anatomy of soul bowl

IMG_2309 (2).jpg

I just love a warm ‘soul bowl’ filled with plant-based goodness. There is nothing quite like it for leaving me feeling nourished and satisfied.

The trick with putting together plant-based dishes that hit the spot is making sure there are different flavours, colours and textures. Does it need a spoonful of coconut yoghurt for creaminess, some roasted nuts and seeds for crunch or a sprinkle of fresh herbs or chilli for some added colour? The other key thing is making sure that it’s well balanced in the way of protein, carbs and healthy fats.

All plants have the full spectrum of amino acids - contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as an ‘incomplete protein’, it’s the ratio of the amino acid profile that differers from plant to plant, whereas in meat and fish the ratios are similar to what is used in the body. With this in mind - having a bowl bringing together different elements with different types of plant-based foods is a good way to go.

Plants that have a higher protein content (in relation to carb content) are legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas), seeds like quinoa and buckwheat, nuts and seeds and plant based foods like tofu and tempeh so make them the hero of the dish and build around that. Think mini burgers from black beans or quinoa, roasted tofu or a big dollop of hummus with plenty of tahini etc. Seeds and grains that are higher in protein are quinoa, buckwheat, black and wholegrain rice

Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil are good examples of healthy plant based fats that with help keep you full.

I’ve put together a little guide to help you get creative and try out some of your own combos!


This is usually a high protein seed, grain or a carb derived from a seed or grain or pulse


  • Quinoa

  • Brown or wild rice

  • Buckwheat

  • Freekeh

  • Aramanth

  • Buckwheat noodles

  • Black bean noodles

  • Edamame noodles


This is the hero of the dish - use a high protein plant to create something that brings the dish together


  • Miso mushroom falafel (see recipe)

  • Black bean, quinoa and plantain mini burger balls (recipe coming soon)

  • Hummus (see recipe)

  • Miso and tahini tofu (recipe coming soon)

  • Turmeric tofu (see recipe)

  • Mushroom and walnut pate (recipe coming soon)

  • Miso babaganoush (see recipe)


I like to add a roasted root veggie in there as well - not always but usually during the winter


Roasted sweet potato with smoked paprika

Swede wedges roasted with apple cider vinegar and a little honey


Squash / pumkin

Roasted cauli (not technically a root but…)


Greens and goodness always make it into my soul bowls


  • Kate

  • Peas

  • Rocket

  • Broccoli

  • Edamame beans

  • Cavolo nero


Keep it simple of jazz it up…


  • Lemon and extra virgin olive oil

  • tahini, lime, miso, tamari, rice vinegar, honey, extra v oilve oil

  • Mustard, lemon, extra v olive oil, apple cider vinegar


This is the bit where you get creative and bring it all to life and make it look pretty and add some texture - it doesn’t always have to look picture perfect, but when something looks as good as it tastes and looks like love has been put into making it, it tastes that bit better!


Toasted seeds

Roasted nuts

Coconut yoghurt

Fresh herbs

Chilli flakes

Fresh chilli

This black bean based soul bowl is an easy one to put together and really hits the spot!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

800g of organic black beans (tins or carton of pre soaked)

1 shallot

1 clove garlic

1/4 red chilli

1 tin tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chopped coriander stalks

1 plantain

coconut oil for frying

extra virgin olive oil

1/4 red cabbage

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 vegetable stock cube

1 lemon wedge

1 avocado

1 small bunch of coriander

1 lime

salt and pepper


  1. Finely dice the shallot, garlic, chilli and coriander stalks and fry off in a frying pan with a little coconut oil

  2. Once translucent add the herbs and fry for a further couple of minutes until fragrant

  3. Add the black beans (drain and rinse 400g and pour the other 400g in with the water from the carton/can), add the tomatoes and reduce down (should take around 10/15 mins)

  4. Cover the quinoa in water and crumble in 1/2 stock cube and add the lemon wedge and put on a the hob on a medium heat

  5. Once the stew and quinoa are nearly done, add a little coconut oil to a frying pan and fry off the plantain, flipping until golden on both sides

  6. Mash the avocado with the juice of half a lime, chopped coriander and salt and pepper

  7. Finely chop the red cabbage and toss in a little lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil - season

  8. Drain the quinoa and place in a bowl, ladle the stew on top and add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, season and serve with lime wedges and a sprinkle or coriander on top!


emily barker