The Formula for a Seriously Satisfying Grain Bowl

So raise your hand if you love a good grain bowl 🙋

Also known as power bowls, buddha bowls or clean-out-the-fridge bowls. They are pretty much my current lunch obsession and I think you might like them too! Consider this your tutorial to make one 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 totally wing it on the rest.

 The formula for a seriously satisfying grain bowl

A few of these items are on my Power 10 list, which means I tend to keep them on hand for throw-together meals anyway. 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.

Similar | The Formula for a Seriously Satisfying Winter Salad

I get peeved when I see Instagram photos of a bowl that’s super impractical. While beautiful, I would rather not eat a bowl of raw vegetables topped with a whole avocado and bee pollen for lunch. We can do better you guys!

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Here’s what you need:

  • Grain, preferably a whole grain (quinoa, farro, rice, bulgur, wheat berries, couscous)

  • Protein (beans, lentils, over-easy egg, rotisserie chicken, canned fish)

  • Leafy greens (salad greens like 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, pom seed)

  • Olives or Nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, sliced almonds, honey-roasted peanuts)

  • Avocado or Cheese (smoked gouda, crumbled feta/bleu/goat or parmesan, nutritional yeast)

  • Sauce (balsamic vinaigrette, tahini, caesar, tzatziki, hummus)

The cool thing is that 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 says salads aren’t worthy of a meal.

 grain bowl formula

Food Pairings

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. I really love this tahini ranch from Bon Appetit.

Need inspiration? Here are a few tried and true combinations that you can try building on:

farro + cherries (or dried cherries) + arugula + bleu cheese

quinoa + chicken + berries + feta

brown rice + red cabbage + chicken + peanuts + peanut sauce

couscous + feta + olives + cucumber + tomatoes

Food Prepping

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.).

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 until you find your favorites!

If you make grain bowls, leave me a comment with your favorite variations.