Healthy Dragon Bowls

Learn how to make delicious, easy, and healthy dragon bowls that are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates, fats, and protein. These are dairy free, gluten free, and can be made plant-based or with chicken or shrimp.

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

How To Make Healthy Dragon Bowls

 

Recently my husband and I took a trip to the mountains and stopped in a beautiful mountain town named Canmore for a bite to eat. We went to one of my favourite cafe’s and I ordered a delicious Dragon Bowl. This recipe is inspired by that bowl and will show you how you can easily make your own dragon bowls right at home!

These vegetable loaded bowls are so nourishing, filling, and there’s a lot of variety to how you can make them too!

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

What is a Dragon Bowl?

 

Dragon bowls, similar to “buddha bowls“, is essentially a meal-in-a-bowl that consists of a high-quality protein and nutrient dense vegetables over a whole grain base like rice or quinoa, or is sometimes served over roasted sweet potatoes, and a bed of spinach. This delicious combination is topped with a sauce that has an Asian-inspired flare such as a red coconut curry sauce or a tahini-based sauce. 

The bowls are then usually topped with fresh garnishes such as sprouts, cilantro, sesame seeds or peanuts. 

There’s exact original recipe for a dragon bowl, so there’s a lot of room to play and get creative with this delicious dish. 

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

What is Dragon Sauce made of? 

 

Again, there’s a lot of variety out on the internet for the specific sauce that you put in a dragon bowl. The bowl that I love from my favourite cafe in Canmore actually uses a red curry sauce that has a coconut milk base and that’s my choice sauce for my dragon bowl. 

Others often use a mixture of ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, ginger, tahini, or other nut butter, miso paste, sesame oil, and vinegar. Trader Joe’s actually carries a dragon hot sauce, but it doesn’t have the tangy, creamy flare that I believe a good dragon bowl should have and it’s best used in small doses. 

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

Are Dragon Bowls Healthy?

 

You bet! When it comes to making a dragon bowl, you’ll see there’s a ton (and I mean a ton) of veggies packed into them. I love using a combination of raw and lightly cooked vegetables for a mix of textures, and all colours of the rainbow. 

Not only do the vegetables provide ample vitamins and minerals, the grains and sweet potato (if included) bring in fibre and energizing complex carbohydrates, and there’s usually a protein included such as tofu or chickpeas for plant-based, chicken or shrimp! 

One thing to note is that dragon bowls can be more caloric, so it’s best to enjoy them earlier in the day and be mindful of overall portion size for your individual needs. 

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

Dragon Bowl Ingredients

 

To make my easy and healthy dragon bowls you need a lovely array of ingredients that are easy to find, and you likely have many in your kitchen already! 

 

  • Extra firm tofu, chicken, or shrimp (your choice!)
  • Spinach
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Snap peas
  • Red bell pepper
  • Brown rice (or quinoa)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Peanuts
  • Lime

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

Dragon Sauce Ingredients

 

To make my version of a delicious dragon sauce for these healthy bowls you will need:

  • Coconut milk
  • Peanut butter 
  • Tahini
  • Red curry paste
  • Soy sauce (gluten free if needed)
  • Sesame oil
  • Coconut sugar (or honey)
  • Lime juice
  • Garlic
  • Ginger

NITK's Red Curry Dragon Bowl // Gluten & Dairy Free

Steps To Make the Bowls:

 

While the ingredients list might seem extensive, don’t be intimidated, I promise these dragon bowls are very easy to whip up and assemble!

**Cook the rice/quinoa ahead of time**

  1. Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk, and set aside. 
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the tofu, chicken, or shrimp until browned, then transfer to a plate. 
  3. In the same pan, add in the sauce and bring to a simmer
  4. Add in the bell pepper, broccoli, and snap peas and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the protein back in
  5. Simmer everything for 2-3 more minutes then remove from heat. 
  6. Take 4 large bowls and line each bowl with fresh spinach leaves then top the spinach with the cooked rice or quinoa (make sure it’s warm).
  7. Ladle the dragon bowl sauce, vegetable, and protein mixture over the rice in each bowl
  8. Top with sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, bean sprouts, cilantro, peanuts, and lime
  9. Dig in!

 

Have you had a dragon bowl before? What was in yours? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, and be sure to pin the photo below the recipe to save this one for later! 

 
Healthy Dragon Bowls

Healthy Dragon Bowls

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Delicious and healthy dragon bowls made with tons of veggies, rice or quinoa, spinach, and a delicious tahini and coconut red curry dragon sauce. Gluten free, dairy free, and can be plant-based too!

Ingredients

Coconut Tahini Dragon Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • 2 heaping tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar or honey
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger or ginger paste

Dragon Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cubed (or 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts, or 20 large deveined shrimp)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli crowns, loosely chopped
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 2 cups brown rice or quinoa, cooked ahead of time

Dragon Bowl Garnishes

  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup cilantro. chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice/quinoa ahead of time.
  2. Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk, and set aside. 
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan and sauté the tofu, chicken, or shrimp until browned (approx 4-5 minutes), then transfer to a plate. 
  4. In the same pan, add in the sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  5. Add in the bell pepper, broccoli, and snap peas and simmer for 2 more minutes, then add the cooked tofu, chicken, or shrimp back to the pan.
  6. Simmer everything for 2-3 more minutes then remove from heat. 
  7. Take 4 large bowls and line the bottom of each bowl with fresh spinach leaves then top the spinach with 1/2 cup of warm cooked rice or quinoa.
  8. Divide the the dragon bowl sauce, vegetable, and protein mixture with a ladle over the rice in each bowl. 
  9. Top each bowl with the sliced red cabbage, shredded carrot, bean sprouts, cilantro, peanuts, and a lime wedge. 
  10. Dig in!

 

Pin me!

Healthy Dragon Bowls pin 2

 

More Bowl Recipes You’ll Love:

 

 

Christal // NITK

Author: Christal Sczebel

Christal is the creator of Nutrition in the Kitch. She's a Certified Nutritional Consultant, twice published author, gluten and dairy free recipe developer, food photographer, speaker, wife, and mama. Christal loves good food, all things wellness, and loves to travel. Her wellness philosophy is centred around balance and sustainable health, life's way too short for boring diets and restriction!

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  • Absolutely delicious, for my personal taste I think I could have used some lime zest or an extra lime in the sauce. Otherwise, absolutely fabulous! We saved this recipe for many future dinners 🙂

  • LOL!!!!! Anytime you feel like you are a weirdo, please know that you are not alone. I am sure that all of us that suscribe to your newsletter are in the same boat as you are. My husband and my sons all give me that same look you describe the look your hubby was giving you all the time when I fall in love with food that they find well, repulsive.

    • Bahahah… glad I’m not alone in this Michelle! Haha, my hubby actually enjoyed the dragon bowl when I allowed him to have a few bites haha, I think he was just repulsed with my savage eating style and also being as in love with a bowl of food as I was in that moment! Haha!!

  • Haha! I love how you described Justin looking at you when you were finished eating. Too funny! You must have really enjoyed that bowl! This looks amazing, Christal!

  • You had me laughing through this whole post. I could picture the whole thing! On another note, this dragon bowl is going to be a must try in our house! Thanks for the recipe, Christal!

  • This sounds heavenly Christal! No wonder you got excited about it 🙂 I have never had a dragon bowl before, but now I am really wanting to try it out! As a vegetarian, I reckon that dragon bowls will benefit me, making sure they are high on protein 😀 Thanks for the inspiration! x

    • Totally! And for my particular recipe you can easily substitute the chicken for tofu or beans for protein!