Summer Garden Bowls with Gluten Free Meatballs

This post is sponsored by Hip Chick Farms. All opinions, words, and general charm are my own.

“Heat cannot be separated from fire…”—Dante Alighieri

 There’s more to the quote than that but for me, for now, this will suffice. Summer has yet to officially begin and yet The San Fernando Valley pays no mind to the order and reason of seasons. Early mornings are balmy here and the heat swells from the ground up, swift and stifling. Truly, in the heat, my skin is set aflame. I’m better suited for cold climates as all those close to me know well.

Whereas last year I rebelled against the sun, and summer in general—this year I’m doing my best to resign to my fate with a bit of dignity. This means ardently trying to look on the hot and blindingly bright side of things. For example, summer produce is starting to show up early—as it usually does for Southern California. Tomatoes, peaches, melons, and cherries—all this and more can be spotted at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores.

I love cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Especially as of late—I’m on a mission to heal myself through healthier eating. I love buying local, eating fresh, and most importantly keeping “healthy” fun and enticing. One of the easiest ways for me to accomplish this is with a good garden bowl. Greens, grains, fruits, vegetables, protein—pile your favorites into a bowl with your favorite dressing and you’re in good shape.

For these particular garden bowls I used fresh arugula wilted in wild rice, avocados, peaches, and fresh grapefruit along with some broccoli sprouts. I like to use a few different cooking techniques when making a bowl so I also roasted some onion, lemon, and jalapeño to add in.

Then I threw in my favorite organic, gluten free Hip Chick Farm meatballs. They roast up quickly in the oven and are easy and delicious. They are also free range, have no antibiotics or added hormones, and are humanely raised. I absolutely love to know where my meat is coming from and I have so much respect for the brand and what they are aiming to do! Also, right now, to promote their “Free Range Your Life” sweepstakes they are giving away a FREE range to one lucky winner. Click here for more details and entry info!

To finish of these bowls I whipped up a roasted lemon vinaigrette to drizzle on top of all these delicious ingredients and called it a day! There were lot of good textures, fresh ingredients, and a nice balance of savory and sweet flavors. The best thing about these bowls, or any bowls really, is that they are infinitely adaptable! Use whatever is in season or whatever is on hand—it’s a great clean out the fridge meal!

I’d love to know some of your summer got-to’s for garden fresh bowls or salads! Please leave a comment below!

Summer Garden Bowls with Gluten Free Meatballs


For the Lemon Vinaigrette Makes about one cup 

  • 3 lemons*, halved
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil + ½ cup, divided
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
  • ½ cup torn basil leaves
  • 2 Tsp. Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey

*My lemons were on the large side but you’ll want enough juice for about ½ a cup after roasting.

For the Salads Serves 3-4

  • 1 box Hip Chick Farms Gluten Free Chicken Meatballs
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 4 jalapeños, halved
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups prepared wild rice (or other preferred grain)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented
  • 2 avocados, halved, pitted, and skin removed
  • 8 oz. cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups broccoli sprouts


Make the Lemon Vinaigrette

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Trim the edges off the lemons before cutting in half, so they’ll lay flat. Peel and tuck garlic cloves in lemons (so they don’t burn).
  3. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for about one hour or until juicy and golden.
  5. When lemons have cooled, strain juice into a blender or food processor.
  6. Add in the whole roasted garlic cloves, honey, basil, mustard, and vinegar.
  7. Begin to blend before slowly streaming in the olive oil.
  8. When well-combined, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make Salads

  1. Prepare wild rice according to package instructions. When finished, toss with arugula and set aside. This can be served warm or cold!
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place onions and jalapeños on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for about 30 minutes before adding Hip Chick Farms meatballs to the same baking sheet. Roast for an additional 15 minutes until meatballs are heated through.
  5. To assemble salads place about ½ cup of the rice and arugula mixture into four bowls.
  6. Top each serving with ½ sliced avocado, peach slices, grapefruit, ½ cup broccoli sprouts, halved cherry tomatoes, roasted onion and jalapeño, and meatballs.
  7. Drizzle with lemon vinaigrette and top with some fresh cracked black pepper.



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6 Comment

  1. Edwina says: Reply

    This bowl looks delicious. I love a light and fresh salad bowl recipe. I’m going to make it for the whole family.

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Thank you so much Edwina! I loved these bowls and I like a salad that has a lot going on or I get bored! haha!

  2. Just made this yesterday. It came Amazing!!! Everyone love it

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Hey Melissa!

      I am so glad you enjoyed them! Thank you so much for checking out my blog and trying out one of my recipes! So nice of you to stop by!

  3. Lori says: Reply

    I love this for so many reasons. We are having unusually high temps for this time
    Of the year coming this weekend! Guess what I’m making? That roasted lemon dressing I can’t wait to try!!

    Thanks for another awesome recipe.


    1. Christine says: Reply

      Hi Lori!

      Thanks so much! Yes, summer is basically here and I’m craving more fresh meals like this! Oh and please tell me how the lemon dressing comes out! It was one of my favorite elements of this dish!

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