Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Meal in a bowl can be made with rice, noodles or salad

By Kaui Philpotts

Some meals in a bowl take time to prepare – you might have to cook up the noodles or rice first – but can be chosen to be nutritionally balanced.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

Having an entire meal out of a bowl has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It's ideal for busy work nights, or when you're alone and just simply want to curl up on the sofa to watch television or read. The simplicity of it is alluring. And who says you can't have a nice, well-balanced meal?

A good friend of mine, who spent grueling weeks in Los Angeles as a buyer for an upscale women's specialty store, used to have a returning-home ritual. Bloated from too many snacks and events intended to seduce her into buying, she'd head first for the shower, then to the kitchen and a large glass of water, and finally to her bowl full of dinner. It consisted of steaming brown rice, salad makings she'd picked up on the way home and a drizzle of dressing. That meal in a bowl, a cup of hot herbal tea, and a good night's sleep had her ready to hit work Monday morning.

My husband and I have been known to stop by a famous fast food place for a tub of chili, put the rice on the minute we get in the door, and have dinner 20 minutes later. On top of the chili and rice, we stack everything we find in the refrigerator — shredded lettuce, cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes, salsa, grated cheese, olives, sour cream. So satisfying!

One-dish meals are common in the Asian cultures that are many Islanders' heritage: noodles or rice topped with a scattering of vegetables and meat or fish, or perhaps a bean-based sauce.

From the Western tradition, eggs have long been a mainstay of the single person's life, in the form of scrambled eggs or a quick omelet. With salad available ready-mixed in a bag, scrambled eggs can become the topping for healthful one-dish meal.

Fried Poke Salad with Asian Dressing is a twist on an old favorite. You can save even more time if you purchase ready-made poke at the supermarket fish counter. Do a quick saute and dump the poke over hot rice in a bowl, then drizzle the Asian dressing.

If you're one of those people who stocks up on instant ramen, you might want to try this recipe for Warm Soba Salad in a bowl. It's a tiny bit more work, but worth it.

Spring Mix Salad with Scrambled Eggs

  • One dozen large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups packaged spring greens, or Nalo greens

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the shoyu until blended. In a non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the green onion for about 1 minute. Add the eggs and butter and cook slowly, stirring until the egg is just cooked, but still soft. Remove and toss with the tomatoes, cheese and greens. Serve with hot buttered toast. Serves 4.

Fried Poke Salad with Asian Dressing


  • 2 teaspoons or more shoyu
  • 1/2 cup chopped Maui onion
  • 2 teaspoons green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ogo
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 10 ounces fresh ahi, cut into chunks


  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu
  • 4 cups mixed spring or Nalo greens
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • Furikake for garnish (optional)

Make 3 cups of rice in a rice cooker. In a bowl, mix the shoyu, Maui onion, green onion, ogo and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Add the ahi and coat well. Set aside. Mix the dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl and set aside. In a wok or nonstick skillet over high heat, put the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil and a little canola oil. Sear the ahi, tossing, for about 1 minute and remove from heat. Place the salad greens in a bowl and toss until coated with a little of the dressing. Spoon the hot rice into a bowl, place the greens on top and the fried poke on top of that. Drizzle with the rest of the dressing. Sprinkle with furikake if you like it. Serves 4.

Warm Soba Salad

  • 5 tablespoons shoyu
  • 4 tablespoons seasoned sushi vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 cups chop suey vegetables (mixture of chopped carrots, bean sprouts, onion, greens)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for about 3 or 4 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain in a colander with cold water running over the noodles to cool them. Set aside. Make the dressing by combining the shoyu, sushi vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and oil, whisk or shake until blended. In a skillet or wok, with a little oil, stir fry the green onions, broccoli and chop suey vegetables about 1 minute, until lightly cooked, but not limp. Remove from the heat and toss with the soba noodles and dressing. Serve immediately in a bowl. Serves 4.