The Whole Bowl: Protein Packed

Looking for an equally easy and delicious meal that’s sure to please? This fresh bowl of protein-packed goodness is made for you!

The Whole Bowl - a bowl protein packed with quinoa, beans, and other whole ingredients. | Happy Food Healthy Life

Two weeks ago today, I got on a plane with three of my best blogging buddies and began one of the best weekends of my life. It started off with a giggle fit almost as soon as we boarded the plane, so I knew we were in for a fun-filled weekend.

Almost two hours later, we landed in beautiful Portland, Oregon, and it all began. A weekend full of networking, meeting friends old and new, exploring the city, and of course EATING!

If you’ve never visited Portland, or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, you have just got to. I swear, just about every meal we ate was farm-to-table style. The food was so fresh, and more than half the time, the chef could tell us exactly where the produce and other ingredients came from and the name of the farmer who grew it.

I don’t know about you, but that’s how I want every meal to go down!

The Whole Bowl - A protein-packed bowl full of fresh deliciousness | Happy Food Healthy Life

One of our first stops in Portland after getting checked into our gorgeous hotel was a food truck pod. We knew we’d all be able to find something we wanted. So we started making the walk around the block of food trucks. Seriously, they’re never ending, and there are so many options to choose from.

The only problem? I was seeing a lot of greasy unhealthy food that was not appealing to me. I went into this trip knowing that I was going to be eating more than normal, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to be conscious of the foods I was putting in my body without being “that person.”…. you know, the crazy health nut.

So I had pretty much decided that a grilled cheese sammie was in store for me, and then I saw it… and I knew right then and there…

The Whole Bowl.

One item on the entire menu. All whole and fresh ingredients.

I looked over at Yvonne, and we both knew… this whole bowl was going into our bellies!

It totally helped that their design totally caught my eye. I’m a sucker for beautiful graphics.


So we got our little bambino bowls filled to the brim with all the ingredients, including their “Tali sauce.”

I have to admit, I was a bit afraid of the sauce. You never quite know what you’re going to get with a bright yellow sauce… especially when you’re not a huge mustard fan. But HOLY! The sauce MADE the bowl. It kicked it up from just another “ho-hum” rice bowl to a “DANG, I can’t stop shoving this into my pie hole!” bowl.

The Whole Bowl - A protein-packed bowl full of fresh deliciousness | Happy Food Healthy Life

The only thing I was hoping for when I saw the ingredients in The Whole Bowl? I so wanted quinoa instead of brown rice.

I immediately knew I would be recreating this at home with the ole’ switcharoo of quinoa for the brown rice. You know I gotta pump up the protein wherever I can. And this one is PACKED full. Aside from the quinoa, there’s a bunch of black beans in every bowl. And the amazing sauce is made with chickpeas as well. I was thrilled to find the recipe for the Tali Sauce on a fellow blogger’s site, and I actually happened to meet her over the weekend. Such a lovely coincidence!

I’ve been eating this almost every day for lunch, and I have not gotten sick of it. Talk about health food that doesn’t sacrifice flavor!

The Whole Bowl: Protein Packed | Happy Food Healthy Life

The Whole Bowl: Protein Packed
Servings: 1 bowl
For the Tali Sauce:
  • ¼ cup quality olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup slivered plain almonds
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup chickpeas
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp each of: cumin , curry powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, salt, garlic salt, onion salt
For the bowl (per bowl):
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup Black Beans
  • 2 Tablespoons Salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon Black olives , roughly chopped
  • 2 slices Avocado Slices
  • 2 Tablespoons Sharp Cheddar , shredded
  • Tali Sauce (1-2 Tbs per bowl)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  1. For the sauce: measure out all ingredients and put in a blender and blend until silky smooth. If you want yours to be thinner, add additional water until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Bowl Assembly: In the bottom of a bowl place quinoa and beans, then salsa, then ½ the amount of Tali Sauce, then the the cheddar, olives, and on the sides the sour cream and remaining Tali Sauce, and top of with cilantro.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture, upload it to Instagram and tag me (@happyfoodholly) and use the hashtag #inspiredbyholly

The Whole Bowl - A protein-packed bowl full of fresh deliciousness | Happy Food Healthy Life

Looking for more healthy bowls?

Marinated Tofu & Vegetable Bowl – Happy Food Healthy Life
Green Goddess Glow Bowl – The Glowing Fridge
Orange Chicken Tofu Bowl – Happy Food Healthy Life
Spinach Pesto Quinoa Bowl – Table for Two Blog
Protein Berry Bowl – Happy Food Healthy Life

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  1. Traci says

    Do you make your own salsa? I’ve been very partial to Newman’s Own peach salsa (really yummy and no cilantro!) (I”m one of those ‘soap’ people…) Your going to laugh – are the quinoa and beans hot or cold? Or room temp?

    • Holly Waterfall says

      I sometimes make my own salsa, but usually I buy a black bean and corn version – and i LOVE cilantro. totally doesn’t taste like soap to me haha.
      The quinoa is warm and everything else is room temp, but it would all be fine any way. warm, cold, room temp. All up to you.

  2. Adrienne says

    Love, love, love this bowl idea!! Do you have any suggestions for nut substitutes? Instead of almonds in the tali sauce I was thinking of trying either sunflower seeds or toasted chickpeas.

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Hi Adrienne! Yes, this bowl is fantastic, and I really hope you try it out. I haven’t tried the tali sauce with anything other than almonds, so I’m not 100% sure, but maybe sunflower seeds would work. The flavor won’t quite be the same though. Good luck! And let me know what you try out.

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