Make yourself rainbow bowls perfectly customized to your tastes and just as pretty as the ones from the restaurant. Prep this bowl of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and omega-3s in advance, take it to go, or enjoy while relaxing at home.
It was Wednesday night, the end of another hump day, and there I sat on a Bolt bus to New York. My stomach was rumbling, but I made myself wait to pull out my beautifully packed Rainbow Baked Salmon Bowl (more accurately called “Tupperware”). There was still quite a ways to go, and I didn’t follow my own guide to preparing for travels. Shame on me, I know.
Can you blame me, though? I was headed to the Big Apple for a long weekend!
Usually I’m not so excited about being in such a crowded place, but this trip was looking good. As part of the Design and Innovation Fellowship I’m in at school, for marketing and graphic design majors, about 30 of us were visiting companies, networking with alumni and others who’ve forged a path for us. All right, so I definitely was not looking forward to the small talk. But the company lineup looked phenomenal, our hotel was ten times fancier than last year’s, and I’m better friends with some of the other Fellows this year.
NYC did not disappoint.
From the moment I shrugged my blazer onto my shoulders early Thursday morning, I saw what my life could be like in a year. So THIS is what it’s like to be a real person! And I loved it. Walking around the city, dressed to the nines in a funky sort of business casual style, mingling with other young, artsy professionals. Talk about a moment of clarity. It felt like I found my people.
While walking from one office to the next, it struck me that I was literally living out a childhood fantasy. Do you remember when your dream job changed from one day to the next? I went from veterinarian to artist to actress to lawyer, and that’s only a fraction of them. But there was one thing that sticks out clearly, the sole constant in my young, fickle mind. Me, wearing a sophisticated outfit (probably involving a blazer) and carrying a beautiful big leather bag, while purposefully walking along the city streets.
Once I realized this, the rest of the day felt a little surreal. In a great, fantastic way.
By 5:00 PM it was all speeding up into a blurry jumble of exciting discoveries in my head, so wandering around Paper Source for a bit before meeting my mom for dinner was just what I needed. After that decompression, we had some of the most delicious vegan food I’ve ever tasted, at Peacefood Café. I highly recommend you go there. We split the Roasted Japanese Pumpkin Sandwich, Grilled Oyster Mushrooms with Sautéed Kale in Parsnip Purée, Pan-Seared Shanghai Style Dumplings, and a slice of Raw Cacao Mousse Pie for dessert.
And yes, we finished everything. After all, a girl’s got to eat. At the end of the day, I discovered that I walked over 11.5 miles without noticing! No wonder I was so hungry.
After doing it all again the next day, my mind kept wandering back to this colorful bowl. Particularly because I was sitting on the subway heading over to Queens, listening to my stomach rumble along with the train wheels. Mmmm, that tangy burst of grapefruit. Ever since using it in this Kale Citrus Berry Salad, I’ve been finding new pairings for grapefruit. Although a classic will always be to broil it with cinnamon and coconut oil, as inspired by Rachael’s Good Eats.
Truthfully, I was a little nervous while making this bowl for dinner. What if the person sitting next to me on the bus had a severe aversion to fish? Man, that would be so incredibly uncomfortable. Not to mention difficult, since I’d be huddling over my container to prevent the fishy smell from spreading, while trying to eat quickly and not make a mess.
Thankfully we never reached that bridge. I enjoyed my Rainbow Baked Salmon Bowl in peace.
The range of colors means you know you’re getting the nutrients you need from all across the spectrum. You’ve got plant-based fiber and protein, vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and folate, as well as those good fats from the salmon. It’s really a feel-good, pick-me-up meal. The type you can curl up on the couch with and feel content about eating. No risk of a food coma to leave you lethargically stumbling around the house for the rest of the day.
Baked salmon is also one of the easiest protein sources to make, especially if you need to do it at the beginning of the week as meal prep. If you’re like me and get the Costco packs of frozen wild Alaskan salmon (life-changer), then you know they defrost in a snap and are perfectly baked in no time.
Sautéing the spinach and roasting the vegetables makes this bowl wonderfully warm. It can also be served cold, with the added flavor from oven-roasting, which balances the fresh fruity taste. Quinoa gives you those healthy whole grains (and all 9 essential amino acids!) that keep you full and energized. My favorite way to prepare it is to add something to the water while cooking, so that the quinoa absorbs the flavor better than if you simply pour on dressing later. I went with balsamic for this bowl. Its tangy sweetness is the final touch you need to tie this Rainbow Baked Salmon Bowl together.
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram to share!
- ¼ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided
- ⅓ onion, sliced
- 1 small beet
- 1 (5-6 oz) salmon fillet
- 2 tsp avocado oil, divided
- 1½ cups baby spinach
- ½ avocado, diced
- ½ grapefruit, peeled and segmented
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In the meantime, cook the quinoa according to the package in a small pot with ½ cup water and 1 teaspoon of the vinegar.
- Wrap the beet in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until soft.
- Spread the onion slices on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with ½ teaspoon of oil. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges.
- At the same time, drizzle the salmon with 1 teaspoon each oil and vinegar, then sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until light pink on the inside.
- Heat the remaining ½ teaspoon oil in a small frying pan or the pot used for the quinoa. Lightly wilt the spinach, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- TO ASSEMBLE: Peel and slice the beet. Toss together the spinach, quinoa, beet, grapefruit, avocado, and onion. Top with the salmon. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Store in a container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
*This recipe was inspired by The Skinny Fork.