1. Pick a Grain: This step is what differentiates your grain bowl creation from just another unexciting and unfulfilling salad. Brown rice, quinoa, farro or couscous are the obvious and healthy choices, but you can use whatever leftovers you have on hand (even your leftover takeout rice is totally acceptable).

    grain bowl

    Photo by Jackie Maloney

  2. Veggie Layers: However many you please. The goal is to cover the grain and fill about 2/3 of the bowl so you have some room for protein. Roasted anything adds some texture (carrots, fennel, sweet potato or Brussels sprouts are some of my personal favorites). Chickpeas, lentils, or black beans also work if you want something more substantial. But if you’re too hungry (or lazy) to turn on the oven, any green will do.

    Grain Bowl Recipe

    Photo by Jackie Maloney

  3. Protein: Throw in a few pieces of last night’s chicken, pork, steak or fish (or a vegetarian alternative like hummus or tofu). When in doubt, an egg is always a winner.
  4. Dressing: This is your opportunity to tie it all together. A simple vinaigrette works nicely if your ingredients are a little more experimental, but the dressing is also a chance to spice things up with some Sriracha, pesto or peanut sauce.

    Grain Bowl Recipe

    Photo by Jackie Maloney

  5. The Extras: Its always nice to have something crunchy and something creamy. Chopped nuts or seeds for additional brain food, or crushed pita chips if you are already smart enough, are a few ideas for extra crunch. Add some cheese, avocado or a dollop of yogurt to satisfy that creamy craving.

All in all, the key to a successful grain bowl is to pick a theme. Here are some ideas to get you started..

Brown Rice + Black Beans + Spinach + Sriracha + Avocado

Quinoa + Chickpeas + Sweet Potato + Kale + Feta

Couscous + Roasted Carrots + Chicken+ Hummus + Almonds

Farro + Brussels sprouts + Egg + Parmesan


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