No problem! Swap your favorite protein or just leave it out. Don’t like beans? Don’t add them! (How simple is that?) Love the sauce in one recipe and want to try it with another dish? Go for it! It’s all about creating delicious and healthy bowls that are easy to make, family-friendly and convenient!

Inside Bowls of Plenty are recipes like Spiced Apple Breakfast Farro, Huevos Rancheros Bowl, Butternut Squash Risotto, The Ultimate Burrito Bowl, Korean Short Ribs, Baja BBQ Shrimp Bowl and even a Flourless Chocolate Teff Cake! One of the recipes that caught my eye however was Carolynn’s Chinese Chicken Salad with Toasted Almonds and Crispy Rice!

Bowls of Plenty

This flavorful salad bowl has a Ginger Vinaigrette and toasts cooked brown rice until it’s crispy! Carolynn calls for coating the chicken with a seasoned cornstarch mixture and then frying it. I opted to use leftover roasted chicken instead, just to keep it a bit healthier.

Bowls of Plenty

Chinese Chicken Salad with Toasted Almonds and Crispy Rice Bowl

Carolynn Carreno’s Chinese Chicken Salad from her new cookbook “Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole-Grain Meals.” All the components of this recipe can easily be made in advance and then assembled when you’re ready to eat! Perfect for meal prepping lunches too!

  • For the Chicken
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (black pepper is fine too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • canola oil (or other neutral oil for frying)
  • For the Salad
  • 1 cup long or short-grain brown rice, cooked and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3 clementines or seedless tangerines, peeled and segmented
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • Gingered Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 (3-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane or minced (about 1 TBLS)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

To prepare chicken, whisk the egg whites, cornstarch, pepper and salt together in a medium bowl. One at a time, pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper with a meat mallet or the back of a small, heavy skillet until they are an even 1/2 inch thick. Dredge the chicken breasts in the bowl with the cornstarch mixture and turn to coat them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator. Pour enough oil in a large skillet to coat it. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it slides like water in the pan and is sizzling hot, but not smoking, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift the chicken breasts out of the cornstarch mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Lay the chicken in the pan and cook until it is golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Resist the temptation to fiddle with the chicken. It will brown better if you leave it alone. Flip the chicken breasts, reduce the heat to medium and cook the breasts on the second side for about 3 minutes, until cooked through. Put the chicken breasts on a plate or cutting board and let them rest before slicing. Slice into 1/2 inch-thick pieces when cool.

To make the salad, arrange the oven racks so one is in the middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Dump the cooked rice onto a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and toss to distribute. Bake the rice until it's crispy, about 30 minutes, stirring it with a spatula once or twice while it cooks so it crisps evenly and doesn't burn. Remove the rice from the oven and dump it out into a large, wide bowl to cool to room temperature.

Add the chicken slices, almonds, clementine segments, scallions and cabbage to the bowl with the cooled rice. Drizzle with the Ginger Vinaigrette and toss up the whole story, ideally with your hands so you can massage the vinaigrette onto the cabbage without smashing it.

For the Vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, sugar, pepper, ginger and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. The vinaigrette will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 1 week.

Bowls of Plenty

To learn more about Carolynn, visit her online!
Twitter and Instagram: @carolynncarreno
and on FB at: Bowls of Plenty by Carolynn Carreno

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Carolynns cookbook and produce to make a recipe from “Bowls of Plenty” but received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

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