In the new millenium, grain trends move about as fast as fashion. From 2006 to 2013, as we were shimmying out of our skinny jean fetish and into our bland beige normcore phase, we were consuming quinoa at such an outrageous rate that crop prices triple…
In the new millenium, grain trends move about as fast as fashion. From 2006 to 2013, as we were shimmying out of our skinny jean fetish and into our bland beige normcore phase, we were consuming quinoa at such an outrageous rate that crop prices tripled, making the Andean staple almost unaffordable in its native region.
Maturing into dadcore in 2017, we got obsessed with what we call "ancient grains," and added amaranth and Kamut to the list of old-timers that were suddenly hot. 2019 was undeniably the year of the jumpsuit, and also the year of the farro bowl. Now here we are in 2020, buffeted by an unending string of catastrophes, looking for something starchy to hold on to. This, friends, is where millet comes in.
If anything, Haile Thomas’ food choices as a child were early indications. In the introduction to her new vegan cookbook, Living Lively, the food activist writes: “I despised the kids menu, and was kind of offended by it.” Instead, she adds, she picked…
If anything, Haile Thomas’ food choices as a child were early indications. In the introduction to her new vegan cookbook, Living Lively, the food activist writes: “I despised the kids menu, and was kind of offended by it.” Instead, she adds, she picked off the adult menu, watched Iron Chef on repeat, and enjoyed nothing more than cooking Jamaican meals alongside her mother.
When she was eight, the family learned that her father had type 2 diabetes. His illness, she says, led to a transformation in their attitude toward food: from seeing it as a vehicle for love to something that was life-giving and empowering. By age 10, she was speaking about the link between wellness and food at conferences like TEDx. At 12, she founded the not-for-profit HAPPY to address the need for affordable plant-based nutrition education in underserved communities. All the while, she held down her other job: school.
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, […]
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ve probably seen the meal prep trend online where dozens and dozens of meals are prepped in containers for the entire week? Holy moly. I can say that will probably never be me. I once tried an over-ambitious meal prep and not only did I end up with way too much food, but it took […]
You’ve probably seen the meal prep trend online where dozens and dozens of meals are prepped in containers for the entire week? Holy moly. I can say that will probably never be me. I once tried an over-ambitious meal prep and not only did I end up with way too much food, but it took up most of my day.
On the flip side, I’ve realized that my veggie intake falls pretty flat when I don’t do any prep at all.
Soooo….there has to be a happy medium!?
This little dilemma is exactly why I came up with a simple plan that totally fits into my life these days. The recipe below (which is totally customizable!) takes less than 30 mins of active prep time, but makes enough food for several portions, increasing the odds that you’ll be a veggie powerhouse for the workweek. *arm flex* I love how I can quickly reheat a couple things and build a hearty, nutritious bowl in a matter of minutes!
My meal prep method has been going like this:
Roast two huge sheets of veggies
Cook a grain
Chop a couple fresh veggies (sometimes I skip this if I’m tight on time)
Have toppings on hand, ready-to-roll—things like avocado, nuts/seeds, beans, dressing, etc.
This method has dramatically changed my meals in recent weeks (specifically, lunches) and increased my veggie consumption a ton. All of the ingredients can be changed up so it never has to be repetitive and you can be flexible with using what you have in your fridge/pantry. It helps cut down waste because you can easily use up those “on the verge of dying” veggies in your crisper. Just throw ‘em in the oven and roast the heck out of ‘em! And if you get tired of bowls, throw the prepped food into delicious wraps or even soups/stews.
If you’re feeling extra-ambitious and want to prep even more food, I’d recommend adding one or more of the following tasty items:
Chia pudding (lately I’ve been making a double-batch of my 2-Ingredient Chia Pudding found in the new “Blissed Out Breakfast Bowls” recipe in the app! Such a perfect snack.)
I’ve provided a detailed recipe below because it helps to have something to work from the first time, but like I said, feel free to run with it. If you simply commit to roasting 2 big sheets of veggies, cook a grain, and chop some fresh veggies….you’ll be well on your way to making easy throw-together power bowls all week long. My future hangry self has been thanking me a lot.
Before I go, I want to mention that The Oh She Glows Recipe App is still on sale for 99 cents in the Apple iTunes Store until mid-March! You’ll find these delicious power bowls in there, as well as more than 160 of my favourite plant-based recipes (this number includes 30 app exclusive recipes too). Happy cooking :)
I love having prepped food in the fridge, but don’t love doing hours of meal prep each week. So I came up with this simple method that takes just 25 minutes of active prep time. The healthy food components can be enjoyed for several days in power bowls, wraps, and even stirred into soups! Power bowls are so fun for family meals because you can switch up the veggies and toppings to suit each palate, giving kids control to build their own bowls. This recipe is also a handy make-ahead option if you’re having friends over for a meal. Simply chop all the veggies the night before and refrigerate them in containers. Just before your guests arrive, pop the veggies into the oven, cook the quinoa, and prep the toppings. After cooking, you can all have fun assembling your own power bowls and everyone will be super impressed by the stunning rainbow-coloured meal!
Yield 8 servings
Prep time 25 Minutes
Cook time 35 Minutes
Total time 1 Hour
For the roasted veggies:
3 small (680 g) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (4 cups)
4 cups (500 g) brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved*
1 medium (800 g) cauliflower, chopped into small florets (4 heaping cups)
1 medium (230 g) red onion, peeled and chopped
2 large (500 g) red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
Nuts and seeds (I use hemp hearts and roasted pepitas)
Hummus or pesto
Position two oven racks near the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line two extra-large (15- x 21-inches) rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. It’s important to use extra-large baking sheets so there’s enough room for all those healthy veggies.
Divide the chopped, “to-be-roasted” veggies onto the baking sheets. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over top each sheet and toss the veggies until they’re fully coated in the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Roast the veggies for 30 to 40 minutes (I find 35 minutes is perfect in my oven for lightly charred veggies) until fork tender and golden. There’s no need to rotate/move the pans or flip the veggies halfway through baking unless you’re particular about even cooking.
While the veggies are roasting, add the quinoa to a large pot along with 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) water. Stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to low-medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove the lid and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork.
While the quinoa cooks, chop the cucumber and green onions. Rinse the tomatoes (I hold off slicing them until just before serving).
Remove the roasted veggies from the oven. Once mostly cool, transfer all of the veggies and quinoa into containers, seal with airtight lids, and place into the fridge for up to 4 days.
To make the power bowls: Add a couple generous handfuls of chopped lettuce/greens to the bottom of a large shallow bowl. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss the lettuce/greens until coated. Top with spoonfuls of your prepped food (quinoa, roasted and fresh veggies)—I always warm up the quinoa and roasted veggies first! Now, add diced avocado, more salad dressing, cooked beans or lentils, nuts and seeds, and hummus or pesto. Keep the power bowl flavours interesting by changing up the toppings each day!
* If your brussels sprouts are quite large, quarter them instead of halving.
** If you don't think you'll eat this much quinoa in 4 to 5 days, feel free to halve this amount (use 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 1.75 cups water).
Feel free to roast a head of garlic along with the veggies. The roasted cloves are especially delicious thrown into my Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Vinaigrette found in my Warm + Roasted Winter Salad Bowl recipe.
Make it nut-free: Top your bowl with seeds (such as roasted pepita seeds and hemp hearts) instead of nuts and make sure your dressing is nut-free.
I’m happy to announce a food and photography workshop with me at the Sunday Suppers studio in Brooklyn on September 30th and October 1st. You can sign up for one or both days. Here is a brief description. FOR TICKETS, … Continue reading …
I’m happy to announce a food and photography workshop with me at the Sunday Suppers studio in Brooklyn on September 30th and October 1st. You can sign up for one or both days. Here is a brief description. FOR TICKETS, … Continue reading →