Comfort food should be comforting, and for us, that means knowing we’re nourishing our bodies with each bite. This macrobiotic bowl by Alle Weil – holistic Nutritionist of Flora ex Machina and a TCM fave – was created with all that in mind for a new partnership with L.A.’s fave farm-to-doorstep delivery service, Out of the Box Collective. Get a taste of this deliciously cool collab with the recipe below, and for a bigger bite, be sure to order a produce box here or pantry box here before February 21st…

When it comes to clean, wholesome foods, the key is in the pure unadulterated ingredients. Inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Five Phases or elements, and the fundamentals of macrobiotics, this balanced bowl reinvents our obsession with comfort food. Filled with different textures, flavors, and various seasonal vegetables and a grain, it satisfies cravings while providing a nourishing and grounding meal.

Each of the five Earthly elements are represented, creating a balanced and nourishing plate that reduces craving, keeps you sated, and provides a wide spectrum of bio-available nutrients as well as probiotics. You’ll feel grounded, energized, and full longer. Because these recipes use only pure, unprocessed ingredients, prepared using the necessary steps in order for your body to absorb their nutrients (such as sprouting and fermentation), your body will digest them efficiently and with ease – meaning, no bloat, indigestion, or cravings.

Listed below are the five elements and their corresponding flavors, the organs and emotions they correspond with, and a few ingredients that are promote that particular element. It is said each meal should contain one component of each element to be balanced. More so, cravings may be linked with either an element lacking in the diet, or even an emotion or element that is too strong or deficient.

The Five Elements Explained

Flavor: sour, acidic
Organs: liver, gallbladder
Emotion: anger
Supporting Ingredients: lentils, mung beans, broccoli, carrots, sprouts, yogurt, vinegar, lemon, lime, sauerkraut, olives, chicken

Flavor: bitter
Organs: heart and small intestines
Emotion: joy
Supporting Ingredients: corn, amaranth, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, chives, dandelion greens, raspberries, coffee, wine, shrimp, cacao

Flavor: sweet
Organs:  stomach, spleen, pancreas
Emotion:  sympathy, worry
Supporting Ingredients: millet, sweet potato, winter squash, chard, collard greens, eggplant, apples, bananas, dates, honey, sweeteners

Flavor: salty
Organs: kidney, bladder
Emotion: willpower, fear
Supporting Ingredients: buckwheat, aduki beans, beets, burdock, dulse and seaweeds, sesame seeds, grapes, miso, tamari

Flavor: pungent, hot
Organs: lungs, large intestine
Emotion: grief
Supporting Ingredients: rice, soy, cabbage, cucumber, daikon, garlic, ginger, mustard greens, onions, cinnamon, cheese, beef, spirulina, tofu

The Balanced Bowl
serves 2 – 4


for the rice:
2 cups black rice (soaked 8 hours for increased digestibility)
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 two inch piece of kombu seaweed (optional, for trace mineral content and enhanced alkalinity)
1 ¾ cup water

for miso veggies:
4 carrots
1 burdock root or broccoli stem
1 Tbsp sesame oil or toasted sesame oil
½ cup water
miso to taste – about 1 Tbsp diluted in a little water, or tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp sesame seeds (for garnish)

for sautéed greens:
1 bunch dandelion leaves, kale, or chard
1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp sesame oil
himalayan salt, to taste
fresh lemon juice to taste

for the squash:
1 kabocha or other winter squash, deseeded and evenly sliced

for the sauce:
6 Tbsp organic tahini
2-3 Tbsp red miso paste
1-2 preserved umeboshi plums (optional)
¼ cup kimchi brine
1 tsp honey (optional)

for garnish:
sliced avocado
egg, soft boiled
assorted sprouts and edible flowers
sesame seeds


For the rice: bring soaked and rinsed rice, ginger, and kombu to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Remove kombu before serving.

For the veggies: peel burdock or broccoli stems and grate or thinly slice matchstick style. Add sesame oil to a warm saucepan to lightly coat pan. Add the burdock, carrots and other vegetables and salt and sauté for a few minutes on a medium heat. Turn heat down, add a little water and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Add the diluted miso and cook 2-3 more minutes.

For the greens: add sesame oil to medium heat, preheated pan. Add garlic and sauté until golden. Add in greens and mix to evenly coat oil. Cover with lid to wilt, and serve with salt and lemon to taste.

For the squash: add kabocha to a steaming basket or steamer, and steam for approximately 10-15 minutes until tender and easily cut with a fork.

For the sauce: blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Combine all  the different elements in a bowl, garnish as desired and enjoy!

Bottom banner image
From our friends