Kale Rice Bowl

A quick lunchtime brown rice bowl with kale, capers, salted yogurt, za'atar, toasted sesame seeds - and a poached egg for good measure.

Kale Rice Bowl

My lunch, at least a few days a week, is some sort of rice bowl or grain bowl. I love a feel-good lunch, and using rice as the foundation, I can usually grab other components from the refrigerator to make something quick and satisfying. This Kale Rice Bowl, for example, is worth a shout out. You have grains plus greens, dollops of creamy salted yogurt, blistered capers, and plenty of homemade za’atar. So good!

Rice bowl made with brown rice and kale, topped with an egg and yogurt

Kale Rice Bowl: Make Ahead Plan

Most of the components here can be made ahead. They’re also good travelers - work lunches, picnics, etc. So you could meal prep on a Sunday for meals through out the week. For that approach here’s the plan.

  • Cook the rice.  Then allow it to cool and then refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. At that point you can either heat it, or allow it enough time to come up to room temperature.
  • Cook some eggs.  If you like an egg on top of your rice bowls, make a few hard-boiled eggs or fried eggs and refrigerate those as well.
  • Choose your spices: I use za’atar as my seasoning here, but if you have another favorite spice blend, no problem. Have that at the ready.

I typically fry up the capers and salt the yogurt at the last minute, but you could also do that in the morning if you’re packing a lunch for later.Three small bowls filled with rice bowl toppings - sesame, za'atar, and fried capers


You can certainly take a rice bowl like this one in many different directions. I mentioned exploring a spice or seasoning swap up above. On the grain front, you see brown rice here, but farro would be nice, or a quinoa / rice blend. When it comes to the kale, my original intent was to bake the shredded kale (massaged with olive oil and za'atar), so it had more of a crispy texture (kale chips), but didn't want to wait for the oven to heat. I ended up sautéing the kale instead. This is a long way of saying, play around!

Rice bowl made with brown rice and kale, topped with an egg and yogurt

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Kale Rice Bowl

5 from 1 vote

I used lacinato kale here. But use another kale if that is what you have. Or, you could even substitute chard. Broccoli or broccolini are also good substitutes. The main thing is I like to get something green and vibrant in the mix. Here's a link if you want to make your own za'atar.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter
  • 1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
To serve:
  • - capers, rinsed, dried, and pan-fried until blistered in butter
  • - a poached or hard-boiled egg
  • - a dollop of salted greek yogurt
  • - a big drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil
  • - lot's of za'atar
  • - toasted sesame seeds
  1. In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the kale and a couple pinches of salt. Saute until the kale softens a bit and brightens, just a minute or so. Stir in the rice, and cook until the rice is hot. If your rice is on the dry side, you might have to add a small splash of water.
  2. Serve the kale rice topped with (preferably) all of the following: the capers, egg, yogurt drizzled with olive oil, and plenty of za'atar.

Serves 2-3

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Loving this bowl! Great for any weeknight!

Belinda @zomppa

Delicious! I just made this with a few substitutions (didn't have capers)...no capers, so I cooked some cannellini beans seasoned with garlic & onion and made soft boiled eggs. Very nutritious and filling!


I just made this replacing the rice for black beans. It was great!


looks so good. I think I'll veganize this tonight and swap out the yogurt and eggs for toasted pine nuts and garbanzos. Yum!


I love the appearance of your blog. I have been following you since a couple of months or so and this is the first time I comment. Some times I don't understand all what you write or all the ingredients (and I have to check the dictionary, since I'm from Spain) but the photos are absolutely wonderful and I've taken a lot of original ideas to cook. Thank you!


Kale, brown rice and egg: my dinner every other night. Healthy, nutritionally complete, and so tasty!


We are on a tight budge right now as we are about to move, which has also left us with less time to cook. I have been making a version of this a lot lately, usually with farro lightly dressed in a garlicy vinaigrette and red pepper flake-spiced kale. Will definitely be trying this version to mix it up a bit, as I always have za'atar on hand. It certainly fits the bill of quick, nutritious, and filling, and as soon as I start making it, I'm glad we didn't give in to take-out. Thanks for the inspiration!


Dear Heidi, I just sent my daughter a copy of your Kale Rice Bowl. She is in her fourth year at Portland State University and needs quick healthy meals. This will be perfect for her. I got a copy of Super Natural Every Day from the library a week ago. Needless to say, I’m ordering the book today. Your book is amazing. So far I have made 7 recipes from the book (this morning was Multigrain Pancakes, my husband was a happy man) and 2 from your website. Tonight is Cabbage Soup, with many more recipes in waiting. Thank you!!

HS: Thank you LuAnn! Portland has amazing markets - your daughter is lucky! Happy to hear you're enjoying the recipes.


I actually make this with wild rice cooked in rotel tomatoes with jalapeños, I add some kidney (or white) beans. On a tortilla or flat bread I layer kale, cheddar cheese & the rice mixture. Roll it up for lunches at work. Heat in microwave for under a minute.... Melts the cheese & softens the kale! I like mine with hot sauce too!


Thank you for posting. We're in Boston, i'm 8 months pregnant, and we and have not dug out our car from the blizzard: so I'm scratching my head as to what to make for dinner this week. This is perfect. I'm going to have to sub the kale with cabbage, but I still think it's going to be delis :-)


I love a good rice bowl on a busy week night. It's fun to just throw everything together and play around with flavours. Kale is always in there somewhere and I usually wilt it in the oven too. This looks fantastic and the photos are so beautiful as always. :)


Such an easy recipe with such complex flavors. Some of the best dishes are whipped together in a flash with minimal ingredients around.

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

Oh, this is my kind of meal, to be sure! I love flavorful bowls of grains and greens with an egg atop, and I constantly dollop things with yogurt and add capers for a zip of flavor. But I love your creative touches: blistering the capers, adding za'atar. I will definitely be trying those out in my kitchen. Glad to hear you are enjoying some happily busy days!


Rice bowls can be boring, but the combined flavor punch of capers and za'atar solve that issue. This sounds tempting.


These photos are wonderful. They make me want to dive into that bowl of kale and rice. And surely that's what recipe writing and blogging is all about!


Simple, healthy and satisfying. I need recipes like this for busy nights and maybe we won't eat quite so many tacos around here!


This reminds me of Korean rice bowls which are delicious! I love that you have taken the same concept and played with the elements and spices. It goes to show that with ingenuity, your palate can be continually stimulated. Thank you Heidi!


Can't wait to hear more about your projects! In the meantime, this is lovely and very welcome to see, in the midst of red velvet and red, white, and pink food everywhere..and I love it, but some good kale is always fab.

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Just made a spinach version of this for dinner and loved it! Thanks Heidi!


All it needs is a splash of sriracha! Can't wait to have this for lunch tomorrow.


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