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Shrimp and Farro Grain Bowl with Lime Vinaigrette

Ramona King

Shrimp and Farro Grain Bowl with Lime Vinaigrette


10 colorful, fun recipes for building the ultimate Southern bowl

Bowls are likely the most practical of food trends in ages — by learning how to build a meal out of lots of colorful ingredients of various flavors and textures, you can create a tasty, efficient meal that’s perfect for an on-the-go or lunch.

To live your best bowl-life, we’ve gathered some bowl-spiration from recipes that'll help you make lots of tasty ingredients work together in one delicious dish. Once you've mastered our bowl-based recipes, get started on your own adventure with a round up of some of our favorite recipes that will work perfectly in a Southern-inspired bowl.

Shrimp and Farro Grain Bowl with Lime Vinaigrette
Bright, green crunchy, this grain bowl is the perfect recipe to add to your weekend meal prep. To make it that much easier to create a delicious and healthy bowl, we use no-fuss farro as the base, which you can cook up just like dried pasta.
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Catfish and Rice Bowl with Soy Vinaigrette
Building a rice or grain bowl should be more of an improvisation than a standardized recipe. Have a rough idea of the flavors you’d like to incorporate, and then you’re only limited by your imagination. In this version, we’re taking ingredients common to Southern cuisine — catfish, benne seeds, black-eyed peas — and giving them a bit of Asian flair. 
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Carolina Gold Rice Pudding with Strawberries
Who says food bowls can only be for main meals? Embrace that sweet side of Southern cooking with a rice pudding bowl. This recipe uses Carolina Gold, a medium-grain, aromatic rice from the South Carolina low country, which gives this pudding its creamy, starchy consistency. On top? Macerated strawberries and plenty of fresh mint.
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Smoky Bacon and Black-Eyed Pea Salad
A combination of that most-loved of pork products, black-eyed peas, peppers, red onions and celery makes this crunchy salad hearty yet still jam-packed with vegetables. You can serve the dish right away on top of rice in your favorite bowl, but if you have a little time, let it rest in the fridge to let all of the flavors settle in nicely.
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Smoked Trout Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
The scallions, parsley and cucumber add depth and splash of color to a classic dressing that pairs perfectly with rich, smoky trout, mild potatoes and sweet pickled onions. Serve this salad on top of quinoa to complete your meal. (And, while you can certainly smoke your own trout for this salad, you can find good-quality smoked trout in your local supermarket.)
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Wild Rice Butternut and Pecan Pilaf
With any well-crafted bowl, you need to start out with a hearty base — and what better way to do that than with wild rice? Crunchy, nutty, and good for you too, this pilaf and butternut squash recipe goes perfectly with your favorite protein and a handful of seasonal greens.
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Old-Fashioned Hoppin' John
For when you’re craving something a bit more comforting when building your lunch bowl, look no further than this classic Southern staple. Like most good bowl ingredients, this can be made well ahead of time, and can be warmed up during the week with some greens and pork shoulder (see below) for the ultimate Southern lunch.  
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Instant Pot Collard Greens
Collard greens are a workhorse ingredient — they soak up lots of flavor and add a deep richness to any meal, which makes them perfect for adding to just about any Southern bowl. Using an Instant Pot to cook 'em makes the greens an even more ideal addition to a lunch bowl — using pressure in a moist environment creates quick and perfectly tender greens in just 20 minutes. Just don't forget to add rendered bacon fat! You’ll thank us later.
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Instant Pot Barbecue Pork Shoulder
No knives are required for this crazy easy barbecue pork recipe — after simply seasoning the meat and combining everything in the pot, you've got ultra-tender pork that basically shreds itself. Hold onto the braising liquid to drizzle over your savory lunch bowl for a meaty, smoky punch of flavor.
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Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo  
Like any good gumbo worth making, this recipe takes a bit of extra effort when it comes to making a perfectly darkened roux, but you’ll be rewarded in a smoky, rich stew that can be scooped onto your favorite grains for a super savory grain bowl that’ll satisfy any mid-day cravings.  
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Photo credit (Catfish and Rice Bowl with Soy Vinaigrette, Instant Pot Collard Greens, Instant Pot Barbecue Pork Shoulder, Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo): Ramona King 
Photo credit (Smoky Bacon and Black-Eyed Pea Salad, Wild Rice Butternut and Pecan Pilaf): Lisa Lotts 
Photo credit (Smoked Trout Salad with Green Goddess Dressing): Lauren 
Photo credit (Old-Fashioned Hoppin' John): Kate Williams 

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Dena Rayess is a recipe editor and cookbook author based in San Francisco. She enjoys exploring new foodways in and around the Bay Area and beyond, and has been known to whip up a mean house cocktail at dinner parties.