Grain bowls are a simple and balanced meal option that you can customize based on your dietary needs and preferences. The best part is, you don’t need a recipe to make one. Follow this formula and use your favorite staple ingredients to build a seriously satisfying grain bowl.
Anyone else a grain bowl fan? Also known as power bowls, buddha bowls, nourish bowls, or clean-out-the-fridge bowls. They are pretty much my lunch obsession and once you learn the trick to building one on the fly, I think you might like them as well.
Consider this your tutorial to make a grain bowl that is equal parts satisfying and delicious. If you like meal prepping, you will love these because it’s simple to batch cook a few of the components, then wing it on the rest.
I swear that even on days when it seems like there’s absolutely nothing to eat, if you keep your kitchen stocked you’ll be able to throw something similar together in 10 minutes. These also make for a quick and easy packed lunch. Just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and call it good.
More importantly than being able to make something on the fly is making something that’s actually tasty and satisfying too.
Here’s What You Need for Success
- Grain – try quinoa, farro, rice, bulgur, wheat berries, or couscous
- Protein – beans, lentils, over-easy egg, rotisserie chicken, canned fish
- Leafy greens – arugula or leaf lettuce, sautéed kale or chard
- Crunchy vegetable – carrots, shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced radish or celery
- Fruit – apples or pears, fresh berries, dried cherries, dates, pomegranate seeds
- Olives or Nuts – kalamata olives, walnuts, sliced almonds, crushed peanuts
- Avocado or Cheese – smoked gouda, crumbled feta/bleu/goat cheese, parmesan, nutritional yeast
- Sauce/Dressing – balsamic vinaigrette, tahini, caesar, tzatziki, hummus
The great thing about these: you can customize this based on your own dietary needs and preferences and still end up with something balanced and filling. Perfect for anyone who thinks salads aren’t worthy of a meal.
It can take some practice to build a bowl with flavors that pair well together, but after a few tries you’ll be a pro. My main strategy is to pair things that have a more mild flavor, then pull it all together with a super flavorful sauce.
Make a full batch of a really delicious homemade dressing at the beginning of the week so you can use it for several days.
- Farro + cherries (or dried cherries) + arugula + bleu cheese
- Quinoa + berries + feta + toasted almonds
- Brown rice + red cabbage + chicken + crushed peanuts + peanut sauce
- Couscous + feta + olives + cucumber + tomatoes + salmon
How to Meal Prep Grain Bowls
If you want to get ambitious and do some prep for the upcoming week, pick 1-2 items from each of the categories above and make sure everything is prepped and ready to go (cook grains, wash greens, make a batch of dressing, etc.).
I love these food storage containers (affiliate) because they are sleek, durable, don’t stain, and are dishwasher-safe!
When it’s time to eat, it’s as simple as pulling out all of your ingredients and assembling something delicious. Experiment with different combinations so you never get bored.
Grain Bowl Recipes
Lastly, if you still prefer to follow a recipe, here are a few from dietitians that look awesome!
- Abundance Bowls with Almond Butter-Lemon Dressing
- DIY Buddha Bowl with Carrot Ginger Tahini Dressing
- Nourish Bowl: Black Rice, Roasted Veggies, and Eggs with Toasted Sesame Seed
- 5-Ingredient Healthy Kale and Quinoa Bowl
- Buffalo Roasted Chickpea Bowl with Honey Mustard Tahini Sauce
Once you get the hang of some common flavor combinations, you’ll be making your own grain bowls on the fly in no time!
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