Our great grain bowl is filled with protein-rich quinoa, chickpeas, pickled onions, brussels sprouts, and gremolata. Oh, and it’s delicious!
Not sure how to make a great grain bowl? We’ve got you covered with a few variations on this easy, healthy vegan-friendly bowl. Whether you want to spice up your grain bowl, add in some zesty flavors, or make it super savory, the choice is yours.
And because the ingredients for these deliciously healthy grain bowls are easily interchangeable and simple to prep ahead of time, they’re ideal for helping you keep things simple and straightforward (yet still tasty). All you’ll need to do is pick a day (Sundays are usually a good option), batch cook your grains, beans, vegetables, etc., and you’re all set to make easy grain bowls throughout the week.
Grains – I love to use quinoa which has a ton of protein and is super filling. Other great grain options include:
Cauliflower rice (not a grain, but still an excellent grain substitution for your grain bowl).
Proteins – Using beans is a quick, easy, healthy way to add protein to your grain bowl. Chickpeas (usually my go-to beans for these vegan grain bowls, or… for just about anything) have a great meaty texture and are mild in flavor.
Other fabulous bean choices for your grain bowl are lentils, navy beans, black beans, and mung beans (super crunchy).
Veggies – All vegetables work! Always and forever! If you want to add a bright summer flavor to your grain bowl, you can add diced tomatoes, chopped basil, and a pinch of crushed garlic for a bruschetta flair.
On Sundays (food prep days), I will roast all sorts of vegetables with a splash of olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Some go-to easy veggies—each with a unique flavor profile and nutritional breakdown—are brussels sprouts, broccolini, cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, onions, and tiny tomatoes. In the fall and winter, root vegetables like butternut squash, celery root, and parsnips, are usually center stage for these hearty, healthy grain bowls.
Sauce – The sauce is always where it’s at! Seriously, a great dish is only as good as the sauce you put on it. I like to keep my grain bowl sauce simple, fresh, and maybe a bit spicy by whipping up a Gremolata (amazing taste and easier to make than it sounds).
It’s also quick and easy to top your grain bowl with a good salsa, tapenade, guacamole, chimichurri, pesto, or even hummus (more protein!) with a slice of lemon. Either way, trust me when I say that, with a little effort, a good sauce will always transform a good dish into an even better one.
A little extra – Briny, salty, and sweet flavors can change the flavor profile of grains and beans any day. Add a bit of sauerkraut, pickles, or pickled vegetables for a palate pleaser that will surely change the dish (prebiotic foods are fuel for the gut, too). Toss in some crunchy nuts, seeds, and greens to add another interesting element to your already great grain bowl. Or make things creamy with a sprinkle of feta or goat cheese.
Yields 4 servings
Grain Bowl Ingredients
2 cups brussels sprouts, quartered
2 cups green beans, trimmed
1 cup tiny tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed (any color)
1 ¾ water or vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon salt
Optional- herbs, ground pepper, olive oil, lemon zest
Gremolata (makes extra)
1 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed with mortar & pestle
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Quick Pickled Red Onions (makes extra)
1 large red onion, quartered and sliced
1 cup hot water
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup white balsamic
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
½ teaspoon sea salt
14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1. Start with what takes the longest first which is the roasted veggies. Pre-heat oven to 350⁰. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper. Toss the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl with half of the oil a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Spread on baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes or until roasted and fork tender. In a separate bowl toss green beans and tomatoes in a bowl with remaining oil, pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until slightly brown and tender.
2. Thinly slice the red onion, pack into a jar or glass bowl with the rosemary. Whisk the hot water, vinegar salt and sugar until the granules dissolve. Pour the hot liquid over the onions and push down the top onions so they are covered. Allow to sit for 30 minutes or overnight. The longer it sits, the more flavor the onions will have. They last in the refrigerator roughly 3 weeks.
3. Rinse and drain in a fine mesh strainer the quinoa. This will help remove the bitter soapy taste. Place the quinoa, water or broth and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and allow it to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and place quinoa in a bowl to cool. Mix with toppings and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
4. Time to make gremolata! Crush garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt or chop garlic. Scoop it out and place it into a small mixing bowl. Rinse and dry the parsley, breaking leaves from the stems. Chop the parsley and place into the mixing bowl. Add olive oil, lemon zest and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
5. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and place into a bowl.
6. Now its time to put together the grain bowl. Assemble bowls with a scoop of quinoa, chickpeas, and roasted vegetables. Top with pickled onions and a spoonful of gremolata. You can always put this on a bed of greens as a salad or top with some microgreens for a healthy crunch!
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As a certified integrative and functional dietitian, it’s my job to come up with tasty, healthy recipes and meal plans for individuals (neat, I know). To learn more about how my recipes and meals can best serve you and your specific needs, schedule a 15-minute consultation with Mint Nutrition today.