California Lunch Bowl Recipe

California Lunch Bowl Allison Day Modern Lunch Cookbook Review food blog

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While writing this book, I finally ventured to California, and it became a new “happy place” for me. Gjusta, a bakery and restaurant in Venice Beach, California, has a grain bowl that played with temperature, texture, and flavour in a way I’d never experienced before and needed to recreate immediately upon my return home. The soft egg in this bowl, like the one I enjoyed at Gjusta, marries with the lightest, clearest dressing for an expression of modern healthy eating that I believe anyone can get behind.


  • 1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (page 241) or quinoa (page 242), preferably warm
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1⁄4 bulb fennel, shaved
  • 1 avocado, halved, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced fresh red Thai chili
  • 2 Tbsp dukkah (page 168)
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. For the poached eggs, fill a small skillet two-thirds full of water. Add the white vinegar, bring the water to a boil, and crack in the eggs. Immediately remove from the heat and cover for 7 minutes. If you are taking this to go, use a hard-boiled egg (page 238) instead of a poached egg.
  2. To assemble, to serving bowls, add the rice, romaine, fennel, and avocado. Season with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and chili. Top with the dukkah and cilantro. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon, draining as much water as possible; place on top of the rice. Toss, allowing the yolk to become part of the dressing, and enjoy. If you are packing this to go, assemble your bowl in a container replacing the poached egg with a peeled hard-boiled egg. Seal and refrigerate until you are ready to take it with you, and keep it refrigerated at work or chilled with a cooler pack until you are ready to eat.


To keep avocado from browning, concentrate the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the avocado flesh, and then sprinkle dukkah over top to cover. This assembly trick keeps oxidation to a minimum.

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