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Indian-spiced chicken zoodle bowl found in the Bowls cookbook

Bowls: Vibrant Recipes with Endless Possibilities

Bowls: Vibrant Recipes with Endless Possibilities provides step-by-step instructions for creating hearty, all-in-one dishes. We offer four of the book’s 75 customizable recipes to get you started.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in May 2022. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

Bowls are all-in-one dishes that are becoming popular in restaurants across the country.

Now, the cookbook Bowls: Vibrant Recipes with Endless Possibilities, from America’s Test Kitchen, gives you a step-by-step guide to building restaurant-quality bowls in your very own kitchen.

At its most basic, a bowl combines a protein, vegetables, and a flavorful sauce over a base like greens, quinoa, or rice. But what sets most bowls apart is a crunchy element—like raw radish slices or bean sprouts.

Bowls are great for lunch or dinner, are easy to make ahead, and only require a few ingredients. Best of all, they can provide a complete, healthy, flavor-packed dish by simply using items in your pantry or leftovers.

In addition to providing 75 complete recipes, Bowls takes you through the basics of building your own bowl, including mix-and-match bases, toppings, and sauces.

Bowls are hearty, customizable, and (as the name of the book indicates) provide endless possibilities. Here are four to get you started.

—Laurie Mathena

Quinoa Taco Salad Bowl

Bowl of quinoa taco salad

Serves 2

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • ½ small head escarole (6-ounces), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • ½ cup Chipotle-Yogurt Sauce*, divided
  • ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ ripe avocado, sliced thin

Combine quinoa, ¼ cup cilantro, lime juice, oil, and chipotle in bowl and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss escarole, scallions, and remaining ¼ cup cilantro with half of sauce to coat then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among individual serving bowls then top with quinoa mixture, beans, tomatoes, and avocado. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve.


Kick it up a notch: Crumbled queso fresco would add creamy texture here, or add feta cheese for briny, tangy flavor.

Instead of quinoa: You could use any hearty grain, such as farro, barley, or bulgur.

Instead of escarole: You could use any hearty salad green in this recipe.

Add crunch: Top with store-bought tortilla chips.

* See Chipotle-Yogurt Sauce recipe on page 79.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad Bowl

Bowl of Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Serves 2

  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ small head escarole (6-ounces), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (¼ cup)

Toss cucumber and tomatoes with ¼ teaspoon salt and let drain in colander for 15 minutes.

Whisk oil, lemon juice, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper together in bowl. Toss escarole, olives, and parsley with half of vinaigrette to coat, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among individual serving bowls then top with drained cucumber-tomato mixture, chickpeas, and feta. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serve.


Add crunch: Chopped, toasted walnuts provide pleasant texture.

Instead of escarole: Use romaine.

Instead of feta: Goat cheese would add creamy tang to this salad.

Make it vegan: You can omit the feta and the bowl will still taste great.

Shakshuka Bowl

Two bowls of shakshuka

Serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1½ teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup roasted bell peppers, chopped. (To simplify, use jarred roasted red peppers.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, tomato paste, coriander, paprika, cumin, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until rust-colored and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and roasted red peppers and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Off heat, using back of spoon, make 2 shallow indentations in sauce. Crack 1 egg into each indentation then spoon sauce over edges of egg whites so that whites are partially covered and yolks are exposed.

Bring to simmer over medium heat, cover, and cook until yolks film over and whites are softly but uniformly set, 4 to 6 minutes. Divide among individual serving bowls, then sprinkle with feta and mint. Serve.


For crunch: Serve with crusty bread or croutons.

Add more herbs: Cilantro, chives, and parsley would make great additions to the mint.

Indian-Spiced Chicken Zoodle Bowl

Serves 2

  • ½ mango, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces zucchini noodles, cut into 6-inch lengths, divided
  • ½ cup Herb-Yogurt Sauce*

Combine mango, cilantro, and lemon juice in bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to serve. Whisk garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in medium bowl, then add chicken and toss to coat.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to clean bowl, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm, and set aside until ready to serve.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add ½ teaspoon garam masala, pinch salt, pinch pepper, and half of zucchini noodles and cook, tossing frequently, until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to individual serving bowl and repeat with remaining 1 teaspoon oil, remaining ½ teaspoon garam masala, remaining pinch salt, remaining pinch pepper, and remaining zucchini noodles. Top zucchini noodles with chicken, mango mixture, and sauce. Serve.

Yogurt Sauce

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (Do not substitute low-fat or nonfat yogurt here.)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.)


Chipotle-Yogurt Sauce

Substitute lime zest and juice for lemon zest and juice. Add 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce.

*Herb-Yogurt Sauce

Add 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro and 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint.

Book cover of Bowls the cookbook

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