Summer is here and we’re Hot For Food All Day by Lauren Toyota (256 pages)

Create the perfect bowl to pack and eat outdoors.
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Summer is here and we’re Hot For Food All Day by Lauren Toyota (256 pages)

Create the perfect bowl to pack and eat outdoors with Hot for Food All Day

As the temperature rises and the days get longer, we’re all looking to spend more time outdoors, especially this summer after the lockdowns many of us faced in 2020. 

If you’ve read any of my previous Journal posts, you know that I am all about the food! I love creating bowls for lunch or dinner but find myself quickly running out of ideas and making the same thing over and over, which becomes very dull and uninspiring. I don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen, so a quick and healthy bowl makes a perfect summer supper or can easily be packed and carried to the park, along with a good book. 

In her book Hot For Food All Day, Lauren Toyota introduces us to the bowl bible, her simple strategy for creating the perfect bowls. Starting with the base, something wholesome and satisfying, incorporating a combination of veggies, the protein, and finally, through to the great dressing and crunchy toppings, Lauren offers a foolproof approach to making the perfect bowl. 

One large and one medium salad bowl accompanied by two small bowls of cucumber and seeds and olive oil -Hot for Food All Day

Image via Yoav Aziz @Unsplash

Asian inspired salad with peanuts, lemon and chilli in a blue bowl with black background - Hot for Food All Day

Image via Yakshi Virmani @Unsplash

Let’s talk about the base. Like most things in life, you need to start with a good foundation, and the perfect bowl is no exception. You may not have heard of some of these grains but experimenting with them provides an exciting opportunity to experience new flavours and textures. Here are some options to get you started – each makes 4 servings, which means you can cook your base in advance and then build your bowl quickly and fresh each day. 

  • 2 ½ cups cooked buckwheat groats (1 cup / 6.5oz / 185g dried grain)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup / 6.35oz / 180g dried grain)
  • 2 ½ cups cooked farro (1 cup / 6.8oz / 192g dried grain)
  • 4 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (1 cup / 8.5oz / 240g dried grain)

Once you have your base, let’s think about the veggies, cooked and raw:

  • Raw vegetables – use any and as many raw vegetables as your heart desires. Remember to chop them into bite-size pieces to make them easier to eat. My favourites are grated carrots, beets, and red or green cabbage as not only do they have great flavour, but they also have great texture. 
  • Steamed greens – you could think about broccoli, bok choy, green beans, and kale. I’ll happily eat these veggies raw as well.
  • Griddled or charred – lettuce, romaine, asparagus, tomatoes, and cauliflower.

Protein, a vital component of any healthy diet, is used to balance the bowl and help fill you up. There are loads of choices, but I have focused on the plant-based options Lauren suggests in Hot For Food, and these also work with my own diet preferences. Here are some ideas:

  • Crispy or spicy tofu fingers
  • Chicken shawarma (soya-based)
  • Miso roasted squash
  • Crunchy butter beans (my personal favourite)

Don’t forget the creamy dressing:

  • Tahini Caesar
  • Hummus dressing
  • Creamy Pesto
  • Pink Goddess
  • Sesame Soy Vinaigrette

And finally, the topper! You can use any type of nut or seed. Some of my favourites are:

  • Toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Toasted white and black sesame seeds
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Shaved and toasted almonds

The recipes are scattered throughout the book, allowing you to pick and choose to create your own unique flavour combination that satisfies both your taste buds and your tummy. 

Why not take some of Lauren’s suggestions and combine them with some of your favourite foods to create a unique bowl? 

Don’t forget to share your photos on Instagram and tag them @booknbrunch and tag Jacqui directly @inspirationalchickpea

Jacqui Hodges

With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel.

A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for  industry publications.

Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli


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