Prepare to get bowled over.
“Bowl,” a new cookbook by Lukas Volger ($25; out March 8 on Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), asserts that some of the best meals aren’t served on a plate.
The Brooklyn writer, 34, shares his recipes for ramen, pho, bibimbap, dumplings and burrito bowls — all of which are vegetarian, too.
The book was inspired by Volger’s desire to recreate the vegetarian ramen at the Prospect Heights eatery Chuko.
“It’s so good, I wanted to figure out how to make it at home, just for fun,” Volger says.
Though not an exact replica of Chuko’s, Volger was able to make his own vegetarian ramen, which uses a dashi, or broth, flavored with dried shiitake mushrooms. “Bowl” features seven different ramen recipes, plus other noodle bowls, alongside vegetarian recipes for pho — another dish Volger had a hard time finding meat-free versions of.
“I enjoyed that challenge,” Volger says. “In a non-vegetarian pho broth the meat is what anchors it and gives it body. This is a little more of a delicate broth.”
All the recipes featured in “Bowl” — from the black rice burrito bowl to the kimchi dumplings — are vegetarian because, simply, that’s how Volger eats when he cooks at home (though he will have the occasional fish). He builds each bowl with a balance of a starchy base (such as ramen or udon noodles, brown rice or a grain like faro or barley), proteins (like tofu or eggs), vegetables (Volger prefers bulky ones that add a lot of texture and body), a garnish (like silvered almonds or toasted sunflowers) and a sauce or dressing (such as yogurt or gochujang).
“They’re all very well-rounded meals,” Volger says. “They all feature whole foods, I think that’s an important way of thinking. There’s a lot of whole grains like brown rice.”
The recipes are also seasonally based, allowing for improvisation.
“You can go to the farmer’s market and get whatever is in season,” says Volger, who can usually be found each weekend at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.
“Bowl” is just the latest vegetarian-based project for Volger, who also published the cookbooks “Veggie Burgers Every Which Way” and “Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You Hungry.” He is also the founder of Made by Lukas, a line of veggie burgers.
“I like food that both tastes good and makes me feel good,” Volger says. “I don’t really like the concept of diets. Figuring out what works on a baseline, normal, day-to-day basis is really important. [For me], that’s vegetable-forward.”