A while ago, my sister and her husband were asking me questions about macro counting. One of the things I like to do when people are looking for help is to see what they are eating already. She sent me over a description of some items that she ordered for take out, and one of them happened to be an Italian bowl. I thought it sounded absolutely delicious, so I knew I had to do my own spin on it.
Now, I absolutely love salads. I think they are a smart way to get in a variety of vegetables, and they are usually HUGE. I love to eat for volume! I don’t know about you, but when I think to make a salad bowl, the flavors of Italian foods don’t usually come first to mind. I usually think of taco salads or cobbs. However, it makes sense that Italian flavors would go awesome in a humongous salad.
This recipe is pretty straight forward, and I have a hard time calling it a recipe. In reality, it is just a bunch of yummy diced things in a bowl and hardly any cooking is involved, except for some cauliflower rice or chicken if you don’t have some prepped already. Since it is so simple, though, it makes it perfect for when you just need to throw something quick together.
The bowl starts with a salad base. I chose to go with arugula. If you are not into the peppery flavor of it, romaine would be a great substitution. On top of that you’ll add some cauliflower rice seasoned with some Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Then, add in a bunch of yummy bites: deli sliced pepperoncinis, marinated artichoke hearts, pickled onions, diced cherry tomatoes, chopped chicken (you could cook your own or just use rotisserie), sliced salami, and Parmesan cheese. Finally, you’ll drizzle it with a non fat Italian dressing, or you can choose your favorite dressing.
Now, you might look at this list and think there is no way my family would eat that. You might be right, but I do have a couple tips for serving it to your family:
- I made a side of regular rice to go along side this meal. I did this so my husband could add more carbs to his bowl if he wanted to, and my kids aren’t into cauliflower rice. I seasoned it with some Italian seasonings, and it fit in well!
- Allow your kids to pick and choose which toppings they’d like to add to their bowls. Obviously, not all of these things are kid friendly. My kids always get excited when they can build their own meal!
- On the flip side, some kids prefer to eat items separately vs all combined in a bowl. If that’s your kid, let me them go for it!
- CHEESE! I think cheese might be the answer to a lot of cooking dilemmas with kids. HA! But, if adding some extra Parmesan, or maybe even mozzarella, to their bowls helps them eat a meal, then so be it.
Probably one of the greatest things about this meal is that it can be easily adapted to fit whatever macro nutrients you need to fill. If you’re low on protein, add more chicken. If you are high on fat, scale back on the salami or Parmesan. If you need more carbs, enjoy with some rice or with some french bread (my preference!). Macros for the salad with the ingredients listed below are 11F/16C/37P, 311 calories which is so light for a huge salad bowl. It is so easy to fit into any day, and it left me feeling very full and satisfied.
Italian Salad Bowl
- cooked chicken breast (cook your own or just use a rotisserie chicken)
- arugula or romaine lettuce
- Cauliflower rice, prepared with Italian seasoning and garlic salt, to taste
- marinated artichoke hearts
- Pepperoncini peppers, deli sliced
- Parmesan Cheese
- Pickled Red Onions
- Salami, sliced
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Fat free Italian dressing, or dressing of your choice
- Prepare ingredients above. Begin building your bowl by placing 40 g of arugula in the bottom of the bowl. Next lay on 85g of cooked cauliflower rice, 14 g of sliced salami, 3 oz of cooked chicken, 15 g of slice pepperoncinis, 28 g of marinated artichoke hearts, 30 g of cherry tomatoes, 20 g of pickled red onion, and 10 g of parmesan cheese. Drizzle with 32 g of fat free Italian dressing. Combine, if desired, and enjoy!