How To Make A Harvest Bowl And Eat It All Week

Are your eyes ever bigger than your stomach? (It's okay, mine so totally are!  Hehe!)

Do you ever have a big pile of veggies in your fridge that want to eat up before they go bad?

Do you have a CSA share and are determined to use it all up?

Or just want to get in a routine of eating more veggies in general?

Have I got an idea for you!

Make a huge harvest bowl dish with all of the veggies in your fridge and pair it with a grain of your choice and a protein of your choice each night of the week!

Here’s how easy it is…


What is a harvest bowl?

Well, I’m not really the expert here! Haha, I wish!

Actually several CSA members who post in our private CSA members Facebook community group have been telling me about how they use their veggies to make a “harvest bowl”.

It’s a bowl of food usually with a heavy fresh veggie focus, and a (whole) grain of choice and/or a protein of choice topped with an easy homemade (or pre-made) dressing/sauce.

It’s an all-in-one meal in a bowl that's healthy, easy, fast, flexible and delicious.  Here's a pic of some of our CSA members' creations from 2019... 



The story behind the harvest bowl idea

Just before Thanksgiving our farm attended the Maine Harvest Festival in Bangor. We have a CSA member named Jay Demers who is also a Chef at Eastern Maine Community College Department of Culinary Arts.

We gave him 4 extra CSA boxes for his students to work with to create a meal using the entire contents of a CSA share during a live demonstration they did at the Maine Harvest Festival. Here he is with some of his students showing off their completed meal at the festival:



How do you make a harvest bowl?

Good question! Here I’m going to give you a basic formula for making one and then below I’ll give you Chef Jay’s actual recipe that he and his students came up with for the Harvest Festival in November.

A harvest bowl can be made up of four components: veggies, grains, protein, and dressing/sauce. Here are some examples of what kinds of things you could use (but certainly not limited to!) in each of the four categories:

#1 Veggies:

Anything you’ve got! Not kidding! Chef Demers literally took the entire contents of the Winter CSA share and put it all into his harvest bowl!

  • Greens like kale, mizuna, spinach, Swiss chard, radish or turnip tops, etc.
  • Root veggies like carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, radishes, etc.
  • Summer favorites like squash, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, fennel, etc.
  • Fall favorites like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, etc.
  • Winter favorites like leeks, cabbage, kohlrabi, winter squash, etc.
  • Fresh herbs/toppings like cilantro, parsley, dill, avocados, olives, artichokes, nuts, seeds etc. for garnish or added to an optional dressing for a flavor burst.

For technique with your veggies, you can either sauté them or roast them or leave them in a raw form or do a combination!

So maybe roasting some of the winter veggies might be best. Or sautéing the summer veggies. And some of the greens could be left raw to be wilted by the other warm veggies. Pre-prepare your veggies according to your preference and then store them in the fridge for easy grabbing to complete your harvest bowl.

#2 Grains:

Most things would work here! Whole grains work well.

  • Farro (an ancient wheat variety that is exploding among the CSA members!  Find it at RENY’s of all places!)
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Risotto
  • Pasta
  • Oat groats, cracked oats

Pre-prepare your grain option according to the instructions for each grain. Then you can store it in the fridge until it is time to have your meal. Be sure to make extra so that it will last through the week.

#3 Protein:

Your choice of protein will work here, too!  You can even let the kids all choose whatever protein option they want so everyone is happy!

  • Meats/seafoods like grilled/roasted chicken, sliced steak, ground meats (beef, turkey, etc.), baked/grilled fish, shrimp, etc.
  • Eggs: Hard-boiled, soft boiled, even fried!
  • Cheese: FETA is a favorite of CSA members, or chevre (aka goat cheese), or any kind!
  • Beans/pulses: Lentils and chickpeas are a popular choice. Or black beans, kidney beans, etc.
  • Meat substitutes like grilled tofu, etc.

Pre-prepare your grain option however you like it! You could make your protein option fresh every night and then put it on top of the pre-made veggies and grains. Or you could use something easy like canned beans/chickpeas or pre-cooked meats.

#4 Dressing/Sauce:

Any kind of basic salad dressing recipe or a more elaborate sauce recipe will work here.  Choose according to your other ingredients and try to pull together all the flavors in whatever direction you desire.  

  • Simple salad dressing like a vinaigrette (See Chef Demer’s Apple Cranberry Vinaigrette recipe below at the downloaded doc… YUM!) or a creamy salad dressing.  You pick!
  • Sauce: think a creamy sauce, sriracha, BBQ sauce, a sticky-sweet Chinese-inspired sauce, salsa, salsa verde/rojo, or pesto sauce, etc.


How to make your Harvest Bowl last all week:

So, picture getting a big pile of veggies (from your CSA share, from the market, or from your own garden even) and using them ALL in one single dish! You can do this for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner!  That’s the idea and here are the steps:

  1. Take a look at your veggies that you have and make a plan. 
  2. Prepare your veggies and cook them according to your plan.
  3. Store your prepared veggies in the fridge.
  4. Prepare your grain option and store in the fridge.
  5. Prepare your protein option and store in fridge (either cooked or waiting to be cooked).
  6. Prepare your optional garnish, dressing, or flavoring sauce (or just use a pre-made one).
  7. Come home and reheat everything (or have it at room temperature) for a quick, veggie rich, healthy meal!


The fun thing about making your own harvest bowl is that there’s no rule of thumb. The harvest bowl can fit just about anyone’s diet!

Now for further inspiration and for those of you who are "recipe" people...

Chef Jay Demers graciously gave me permission to share this with you.  Here's what he and the Eastern Maine Community College Department of Culinary Arts cooked up with Ripley Farm’s Winter CSA farm share #2 at the Maine Harvest Festival!  It's pretty impressive, I must say!

Click here to download it now.

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Comments (1)

As a mom of 3 littles, I'd seen these bowls so many times at restaurants and in cookbooks, but never thought to prepare them for my family. But the way you describe it here, I realize this could be a perfect prepare ahead option for a couple lunches or dinners for my family each week. Thank you for sharing!