Healthy Recipes

Build Your Own Muscle Bowl

When it comes to making muscle, there's no better place to start than with a bowl.

You may have noticed that bowls are the new plates—from smoothie bowls to quinoa bowls to Buddha bowls, even #bowl is having a food moment. But unlike red-velvet cupcakes, this is one healthy culinary trend you want to embrace. 

Beyond oatmeal and soup, a simple bowl can serve as a gathering place for a perfect balance of essential food groups all at once to keep you pumped up. Start with nutrient-dense whole grains, and work your way up from there with muscle-making proteins, vegetables, and flavorful sauces and you’ll have a recipe for a meal with a unique marriage of nutrition, flavor, and texture. Plus, in a bowl everything is deliciously mixed together like in a Benetton ad, instead of getting pushed around on a plate like a shopping cart with wobbly wheels. 

SEE ALSO: Healthy Grilling: BBQ Shrimp Skewers

Shelve the plates and tame your appetite with these power bowls to make gaining mass easier and tastier. 


Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews 
  • 2 tsp grapeseed or canola oil 
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled 
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk 
  • Juice of 1 lime 
  • 2 tsp honey 
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder 
  • 1/4 tsp chili or cayenne powder 
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger 
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped 
  • 2 cups baby spinach 
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 2 cups cubed pineapple 
  • 1/3 cup cilantro 


  1. Cover cashews with water and let soak at least 2 hours. 
  2. Heat oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and heat, stirring often, until grains are fragrant. Add 1. cups water to pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for 12 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed. Set aside covered for 5 minutes and then fluff with fork. 
  3. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add shrimp and immediately remove pan from heat. Cover and let shrimp rest until pink and opaque, about 3 minutes. 
  4. Drain cashews and blend with coconut milk, lime juice, honey, curry powder, chili powder, ginger, and garlic until smooth. 
  5. Divide quinoa among serving bowls and top with spinach, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, pineapple, and curry sauce. Garnish with cilantro. 

Did you know?

Quinoa supplies more protein than most other whole grains, and soaked cashews are a simple hack for creating a silky sauce that plays by the nutritional rules. 

The Macros

Calories: 534
Protein: 34
Carbs: 57
Fat: 21