I discovered grain bowls last two years. The nice thing about grain bowls is that you can have different themes and cuisines and tailor your bowl. You have variety with a few small changes and you eat healthily.
They are also called Buddha Bowl if it is vegetarian. A grain bowl usually has 6 components: grains, veggies, protein, salad, sauce or dressing, and the topping. The grain is usually a whole grain like quinoa, millets, or brown rice but I have occasionally served with coconut rice or steamed rice. I usually use plant-based protein but you can add a lean protein like salmon or chciken if you want.
How to make a Grain Bowl
Here are options for you to mix and match to make a grain bowl. It is versatile and uses what vegetables you have. The dressing also depends on the season. I would have a green goddess dressing in the summer when I have an abundance of herbs in the garden or garnish with avocados when in season or on sale. I may use chickpeas or edamame, whatever I feel like that day.
quinoa, millets, farro, bulgar wheat, couscous, orzo or rice
Protein of your choice:
Vegetables: Two to three of your choice
Roasted vegetables- eggplant, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, butternut squash, zucchini, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, Brussel sprouts or vegetable of your choice, sauteed spinach or kale
Raw Vegetables/ Salad:
Grated carrots, cabbage, lettuce, arugula, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes
Sauce or Dressing:
The last time, I decided I wanted an Indian fusion sauce: I soaked 1/3 cup raw cashews in hot water. Sauteed 1/2 chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 inch ginger, 1 small tomato. Grind the onion-tomato mixture with the drained cashew nuts, a squirt of lemon juice, 3 tbsp water, a tsp of curry powder (or 1/2 tsp of coriander powder, and 1/2 tsp of cumin powder ), and 2 tbsp cilantro in the food processor. Again decide on the sauce depending on your mood.
Here are some options: tahini sauce (Mix 1/3 cup tahini, 1/3 cup lemon juice, salt, pepper, 2tbsp water, 1 tsp olive oil), green goddess dressing, chimichurri sauce, cilantro mint sauce (In a food processor blend 4 tbsp cilantro/ coriander leaves, 4 tbsp fresh mint, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice), Mexican roasted pepper sauce, harissa paste sauce, roasted tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa verde, yogurt dill dip sauce (instead of hung curd use regular yogurt with a couple of tbsp water).
Nuts, pepita, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, feta cheese, goat cheese, cheese of your choice, chopped herbs
Use a theme to tie the bowl together
Accentuate the flavours and texture- make sure there is a crunchy element
Select and cook Your Grain
Prep your vegetables
Prep your protein
If using tofu, drain and press with a heavy pan to remove water. Grill or bake
Dress your bowl
Garnish your bowl
Enjoy and feel good about eating a healthy meal!