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Bowl Games

Bowl Games

At the morning meal, plates are giving way to the carry-away convenience of bowls. Consumers drive the trend, but chefs like them pretty well, too.

Poll industry analysts and trend-spinners on why breakfast bowls are a growing trend and they’ll very likely launch into a discussion of time-pressed consumers who demand the convenience of grab-and-go meals. Menu items that are transportable and easy to eat on the run come out on top, and this puts bowls in the morning sweet spot.

John Currence, the Oxford, Miss.-based owner of five Big Bad Breakfast restaurants, to a large extent concurs with all of that, but still presents a different take on why bowls are ideally suited to the morning meal. “No matter how much we grow and mature, certain elements of our childlike nature come out at breakfast,” says Currence. “We want to revel in happy memories.”

With Big Bad Breakfast’s menus, Currence plays to that nostalgia and never more so than with entrees served in bowls. “By genetic pattern we want to mix peas into mashed potatoes, and at breakfast we naturally do the same thing,” he says. “We like to push food around, create the perfect mix of flavors.”

Whether riding the health wave, as acai, smoothie and fruit bowls do so well or acknowledging the truth that, for many, the best breakfasts are sturdy and sustaining, bowls are waking up morning menus. Says Currence, “They’re the type of breakfast I’m likely to eat. They’re easy to grab and eat on the run.”

  • Build them around a soft base that easily accepts other flavors. It can be grits, quinoa, rice, pureed fruits or even lentils.
  • Pick a protein or two. Eggs are an obvious choice, with scrambled and poached the two most popular options. Breakfast meats often are added, too, with crumbled sausage or bacon the obvious choices. Tofu also works as does ham or chorizo.
  • Decide if cheese plays well with the ingredients. The mild comfort of cheddar and jack make them popular choices; feta and goat cheese also can work.
  • If they’re health-forward, think about nut butters, fresh fruits, seeds and coconut as well as nut milks.
  • Savory, hearty bowls can be augmented with veggies such as mushrooms, winter squash, corn, potatoes, broccoli or greens. Think, too, about nuts, seeds and sprouts.
  • Herbs and spices work especially well in savory versions. Fresh mint, lavender and lemongrass are among flavors that work with fruit-based bowls.
  • Yes, they can be a great way to use small amounts of ingredients and even leftovers.

Menu Ideas from Healthy to Hearty

Multiple National Locations

Southwest scramble of lean ground turkey, egg whites, diced jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, roasted corn, pico de gallo and shredded cheese.

Multiple SO. CAL. Locations

Dragon Bowl with pitaya, banana, mango and coconut milk base with granola, banana, kiwi, coconut, honey and vanilla yogurt.

Louisville, KY.

Power Bowl with choice of grain (quinoa, basmati or brown rice), black beans or chickpeas, choice of three veggies, a sauce such as curry coconut or chimichurri, and accents such as pepita parmesan or coconut bacon.

Multiple Locations

Hash Brown Scramble made with tot-style hash browns, scrambled eggs, Jack and Cheddar cheese and sliced chicken nuggets or sausage with jalapeño sausage.

Multiple Locations

Breakfast Crumble with crumbled buttermilk biscuit, grits, tomato gravy, crumbled Big Bad bacon, green onions and poached eggs.

Select Locations

Southern Style Breakfast Bowl with grits, scrambled eggs, jack and cheddar cheeses, sausage, green chiles and onion.

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