Is there anything more satisfying than digging into a hearty, healthy, mouth-watering big bowl of plantbased goodness? Packed with flavour and colour, Vancouver big bowl crafters do not hold back when adding seasonal vegetables, hearty grains, savoury and sweet sauces, veggie proteins, and luscious dressings, to a bed of crispy greens.
Personally, we adhere to the ratio of 25% greens and raw bits and 75% yummy toppings! When crafting at home, start with a solid base of chopped romaine mixed with a handful of peppery arugula, shredded carrots, chopped cucumbers, and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with your favourite dressing. On this base, add a scoop of last night’s lentils, cubes of raw smoked tofu, slide on some spicy fried eggplant take-away, or even sliced strawberries – there is no wrong way to build. Sometimes we crispy fry tempeh or tofu and add on top – hot elements should be embraced – as they add another layer of yum.
Here are five bowls from Lower Mainland restaurants and cafes that we have devoured and highly recommend for take-out, patio-dining, or enjoying on the seawall while watching the boats go by.
The MeeT Restaurants are masters of the big bowls. Their Greenery section is where all this deliciousness can be found. Try the Crispy Kalamari Caesar (battered and fried oyster mushrooms and tzatziki dressing), The Beet Salad (chickpeas, crumbled feta, pea pesto dressing), or the hearty Organic Quinoa & Roasted Yam Salad with mint vinaigrette.
The Tofu Bowl at Tractor contains power greens and/or brown rice, your selection of two market sides, and a grilled tofu steak. Choices of sides include Southwest Quinoa, Curried Cauliflower, Lemon Kale, Tahini Beet, Kimchi, and more!
This Hawaiian Bowl was a special and we dream of having it again! Hey Kokomo offers macro bowls that are huge on flavour. The Coastal, Shawarma, and Beet Poke are filled with dense nutrition with ingredients like marinated tempeh, edamame hummus, marinated soy curls, marinated beetroot, all with brown rice, dressings, and pickled elements.
Over the past few years, Cactus Club Cafe‘s across Canada has rolled out a wide array of plantbased dishes that were created in their Vancouver test kitchen. Nothing says summer on the patio in Yaletown, than digging into one of their signature Bowls with a frozen Bellini! The Crispy Tofu Bowl has soy chili tofu, jasmine rice, mango cubes, cucumber slices, avocado, edamame, ginger, and radish. Refreshing light yet filling. (Nothing wrong with adding a side of fries to make it a dinner!)
TurF is a unique concept that pretty defines Kitsilano in a cafe. A fitness studio, shop, plant-based meal designer, vegan bakery, and coffee bar all rolled into one. The Everything Salad and Greens All Day can be customized to add tofu or tempeh steak, and various toppings and seeds.
We would love to hear where your favourite Big Bowls can be found in the city! Visit our Instagram and let us know under our Big Bowl posts.
Research assistance for this story provided by Anissa Salais.