Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

These kale and white bean power bowls are full of flavor, texture, protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Perfect for meal prep!

The post Kale and White Bean Power Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve been around Budget Bytes a while, then you already know how much I love bowl meals (we even have a whole category for them). So when several people asked me to replicate the Healthy Choice brand frozen Power Bowls, I needed to go see what all the fuss was about. I bought a few, and I have to say, they’re pretty good! …but expensive. So I knew I could do better. Here is my first riff off of the freezer aisle power bowls: Kale and White Bean Power Bowls. Pretty easy, VERY filling, and about half the price!

Overhead view of a kale and white bean power bowl with a fork in the side

My Modifications

This particular bowl is inspired by the White Bean & Feta Salad by Healthy Choice. Since that one had some of my fav ingredients, I knew it was a great place to start. The bowl was nice and filling, but overall it was a touch too sweet for my taste. So here’s what I subbed:

  • Sun dried tomatoes instead of dried cranberries to reduce the sweetness.
  • A homemade vinaigrette that is more tangy than their sweet vinaigrette.
  • Walnuts instead of pepitas. Walnuts just seemed like a better fit for this flavor profile.
  • Brown rice instead of mixed grains (theirs has brown rice, red rice, quinoa, and barley). Using one grain was just more convenient.

P.S. My bowls cost about $1.50 each and the store bought version retails at my local grocery store for $3.99 each ($3.50 on sale when I bought them). WIN.

Make it Your Own

One of my favorite things about bowl meals is that they are endlessly customizable. If you don’t like some of the ingredients I used, you can just swap them out! Here are some options:

  • Spinach instead of kale
  • Quinoa or cauliflower rice in place of brown rice
  • Chickpeas or kidney beans in place of cannellini beans
  • Store bought Greek or Italian dressing in place of the homemade vinaigrette

How to Store Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

This recipe is made for meal prepping. You can keep these bowls refrigerated for about 4 days, or you can freeze them for a couple of months. I suggest using a microwave to reheat the bowls (if frozen, use the defrost setting first, then full power to heat through).

three glass meal prep containers filled with kale and white bean power bowls
Overhead view of a Kale and White Bean Power Bowl with a fork in the side

Kale and White Bean Power Bowls

These kale and white bean power bowls are full of flavor, texture, protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Perfect for meal prep! 
Total Cost $5.81 recipe / $1.45 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 550.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice $0.40

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.52
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.30
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.15
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Sautéed Kale

  • 1/2 lb. chopped fresh kale (6 cups) $1.15
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.02
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans $0.07
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes $0.83
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.03
  • 2 oz. feta $1.14

Instructions

  • Begin cooking the rice first. The remaining bowl ingredients can be prepared while the rice is cooking. Add the rice and 2 cups water to a saucepot. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice sit with the lid in place for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.
  • While the rice is cooking, make the vinaigrette so the flavors have a little time to blend. In a jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Add the cooking oil and minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute. Add the chopped kale and salt. Sauté for a few more minutes, or just until the kale is wilted. Set the kale aside.
  • Finally, prepare the rest of the toppings. Rinse and drain the white beans. Chop the sun dried tomatoes and walnuts. Crumble the feta.
  • When the rice has finished cooking, it's time to assemble the bowls. Add about ¾ cup rice to each bowl or container, followed by ½ cup sautéed kale, ⅓ cup beans, and a tablespoon each of sun dried tomatoes and walnuts. Sprinkle a little feta over each bowl. Divide the vinaigrette between four small containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • Reheat the bowls using a microwave just before serving, then drizzle with vinaigrette, stir, and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 550.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 64.18g | Protein: 16.58g | Fat: 26.3g | Sodium: 887.8mg | Fiber: 10.1g

How to Make Kale and White Bean Power Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Cooked brown rice in a pot being fluffed with a fork

Start with the brown rice because it takes about 50 minutes to cook and the rest of the bowls can be prepared while the rice cooks. Add 1 cup brown rice to a pot with 2 cups water. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over high heat. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.

Overhead view of homemade vinaigrette in a jar.

Next, make the vinaigrette so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine ¼ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a jar or bowl. Whisk the ingredients to combine or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.

Chopped kale in a colander

Next, prepare the kale. I buy pre-chopped kale because it’s super inexpensive and really cuts down on the prep work. I do give it an extra rinse, though, and pick out any large pieces of stems.

Minced garlic and oil in a large pot

Add ½ Tbsp cooking oil and one clove of minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium for about a minute.

Sautéed kale in the pot

Add 1/2 lb. chopped kale to the pot with ⅛ tsp salt and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the kale is wilted. Set the kale aside.

Sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, beans, and feta on a cutting board

Prepare the last few ingredients. Chop about ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes and ¼ cup walnuts. Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of cannellini beans. Crumbled about 2 oz. feta.

Power bowls base layer of rice, kale, and beans

When the rice is finished cooking, it’s time to build the bowls. Start with ¾ cup rice in each bowl or container, ⅓ cup beans, and about ½ cup sautéed kale.

Sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, feta, and dressing added to the power bowl

Add about 1 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes and chopped walnuts on top, and a light sprinkle of crumbled feta. Divide the dressing between four containers. Refrigerate the bowls until ready to eat. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bowls after reheating, then stir and enjoy!

Overhead view of a Kale and White Bean Power Bowl with a fork in the side

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The Bagel Lunch Box

Here’s another quick lunch box idea (or meal prep breakfast idea) for you! While this one isn’t completely no-cook because it contains a hard boiled egg, it is still a super easy no-reheat lunch box that you can take to work, school, or on the road. This Bagel Lunch Box includes a mini bagel, some […]

The post The Bagel Lunch Box appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s another quick lunch box idea (or meal prep breakfast idea) for you! While this one isn’t completely no-cook because it contains a hard boiled egg, it is still a super easy no-reheat lunch box that you can take to work, school, or on the road. This Bagel Lunch Box includes a mini bagel, some of my favorite Scallion Herb Cream Cheese, a handful of vegetables that go oh so well with the flavored cream cheese, and a simple hard boiled egg. It’s super simple to put together, but it makes life so much easier when your mornings are busy. Just grab a lunch box and go!

Three glass meal prep containers in a diagonal line filled with the bagel lunch box items

About that Cream Cheese…

I included my Scallion Herb Cream Cheese in this bagel lunch box because it has so much flavor and really adds a nice element of interest to the meal. If you don’t want to make this cream cheese you can use plain cream cheese or use a store-bought flavored cream cheese. Another nice option is to use plain cream cheese, but then bring some Everything Bagel Seasoning with you to add some extra flavor.

Other Lunch Box Add-In Ideas

If you want to substitute any of the ingredients or add to this lunch box, here are some good ideas of things that would also match well:

  • Smoked salmon
  • Carrot sticks
  • An orange, tangerine, or cutie
  • Grapes
  • Deli ham
  • Alfalfa sprouts

Where Did You Get Those Containers?

The divided glass meal prep containers and the small metal cups were both purchased on Amazon (links in the bottom of the recipe card below). 

Three bagel lunch boxes lined up in a row

 
Three bagel lunch boxes lined up in a row

The Bagel Lunch Box

This Bagel Lunch Box is an easy and affordable grab and go breakfast or lunch idea, perfect for work or school.
Total Cost $5.32 recipe / $1.33 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 307.18kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Scallion Herb Cream Cheese

  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro $0.04
  • 1 green onion, sliced $0.11
  • 1/16 tsp garlic powder $0.01
  • 1/16 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.02

Lunch Box Ingredients

  • 4 mini bagels $1.52
  • 4 large eggs $0.92
  • 1 cucumber, sliced $1.29
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes $0.75

Instructions

  • To hard boil the eggs, place the eggs in a sauce pot and add water until the eggs are covered by one inch. Place the pot over high heat and allow the water to come up to a full boil. When it reaches a full boil, turn off the heat, place a lid on the pot, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool.
  • To make the scallion herb cream cheese, combine the cream cheese, parsley, cilantro, green onion, garlic powder, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir together until evenly combined.
  • Place one bagel in each lunch box along with ¼ of the cucumber slices, ¼ of the grape tomatoes, ¼ of the cream cheese (1 oz.), and one hard boiled egg. Refrigerate up to five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lunch box | Calories: 307.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.6g | Protein: 12.98g | Fat: 15.1g | Sodium: 420.95mg | Fiber: 420.95g

How to Make the Bagel Lunch Box – Step by Step Photos

Place Eggs in Ice Bath

To hard boil the eggs, add the eggs to a sauce pot and add enough water to cover them by one inch. Place the pot over high heat and allow the water to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer the eggs to an ice water bath to cool.

Scallion Herb Cream Cheese Spread mixed

To make the scallion herb cream cheese, combine 4 oz. cream cheese, 1 Tbsp chopped parsley, 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro, one sliced green onion, 1/16 tsp (or one pinch) garlic powder, 1/16 tsp (one pinch) salt, and ½ Tbsp lemon juice in a bowl. Stir until everything is evenly combined.

One bagel lunch box in a glass meal prep container

Place one bagel, one hard boiled egg, ¼ of the sliced cucumbers, ¼ of the tomatoes, and ¼ of the cream cheese (1 oz.) in each lunch box. Refrigerate up to five days.

The post The Bagel Lunch Box appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

Continuing on with the series of no-cook lunch boxes, I bring you The Peanut Butter Lunch Box! This one is so simple, yet I may have enjoyed this one the most out of all the lunch boxes I’ve prepared so far. I don’t know if it was the sweet-salty combo, or maybe it was just […]

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Continuing on with the series of no-cook lunch boxes, I bring you The Peanut Butter Lunch Box! This one is so simple, yet I may have enjoyed this one the most out of all the lunch boxes I’ve prepared so far. I don’t know if it was the sweet-salty combo, or maybe it was just nostalgia (for about two years straight in elementary school I ate peanut butter apple sandwiches for lunch), but every day I looked forward to this lunch box! So, if you’re a fan of peanut butter sandwiches, but want to change things up, give this peanut butter lunch box a try!

Three glass containers lined up with peanut butter apples, celery, pretzels and dates.

What’s in the Peanut Butter Lunch Box

Peanut butter is the focus of this lunch box, with both sweet and savory side items that are all delicious dipped into the creamy peanut butter. For my peanut butter lunch box I added pretzels, apple slices, celery, and dates. If you can’t eat peanut butter, this lunch box would be just as good with any other nut butter you prefer (almond, cashew, sunflower, etc.).

About Those Dates…

If you’ve never eaten dates with peanut butter before, prepare for your mind to be blown! Medjool dates are rich, sweet, sticky, and taste a little bit like caramel, so it tastes like you’re eating caramel with peanut butter! It’s the perfectly rich and sweet natural dessert.

You’ll find Medjool dates in the produce department of most major grocery stores (scroll down to the photos below the recipe card to see what type of container they come in). They usually have a small pit inside, but they are easily pulled open with your fingers, and then you can simply remove the pit before smearing that creamy peanut butter all over the date.

How to Keep the Apple Slices Fresh

As most people know, apples begin to brown after they are sliced in response to exposure to oxygen. This brown color is a simple chemical reaction and does not indicate that the apple has gone “bad.” To help slow the browning, keep the apple slices bunched closely together to reduce the exposure to oxygen on the cut surfaces (see photos). You can also sprinkle a little lemon juice over your apple slices to further slow the browning, if you prefer. Even without lemon juice, my apple slices only browned a very small amount over four days in the refrigerator.

What Containers Do You Use?

For this lunch box I used a set of divided glass containers that I purchased on Amazon (linked below in the bottom of the recipe card). The dividers don’t go all the way up to the lid, so they don’t keep liquid items separate, but for solids or super thick stuff like peanut butter, it works just fine. 

A single peanut butter lunch box with peanut butter on a Medjool date and a pretzel dipping into the peanut butter

 
Three glass containers of the peanut butter lunch box lined up in a row

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

This peanut butter lunch box is an easy no-cook lunch idea for school, work, picnics, or road trips! No reheating needed!
Total Cost $4.57 recipe / $1.14 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 572.68kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup peanut butter* $1.49
  • 60 mini pretzels $0.26
  • 2 apples $0.78
  • 8 Medjool dates $1.33
  • 4 ribs celery $0.70
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional) $0.01

Instructions

  • Wash and slice the celery into sticks. Slice each apple in half, remove the core, then cut into slices. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apple slices to slow browning, if desired.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of peanut butter to each container. Add about 15 pretzels to each container, along with ½ an apple, some celery sticks, and two dates. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate up to five days.

Notes

I used natural style peanut butter, but you can use whichever type you prefer, or another type of nut butter.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lunch box | Calories: 572.68kcal | Carbohydrates: 80.15g | Protein: 14.53g | Fat: 25.65g | Sodium: 517.13mg | Fiber: 9.93g

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box – Extra Notes

Cored and sliced apples

I used Granny Smith Apples for this lunch box, but you can use any variety of apples you like. I included ½ an apple with each box. Slice the apples in half, then remove the core (I used a sharp measuring spoon, but you could use something like a melon baller as well). Slice each apple half into slices. Keeping the slices close together prevents oxygen exposure, which will slow the browning. You can also sprinkle a little lemon juice over the slices to further help slow the browning.

Medjool date container

Medjool dates are usually sold in a container like this, but sometimes I see them sold loose by the pound, which is really nice when you only need a few! I see them at just about every grocery store now, so they are widely available. You’ll find them in the produce department, usually not refrigerated.

Open Medjool date

To eat the dates, simply pull them open with your hands. They are soft and sticky, so they pull open very easily. You’ll find a small pit in the center (you can see the pit on the left side). Remove the pit.

Date half with peanut butter

Smear a little peanut butter on each half of the date and enjoy! This combo is super rich and sweet, so you’ll only need one or two! Enjoy!

Three peanut butter lunch boxes in glass containers

The post The Peanut Butter Lunch Box appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The Hummus Lunch Box

Are y’all ready for the next installment in the no-cook lunch box series? The Hummus Lunch Box is a classic, one that I’m sure many of you have made before, but it definitely deserves its own mention in the series because it is flexible and always a pleaser. I’ve got a few different ways you […]

The post The Hummus Lunch Box appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Are y’all ready for the next installment in the no-cook lunch box series? The Hummus Lunch Box is a classic, one that I’m sure many of you have made before, but it definitely deserves its own mention in the series because it is flexible and always a pleaser. I’ve got a few different ways you can eat or serve this lunch box listed below, so even if you’ve made this before, make sure to go check out the alternate ideas!

Hummus Lunch Box packed in divided glass containers

What’s in the Hummus Lunch Box:

Hummus (of course), kalamata olives, cucumber, grape tomatoes, and pita bread. I love this lunch box because of its simplicity, it requires so little prep, and I just like “snacky” finger foods. The only prep work I had to do was slicing the cucumber and draining the jar of olives! For the sake of convenience, and because ALDI has very inexpensive hummus, I used store bought hummus this time. But if you want to make your own hummus or want to experiment with different hummus flavors, try my homemade hummus recipe (four flavors).

Serving Options

As I mentioned in intro, there are a few different ways you can eat this lunch box. The obvious way is to eat it in a “snacky” fashion, eating a little of this, a little of that, etc. But here are a couple other options:

  • Make it into a pita sandwich. Instead of cutting the pita bread into triangles like in my photos, leave your pita cut in half, then when you sit down for lunch smear the hummus inside, add some cucumber slices, olives, and tomatoes, and eat it like a sandwich!
  • Make it into a salad. Pack a separate bowl of mixed greens, then when you sit down to lunch, add the vegetables and hummus on top and eat it as a giant sandwich! You might also want to some dressing on the side (I suggest a vinaigrette, like Greek dressing, Italian, or Caesar dressing).

Alternate Ingredient Ideas

Just like all the no-cook lunch boxes in this series, this hummus lunch box is very flexible. If you don’t like some of the ingredients I included in mine, here are a few other ideas:

  • Pita chips or pretzel crackers in place of the pita bread
  • Feta cheese cubes
  • Marinated white beans
  • Celery or carrot sticks
  • Bell peppers
  • Sliced grilled chicken

How Long Does the Lunch Box Keep?

This lunch box holds up very well to refrigeration, so it will probably keep about 5 days in the refrigerator, depending on the freshness of your ingredients when the boxes are made and the conditions inside your refrigerator.

What Containers Do You Use?

I got these divided glass meal prep containers on Amazon. You can find a link to the product in the bottom of the recipe card below. (P.S. these containers came three to a set and this recipe makes FOUR lunch boxes, so I ate the fourth portion on a plate the day that I packed them. 😄)

Three glass containers filled with hummus lunch box ingredients

 
Three glass containers filled with hummus lunch box ingredients

The Hummus Lunch Box

This Hummus Lunch Box is a cold lunch classic. With almost zero prep work, this is the fastest, easiest no-cook lunch around.
Total Cost $8.04 recipe / $2.01 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 362.55kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber $1.29
  • 2 pita breads $0.66
  • 1 cup hummus $1.95
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.99
  • 1 6oz. jar kalamata olives $2.15

Instructions

  • Slice the cucumber and cut the pita bread into triangles.
  • Divide the hummus, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and pita triangles between four containers. Refrigerate up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1box | Calories: 362.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.28g | Protein: 8.58g | Fat: 22.95g | Sodium: 1155.63mg | Fiber: 9.1g

More No-Cook Lunch Ideas:

Overhead view of one hummus lunch box.

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