Your mornings are about to get a whole lot healthier...and prettier.

By By Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT
August 21, 2017
Photo: Shaw's Simple Swaps

Every morning workout deserves the proper post-sweat breakfast. The appropriate blend of protein and carbohydrates after a workout is crucial to repairing and building muscle-not to mention replenishing your energy to conquer whatever else your day has in store.

That's where this colorful paleo breakfast bowl comes in. And if you're thinking, "Eh, I'm not into the Whole30 or paleo thing," well, first of all, you don't have to be to devour this delicious dish. But secondly, before I created this recipe, I was right there with you. I mean, I may be a nutritionist, but I love my carbs. (Discover 10 easy recipes for breakfast bowls for even more yummy mornings.)

So I went to talk to Allison Schaaf, R.D., M.S., founder of Prep Dish, an online gluten-free and paleo meal plan delivery service. First, she gave me a review of what eating paleo truly means. The paleo diet is really more about eating "real" (read: unprocessed, natural) food, ingredients you can grow (fruits and vegetables) or catch (such as animal meat and seafood), Schaaf tells me.

Paleo eaters usually go for meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, and avoid grains, dairy, and legumes, she says. While fats are okay (such as those from coconuts, olives, nuts, and animal fats), processed fats (think: trans fat) commonly found in packaged foods are a no-go.

Hmm, I begin to wonder if this is really for me. A life without my #ToastTuesday or #IceCreamSunday seems impossible. But then she settles my nerves.

"While the paleo diet has a reputation as being restrictive, there are no official rules and lots of gray areas," she says. "It can easily be adapted into a diet long-term. The key is to start by following the 'rules' as a baseline, but from there, play around with foods like beans, dairy, or grains like rice to see if they work with you and your body." Schaaf says she calls this a kind of modified "paleo-ish" diet.

With all that in mind, I created this Loaded Paleo Breakfast Buddha Bowl, and I was pleasantly surprised by how satisfied and full I was after scooping it up. And while, yes, this is technically paleo, the most important thing is that each bowl is filled with solid nutrition, including complex carbohydrates, lean protein, lots of vegetables, and healthy fats-exactly what your body ordered after a tough workout, morning, noon, or night. (Related: 10 Brilliantly Healthy Buddha Bowl Recipes)

With a ton of veggies in one bowl, plus lean ground turkey, and even toasted pistachios, spices, and herbs, you might think this flavorful breakfast should be reserved for the weekend. But with just a little meal prep, you can have the fixings to throw this together before work during the week. (Vegetables can be purchased precut to save time. Just avoid added seasonings and sugar found in some of the frozen veggie bags. Read more on how to make meal prep and cooking easier with frozen vegetables.) It even makes for a great meal-prep lunch to take with you.

Loaded Paleo Breakfast Buddha Bowl

Serves: 4


  • 12 ounces sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch coins
  • 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
  • 12 ounces lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup roasted, salted pistachios, (such as Wonderful Pistachios), shelled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • Paleo-approved hot sauce, optional


1. Preheat oven to set 425°FF. Mix sweet potatoes, bell peppers and zucchini, with 3 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and dash of salt. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 25 minutes.

2. While baking, mix tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil and dash of salt. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and onions. Cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to brown. Add in mushrooms. Cook veggies another 2 minutes. Once mushrooms begin to soften, add garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon of remaining black pepper.

4. Add ground turkey to same skillet, and cook until browned, stirring in tablespoon of water if ingredients begin to stick to the bottom of pan. Place ground turkey mixtures in a bowl and set aside.

5. Keeping an eye on the oven, remove baking sheet when sweet potatoes and vegetables are about halfway cooked (about 12 minutes) and add tomatoes to sheet pan and stir. Place back in the oven for another 15 to 17 minutes.

6. In the same skillet you used for turkey mixture, toast pistachios with red pepper flakes and thyme over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove nut and spices and set aside.

7. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and the spinach to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and portion spinach into the bottom of 4 bowls.

8. Remove roasted vegetables from oven. Portion on top of the spinach in each bowl. Do the same with ground turkey mixture.

9. Cook a eggs to liking and place on top. (If meal-prepping entire dish, hard-boiled would be hold best.)

10. Finally, sprinkle with toasted pistachio blend and optional paleo hot sauce.

Bowls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days with a lock-top lid.