Many people may think protein bowls are just the latest fad, but in many countries, mixing layers of grains, proteins and vegetables in a bowl have been a mainstay of everyday meals for centuries. For me, they offer full flavors, a wonderful balance and a lower carb count. Here are five of my favorite:
8226 Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 822-0463, vitalitybowls.com
Breakfast is so refreshing with an açaí (pronounced "ah-sigh-ee") bowl, a nutritional powerhouse made from a thick blend of the Amazon’s antioxidant-rich açaí berry, topped with organic granola (gluten-free is available, too), plus a selection of superfood ingredients. I order mine with sliced bananas and a little squeeze of honey and am set for the day.
5405 University Parkway, University Park, (941) 225-4590; 4067 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 893-4881; oakandstone.com
Even casual burger and pizza spots are adding delicious fuel. Oak & Stone's veggie bowl has tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados and roasted mushrooms that add earthiness.
8491 Cooper Creek Blvd.,
Sarasota, (941) 208-3900, eatfreshkitchen.com
The protein bowls here are fresh and abundant, with your choice of bases like sweet potato noodles or quinoa and toppings like roasted carrots, baked almond chicken or chia seed tuna poke ($1.50 extra), Parmesan broccoli, chilled Caprese tofu and more. I recommend the ginger dressing. It goes with just about everything and is a light, bright enhancement.
3971 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 924-9090; 8101 Cooper Creek Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 360-3171; 7456 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 1681 U.S. 41 Bypass S., Venice, (941) 493-4180; bonefishgrill.com
The restaurant lists its grilled salmon superfood salad in the "greens" section of its menu, but it is a bowl, for sure, with grilled salmon and superfoods like kale and romaine, ancient grains, feta, avocado, pickled onions and sweet potato bites. Now all the restaurant needs is a bowl with Bang Bang Shrimp!
5248 University Parkway, Sarasota, (941) 256-3460, zoeskitchen.com
The cauliflower rice bowl is light and refreshing with tzatziki, feta, Israeli skhug (a hot sauce), cucumbers and fresh dill. Add some harissa for an extra spicy kick and add on a grilled lamb kabob for a more substantial meal.