The Whole Bowl – Tali Sauce Recipe {naturally Gluten Free}

The perfect vegetarian meal is the whole bowl tali sauce recipe which also happens to be naturally gluten free. This bowl of deliciousness is also great for healthy meal planning and make ahead meal prep.

The whole bowl tali sauce recipe. The whole bowl recipe from a popular Portland food truck and makes for a delicious vegetarian dinner from @Sweetphi

Just like with the best pumpkin loaf – the whole bowl with tali sauce was needing a little revamping in the picture department. Years ago when I got my first “real” camera for the blog, this was one of the first recipes I reshot – so this is technically a re-re shoot. Here is the picture from 2014, and I still love it, but it doesn’t show all the components that go in the dish, which I’ll share with you.

The Whole bowl tali sauce recipe

I don’t mind redoing and rephotographing this recipe though, because the whole bowl is SO GOOD, I could make it and make it and make it some more.

How to make the whole bowl at home - the whole bowl recipe from @Sweetphi

You know how there are certain dishes that just change your life? Well folks, this is one of them! I first came across The Whole Bowl when my husband (the wonderful hand model in our household) and I visited Portland a few years ago. We had The Whole Bowl at a food truck square and fell in love with it. The second we got back I set out to recreating the dish so we could enjoy it at home.


Since trying it for the first time, I have gone back to Portland and had the whole bowl again and again just to make sure my recipe was right, and I have to tell you, it tastes just like the dish from the food truck!  Over the years, I’ve gotten some of the sweetest comments:

whole bowl review

The bowl is said to be ‘like eating a hug’ and I can definitely see why-it’s warming, delicious, and has such a great flavor combination that is tied together by the Tali Sauce.

This is my take on the Tali sauce that I’ve refined and that has turned out better than expected and yummy every time (even the time I accidentally spilled the cayenne in and it was super spicy and I couldn’t feel my mouth…yeah even then it was good!)

The whole bowl Tali sauce recipe @sweetphi

It’s garlicy, it’s lemony, it has a unique combination of spices, and contains a secret ingredient – which is using nutritional yeast (you can find it at health food stores in the bulk spices isle or in the baking isle, or buy it on amazon here <- affiliate link, if you purchase it here I get a few pennies, yay!

So yummy!

Besides making the sauce (which only takes a few minutes) the other ingredients one just spoons on, it’s such an easy vegetarian dinner to make

TRY this amazingly delicious and unique dish, it’ll become a favorite!

The whole bowl tali sauce recipe, perfect for a gluten free vegetarian dinner from @Sweetphi

This vegetarian meal is also great for making ahead/meal prepping. You put the rice and beans with tali sauce in one container (which can be microwaved) and then the toppings in another container. Reheating takes one minute. So easy, so delicious!

The whole bowl recipe - vegetarian meal prepping - vegetarian meal planning recipe from @Sweetphi

After making this sauce numerous times, I have found that it is best when made in a food processor – like this one (<–is the one I use), and you can buy the nutritional yeast online. Hope you enjoy!

The Whole Bowl - Tali Sauce Recipe {naturally Gluten Free}
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • For the Tali Sauce:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (found in bins at health food stores)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup chickpeas (I used canned Garbanzo beans), drained
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp each of: cumin, curry powder, turmeric powder, salt, garlic salt, onion salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Bowl Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup per bowl)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans (1/4 can per bowl)
  • ½ cup salsa or pico de gallo (about 2 tablespoons per bowl)
  • ¼ cup black olives, roughly chopped (1 Tbs per bowl)
  • 1 avocado, sliced (1/4 avocado per bowl)
  • ½-1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (2 Tbs per bowl)
  • ¼ cup sour cream (1 Tbs per bowl)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh, chopped (1 generous pinch per bowl.)
  • Tali Sauce (1/4 cup per bowl)
  1. For the sauce: measure out all ingredients and put in a food processor or blender and blend until silky smooth. If you want yours to be more liquidy, add additional tablespoon by tablespoon of water until desired consistency is reached. The sauce makes enough for 4 bowls, so store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week if not using all immediately (I've also frozen it and let it thaw before serving, it is also good microwaved and served warm.)
  2. Bowl Assembly: In the bottom of a bowl place brown rice and beans, then salsa, then ½ the amount of Tali Sauce, then the the cheddar, olives, and on the sides the sour cream and remaining Tali Sauce, and top of with cilantro...yum!
Some of the above links are affiliate links, if you purchase products through those links at no additional cost to you, I might earn a few pennies to keep this blog going 🙂 Thank you for supporting the SweetPhi blog.

Update: I went back to Portland and had the Whole Bowl again just to compare my version and the ‘real’ thing, and I have to tell you – it was spot on, definitely try this recipe, it’s suuuuper good:

The Whole Bowl - tali sauce recipe from @sweepthi

Note: This recipe has been made by a reader and is featured on my Reader Recreation page. If you ever make a SweetPhi blog recipe or tutorial that you’d like to share, just include the hashtag #Sweetphiblog on social media or send me an email to, I love seeing your recreations!

Reader recreation - the whole bowl

Reader recreation – the whole bowl

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Showing 61 comments
  • Donna

    Has anyone tried freezing this wonderful sauce? My son introduced us to this dish now at the VERY least we have it once a week. Oh, and the sauce goes with just about everything! We love it!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you SO much for your lovely comment! I did try freezing it – what I did was I divided it into a few containers. It thawed pretty well but it was a little watery and the consistency wasn’t as good as fresh…I ran it through the food processor again and it was great. So while yes, it can be frozen, I would only recommend freezing it if you are going to run it through a food processor or blender when it thaws 🙂

  • Catherine

    Hi there! I just got back from a trip to the NW and while in Portland we went to the Whole Bowl and I loooved it! I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe at home. Do you think that onion powder and garlic powder plus extra salt could substitute for the onion and garlic salts? I have the powders just not the salts! Thanks so much!

    • Sweetphi

      I think you’re going to love this recipe, now I’m totally going to have to make it again because I’m thinking about it 🙂 Yes, definitely ok to use powders, I’d just add an extra pinch of salt.

  • Cheri

    This looks like heaven in a bowl Phi, love the sauce!

    • Sweetphi

      This is definitely my heaven in a bowl – it’s sooooo good Cheri 🙂

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girl this looks so yummy!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you so much, so glad you like the looks of it 🙂

  • Jess

    I need the sauce in my life, your bowls look delicious! I usually do meal prep for the week on Tuesday mornings when the house is a little quieter, I think I’m going to add these to the list for next week, they look so good !!!

    • Sweetphi

      I think these bowls would make the perfect addition to your meal prepping – they’re so delicious!

  • Ashley@CookNourishBliss

    That sauce sounds SOOO good! As do the rest of these bowls! Now if only I had some on hand for dinner! 🙂

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you so much girl! This sauce is seriously one of my faves. I like to make a batch and then freeze whatever I don’t use so that when I’m craving it, I have it on hand 😉

  • Rudy

    I currently live in Portland and been going to Whole Bowl for some time now and absolutely love the bowls. Moving back to Chicago soon and would dearly miss this place when I leave, so I searched on how to make the sauce for these bowls, and wow almost spot on and now I can take this recipe back home with me and enjoy any time. Thank you very much Sweetphi for this recipe

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you so much for your comment Rudy, I think you’ll love this recipe, it’s definitely one of my faves 🙂

  • Julia Heatherwick

    I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious! I only used one clove of garlic because my husband doesn’t like to be overpowered by the flavor. Thank you!

    • Sweetphi

      I’m so happy to hear that you made this and loved it 🙂

  • Kathleen O'Reilly

    Hi. The image has mustard powder, the recipe curry. Which is it? Thanks

    • Sweetphi

      It’s curry powder, I’ll change the image, thanks 🙂

  • V

    This recipe is just like the real deal Whole Bowl! Thank you! I left out the curry powder (didn’t feel like paying $6 for a new jar) and didn’t miss it at all. I’ll be making these all week!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you so much!! I love this recipe too, and love to hear how people modify it, so glad to hear that it turned out great without the curry powder too.

  • Claire

    My husband and I made BOATLOADS of this tali sauce for our wedding reception. It was a huge hit. Bunches of people said it was the best wedding food they’ve had. We had a lot left over and have frozen it. We keep thawing a bottle at a time and it makes having a Whole Bowl the easiest thing ever…I bet we eat Whole Bowls at least once or twice a week. I also use Tali sauce on salads, to dip veggies in, on eggs, etc. It’s the best. Thanks for figuring out the recipe.

    • Sweetphi

      OH MY GOSH! Thank you SOOOOO much for your super sweet comment, I’m so so SO happy to hear how much you like it, and what a clever idea to make it for your wedding reception!!

  • Lauren R

    I had Whole Bowl a few years ago when visiting Portland. Last year she opened a location in Cincinnati where I live and it is fantastic (I think the owner is originally from here). I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Sweetphi

      Thank you, hope you love it as much as I do 🙂

  • Denise

    OMG – I saw this on IG and instantly wanted to add to my menu planning. Cannot wait to try this out!!

    • Sweetphi

      I can’t wait to hear how you like it! I can honestly tell you that of the many things I cook, THIS is one of the things I make most. It takes me back to visiting Portland and trying food trucks (before they were cool lol) and even my husband loves and raves about this dish, so yay for healthy meals that are loved! Can’t wait to hear how you like it!

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