Bowl of Stuff: A Vegan Dinner Literally Anyone Can Make

Someone recently told me that you can actually eat food without posting a photo of it to Instagram. I haven’t tested this theory, and I don’t plan on testing it any time soon, but it reminded me to post about one of my reoccurring Instagram meals: Bowl of Stuff. Every time I share a BOS photo I can’t believe how many “likes” and comments this simple meal inspires. (It even inspired a blog post from Hell Razor!)

Bowl of Stuff is a freestyle meal that Tony and I throw together 1-2 times a week. I explained it briefly in my Crash Course in Plant Strong, and I’ll give a basic recipe here with some variations I’ve tried and liked. A few people have tackled Bowl of Stuff on their own, without a recipe, and tweeted pictures to me with the hashtag #BowlofStuff – as Bowl of Stuff’s mom, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

If you’re ready to make the world’s easiest meal, here are the basics. Give it a shot, get creative, and make sure you post your results on Instagram, wocka wocka.

OK, I hope you were paying attention when I said that that’s the BASIC recipe. Because THAT IS THE BASIC RECIPE. That’s certainly not it as far as Bowl of Stuff is concerned. Here are some tips for making Bowl of Stuff even more tasty, more nutritious, and more your own creation…

Use different bases:

  • brown rice
  • couscous
  • quinoa
  • tabbouleh
  • whole grain pasta

Like I mentioned in the recipe, we make a big batch of brown rice on Sunday night and then refrigerate it and eat it all week. I take some with my lunch, throw it into soups and green salads, and use it to make bowl of stuff. But you could throw your “stuff” onto anything! Make the base plain, and pack all the flavor into your stuff, or cook your base with vegetable stock, garlic, onions, etc. It’s totally up to you.

Get crazy with your stuff:

  • tofu
  • kidney beans
  • chickpeas
  • bell peppers
  • kale or spinach
  • literally anything you like

Bowl of Stuff is a magical entity. You can make it into a stew, eat it like chili, fill it with raw veggies and call it a salad. Mix up textures and temperatures as you see fit and no two bowls will ever be alike!

Top it, bro:

  •  nutritional yeast
  • chopped green onion
  • Kalamata olives
  • toasted nuts or sunflower seeds
  • jalapeno slices

As you’ll see in the basic recipe, I always top my Bowl of Stuff with avocado. This gives the bowl a satisfying richness, and a healthy dose of unsaturated fat, which you need for brain and heart health, not to mention deliciousness. If you hate avocado (I weep for you) you could try throwing in walnuts, olives, or using a drizzle of sesame oil. There are no limits to how you top your bowl – fresh corn, sun dried tomatoes, whatever you like.

Get sauced:

The water in the canned tomatoes mixed with the soy sauce and chili powder makes a sauce of sorts, and when I’m in a hurry, that’s plenty of moisture in the bowl for me. But if you’re feeling snazzy, experiment with adding different moisture elements to your bowl. For instance, we make a Soul Bowl that consists of collard greens, tofu, BBQ sauce and a cashew ranch dressing that is outta sight. Perhaps that’s another Bowl of Stuff recipe for another day.

So that’s it! Bowl of Stuff! Now you now! Play around, make some bowls, and let me know what’s in them and how they turn out!

Bowl of Stuff: A Vegan Dinner Literally Anyone Can Make Recipe

basic bowl of stuff

By BakeandDestroy Published: July 20, 2012

  • Yield: Two big bowls (2 Servings)
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Ready In: 20 mins

This is the blank canvas of Bowl of Stuff. Add to it and subtract from it to your heart's content. Please be sure to read the notes immediately following the recipe for more ideas & variations.



  1. Prepare a big batch of brown rice ahead of time. We usually make it in the rice cooker on Sunday night and refrigerate it to use throughout the week.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the beans, tomatoes, soy sauce, chili powder and any other spices and seasonings you like.
  3. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.
    bowl of stuff variation
  4. Spoon hot mixture over rice (you can warm up the rice or leave it at room temperature) and top with diced avocado. See notes below for more ideas!

    WordPress Recipe Plugin by ReciPress


    1. woot! thanks for the shout out. I’ve been trying out nutritional yeast on my bowls of stuff now, thanks to your inspiration. it’s super yummy. :)

    2. I am glad you posted this. I intend on going “bowl of stuff” crazy upon my return from NY. Shane and I need to eat better and this looks yum! When you come for a sleepover I can dazzle you with my skills

    3. Yes! I eat bowl of stuff several times a week. Usually it’s mashed potatoes as the base topped with beans or tofu, leafy greens, and of course plenty of hot sauce and nooch.

    4. I am a Bowl of stuff lover too! It’s amazing the crazy combos that can be made up that taste so yummy all together! It’s definitely not a meal for people who don’t like their foods to touch. :)


    5. One of my favorite easy mixtures is couscous, olive oil, chickpeas, lemon juice, & sun-dried tomatoes. Today I tried it with tabouli instead of couscous & it was even better.

    6. This looks delicious, I wouldn’t use avocado, though, but everything else seems so yummy!

    7. So this is seriously one of my most favorite things to eat. I always feel so refreshed and not guilty after eating it! As a person who feels like if there isn’t meat in every meal I cook, my family would kill me, this is the perfect lunch for me. One day I will get my boys to love it as much as me. :) By the way Nutritional yeast? FanFuckingtastic!

    8. Yes YesYes! we have a yummy bowl of vegan stuff every night, except when we branch out and have a from scratch vegan pizza with ‘everything’. I love the name

    9. I made this today with all the basics listed, but instead of black beans, I used red beans. It was really good. Other than spinach, I didn’t have a lot of things to top it with, so next time I’m sure it’ll taste even better. This is great for days when I’m in between shopping trips because I always have this type of stuff, even when I’m running low on food.

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    11. We are going to try this with a Polenta Base.


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