Easy Grain Bowl

Here’s how to make a grain bowl! Pair a whole grain, protein and veggies with this amazing tahini sauce to make a healthy, fast and easy meal. Want to make a grain bowl? Bowl meals are so popular these days, and often they’re on our table because it’s one of the easiest ways to turn random ingredients into a healthy dinner! But here’s the thing: you can’t just throw anything into a bowl. A good grain bowl has to be well-seasoned, and play up contrasts in color, texture and flavor. It’s got to have enough protein to keep you full, and a great sauce to bring it all together. Yes, there are rules to grain bowls! (Kind of.) We’ll talk you through a few steps, and then show you our favorite grain bowl that makes a fast and easy dinner in 30 minutes. How to make a grain bowl A good grain bowl has four main elements, and plays up the contrasts between these ingredients. If you’d like, you can top with some extras (see below). A grain bowl features these major elements: Whole grain: quinoa, rice, farro, bulgur wheat, millet, freekah, Protein: chickpeas, black beans, white beans, tofu, tempeh, […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make a grain bowl! Pair a whole grain, protein and veggies with this amazing tahini sauce to make a healthy, fast and easy meal.

Grain Bowl

Want to make a grain bowl? Bowl meals are so popular these days, and often they’re on our table because it’s one of the easiest ways to turn random ingredients into a healthy dinner! But here’s the thing: you can’t just throw anything into a bowl. A good grain bowl has to be well-seasoned, and play up contrasts in color, texture and flavor. It’s got to have enough protein to keep you full, and a great sauce to bring it all together. Yes, there are rules to grain bowls! (Kind of.) We’ll talk you through a few steps, and then show you our favorite grain bowl that makes a fast and easy dinner in 30 minutes.

How to make a grain bowl

A good grain bowl has four main elements, and plays up the contrasts between these ingredients. If you’d like, you can top with some extras (see below). A grain bowl features these major elements:

How to make a grain bowl

Accentuate contrasts in flavor, texture and color

When you choose the elements for your grain bowl, you’ll have to keep contrasts in mind! Think about textures, colors, and flavors as you pick out each of the elements. You don’t want a bowl that’s all mushy, drab, or all the same flavor profile. Here are a few notes:

  • Texture contrasts: Whole grains are fluffy, beans and chickpeas can be soft. Think about adding a crunch with raw veggies, needs or seeds.
  • Color contrasts: We eat with our eyes! No one wants a brown or yellow bowl. Add colorful fresh or cooked veggies to round out the bowl! The more colors, the better.
  • Flavor contrasts: Using several components naturally makes flavor contrasts. Think about contrasts in elements that are savory, naturally sweet, tangy, salty, and even lightly bitter.

Use a theme to tie the grain bowl together

Using a vague theme can be helpful for tying a grain bowl together. It’s not necessary, but using flavors that go from a specific cuisine can make for harmony in the bowl! Here are a few ideas:

  • Mediterranean style: That’s the style of this easy grain bowl! It’s got Mediterranean or Greek style elements like tahini sauce, chickpeas, cucumber and tomatoes.
  • Mexican style: Try a bowl like this Rice Bowl with rice, black beans, and cilantro sauce.
  • Hawaiian style: Go for a Poke Bowl vibe (or Vegan Poke Bowl).
  • Moroccan style: Roast up a bunch of veggies for a Roasted Vegetable Bowl with freekah and lemon yogurt sauce.
  • Japanese style: Try a Sushi Bowl with sushi rice, ahi tuna, and healthy veggies.
Grain bowl

Make this easy grain bowl…in 30 minutes!

This easy grain bowl is Mediterranean-inspired and takes just 30 minutes to make into a healthy lunch or dinner! Because some grains can take longer to cook, this concept can often take longer than 30 minutes if you make them all at once. This recipe is quick and easy! Make it even faster with our make-ahead tips below. Here are the elements that make this grain bowl so quick:

  • Easy chickpeas: These Easy Canned Chickpeas are our trick on how to make a bland can of beans taste great in just 5 minutes! We use this trick all the time in the kitchen.
  • Seasoned quinoa: This Perfect Seasoned Quinoa is another trick to make quinoa taste fantastic. Put on a pot and make the rest of your components.
  • Mediterranean-style veggies: Grab your tomatoes, cucumber, and some Kalamata olives if you’d like.
  • Tahini sauce: This Tahini Sauce works for lots of different bowls: and it’s perfect for this one with a Mediterranean flair.
Mediterranean quinoa bowl

Make ahead tips & meal prep ideas

Want to make a grain bowl ahead of time? Great! Because it can take a while to prepare all the components. To make the fastest healthy dinner or lunch, think about doing a few things in advance. Here are a few ideas:

  • Cook the grain in advance. Refrigerate until serving. Reheat on the stovetop lightly, or just serve it at room temperature. Rice can dry out, so when you reheat it on the stovetop, add a splash of water and then cover it so it can steam.
  • Cook the protein in advance. If you’re making a bowl with chicken, fish, or tofu, you can cook that in advance and refrigerate until serving.
  • Use a grain bowl to use up leftovers! The best part about bowl meals? They’re great for leftovers. Use the bowl concept to eat up leftover items you’ve cooked throughout the week.

Let us know how you enjoy this grain bowl in the comments below! And here are 10 more ideas to get your wheels turning.

Variations: 10 more grain bowl recipes

Here are more of our favorite grain bowl ideas! There are so many to choose from: and you can mix and match the grains and components in each.

This grain bowl recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Grain Bowl

Easy Grain Bowl


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make a grain bowl! Pair a whole grain, protein and veggies with this amazing tahini sauce to make a healthy, fast and easy meal.


Ingredients

For the grain

For the grain bowl

  • 2 15-ounce can chickpeas*
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Tahini Sauce
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives (optional)
  • 1/4 red onion

Instructions

  1. Make the grain: Go to Seasoned Quinoa to make the quinoa, or follow the other whole grain recipes listed above. The quinoa takes about 25 minutes total, so use the cook time to prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Make the chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Mince the garlic. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant but before it browns. Add the chickpeas, smoked paprika, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Cook 2 minutes until warmed through.
  3. Make the sauce: Make the Tahini Sauce. (Or, try Lemon Dill Sauce or Creamy Cilantro Sauce.)
  4. Prep the veggies: Slice the tomatoes in half. Slice the cucumber. Slice the red onion.
  5. Assemble the bowls: Place the quinoa and chickpeas in the bowl. Add the fresh veggies and drizzle with the sauce.

Notes

*This makes a solid 4 to 6 servings of protein. If you’re cooking for 1 or 2, make half this recipe (or go to Easy Canned Chickpeas.)

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Grain Bowl, How to make a grain bowl

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Fresh Fig and Farro Grain Bowls with Lemon Lavender Vinaigrette.

Fig grain bowls are my ideal September dish!  Okay can you TELL I’m all about fig season? I live for them! These little juicy jewels that have pops of flavor might just be my favorite fruit. Obviously my fruit favorites change constantly and with the season, but right now, I’m in a full blown fig […]

The post Fresh Fig and Farro Grain Bowls with Lemon Lavender Vinaigrette. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Fig grain bowls are my ideal September dish! 

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaigrette make this bowl irresistible.

Okay can you TELL I’m all about fig season? I live for them!

These little juicy jewels that have pops of flavor might just be my favorite fruit. Obviously my fruit favorites change constantly and with the season, but right now, I’m in a full blown fig obsessed. And I’m living for it.

fresh figs

Grain bowls are ridiculously trendy and even I roll my eyes every time I see a new “bowl” recipe. I mean, I may be the first to roll my eyes! However! They are delicious. In fact, I love them more than regular salads because they have so much more satiety to them. 

And the other thing I love about them is that you can use tons of leftovers to create a super flavorful bowl on the fly.

That is GOLDEN!

That’s how most of my grain salads/bowls come about. I take whatever is hiding out in my fridge and toss it all together with some quinoa or rice or farro or whatever. Adding in some greens makes me feel better about life. Roasted veg or grilled chicken from the night before. Truly, anything lurking in that fridge that is about to meet its demise? Done for. Going in the bowl.

lemon lavender dressing

This bowl took more of a seasonal twist. For me, it’s too early for pumpkin and squash but as of this week, our corn and tomatoes have pretty much bit the dust. First of all, that is basically all I’ve eaten for months. Second, I’ve been searching for recipes to bridge the gap before full-blown comfort food makes an appearance. 

The texture of the bowl is perfect. The farro and quinoa have a little chew. Oh oh and. My go-to secret for a grain bowl is to mix the grains! This was life-changing for me – made me love grain bowls ever more and utilize them for lots of meals. The almonds are crunchy. The greens and shallots are a bit crisp. And the cheese is creamy and tangy and smoky. Each bite is perfection. 

Because YES.

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaigrette make this bowl irresistible.

You could totally do your own twist, use pickled onions instead of raw, walnuts instead of almonds, feta instead of blue cheese. It works!

P.S. I’ve been on a huuuuuge smoked blue cheese kick lately. Hence all the recipes. Feel free to sub in your favorite! And be on the lookout for a delish cauflilower salad coming your way that really allows the blue cheese to shine.

Ooooooh yes.

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaigrette make this bowl irresistible.

This vinaigrette is SO good. If you are finding yourself with some leftover herbs, this is the way to use them. A lightly flavored lavender vinaigrette with lots of lemon. The combo isn’t anything new but it is delish. A very slight floral flavor with lots of bright, refreshing lemon is exactly what this bowl needs.

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaigrette make this bowl irresistible.

It’s also incredible for a make-ahead meal or lunch. Store it in a jar or bowl and you’re good!

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaigrette make this bowl irresistible.

Fig Grain Bowls

Fig and Farro Grain Bowls

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaiagrette make this bowl irresistible.

  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup arugula microgreens
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 whole figs (chopped or sliced)
  • 1 shallot (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup toasted (sliced almonds)
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue (goat or feta cheese (your choice!))

lemon lavender vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. (As a note, it will take about 15 to 30 minutes to cook your quinoa/farro. You can cook both ahead of time and/or use leftover grains of your choice for this bowl!)

    In a large bowl, stir together the farro, quinoa, spinach and microgreens. Add a pinch of salt and pepper in and toss again.

  2. Top with the figs, shallot, almonds and cheese. Drizzle on the lavender lemon dressing and toss it all together. If you grow it/find it, garnish the bowl with a fresh lavender sprig.Serve!

lemon lavender vinaigrette

  1. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, lemon zest, lavender, salt and pepper.
  2. Continue to whisk and stream in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a few days! If desired, you can strain out the dried lavender, but I like to leave them in there!

 

These grain bowls are the perfect September salad! Juicy figs, greens, quinoa, farro, almonds and a lemon lavender vinaigrette make this bowl irresistible.

Pretttty much every bite I want right now.

The post Fresh Fig and Farro Grain Bowls with Lemon Lavender Vinaigrette. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.