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a bowl of spicy shrimp and noodles

Let me tell you about my perfect springtime meal. It’s fresh and colorful, vibrant and nutritious. It features an irresistible mix of delicious flavors and enticing textures. And it includes some of my favorite healthy foods, like cabbage and carrots . . . or tomatoes and cucumbers . . . or, wait, what about spinach and beets?

I love grain bowls because they offer a flexible template for varying my produce intake according to the seasons. And I can easily add or subtract ingredients to fit my mood and my nutritional needs. If I want more protein, I can top my bowl with shredded chicken. If I’m craving something fermented, I’ll add a scoop of sauerkraut on the side.

Want to discover your perfect bowl? Try one of these three recipes to get started, or use our formula at the bottom of this page to build a creation all your own.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Bowl

spicy peanut noodle bowl

Makes four servings | Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 5 minutes

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbs. peanut butter
  • 2 tbs. coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. chili-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. red-pepper flakes

Bowl

  • 4 oz. pad thai brown-rice noodles
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 oz. peanuts, chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth. If your peanut butter or honey is too thick, set the jars in a warm-water bath for five minutes to soften before mixing the sauce.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Strain and rinse the noodles thoroughly in cold water.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the rice noodles with the peanut sauce, bell pepper, edamame, purple cabbage, and carrots.
  4. Just before serving, garnish with peanuts and sliced green onions. Enjoy within five days.

Tabbouleh Bowl

tabbouleh bowl

Makes four servings | Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 15 minutes

Tabbouleh

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped parsley with tender stems, packed
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

Toppings

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup jumbo green olives or Spanish queen olives, halved
  • 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions

  1. Add quinoa and water to a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
  2. Add parsley, green onions, lemon juice, sea salt, allspice, and black pepper to a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely minced, scraping down the sides as needed. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse to combine.
  3. Scrape the dressing into a large mixing bowl, then add the finely chopped tomatoes and quinoa and stir until mixed.
  4. Create a base with the quinoa mixture and top with the chickpeas, olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Enjoy with hummus, if desired. Eat within five days.

Beets and Greens Bowl

beets and greens grain bowl

Makes four servings | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 45 minutes

Honey-Mustard Dressing

  • 3 tbs. honey
  • 3 tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Bowl

  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb. beets, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until combined.
  2. Preheat a large saucepan with olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, about three to four minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one additional minute.
  3. Add farro and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and stir until lightly toasted and fragrant, about three to four minutes. Add water, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the grains are tender. Strain off any excess water if necessary.
  4. While the farro is cooking, quarter the beets and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Add beets to a small saucepan and submerge completely in water. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and bring the water to a boil. Cook until the beets are fork-tender, about 25 minutes, then strain.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine farro, cooked beets, chopped spinach, chopped walnuts, and goat cheese. Toss until combined and enjoy within five days.

Broccoli Salad With Herby Tahini Dressing

broccoli salad grain bowl

Makes four servings | Prep time Overnight | Cook time 60 minutes

Bowl

  • 1 cup Kamut
  • 8 cups water, divided
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 large red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Herb Oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs. chopped chives
  • 1 tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch sea salt

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Add Kamut to a large bowl and submerge in 4 cups of water. Soak overnight, and up to 24 hours in advance.
  2. Prepare herb oil. Place garlic, chives, and parsley in a heatproof bowl or small saucepan. In a separate saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat to 200 degrees F, or until shimmering but not smoking. Carefully pour the hot oil over the minced aromatics. Season with salt and set aside overnight.
  3. The following day, strain the Kamut. Strain the herb-infused oil, discarding the herbs and reserving the oil.
  4. Add the soaked Kamut, four cups of water, and a pinch of salt to a large saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the strained herb oil with the tahini-dressing ingredients until smooth.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine Kamut, broccoli, red onion, golden raisins, and tahini dressing. Enjoy within five days.

Build Your Own

Use this template to create your own grain bowl with your favorite ingredients. Amounts listed will yield one large or two small servings.

Base: ⅓ to ½ cup cooked grains

Suggested sources: Brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, Kamut, rice noodles, wild rice

Healthy fat: 1 to 3 tablespoons

Suggested sources: Olive, avocado, coconut, or sesame oil; nuts and seeds; cheese; avocado

Vegetables: ¾ to 1 cup

Suggested sources: Mixed greens, broccoli, carrots, beets, peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, or anything else that’s in season

Add-ins: To taste

Suggested sources: Sauces like pesto, curry, salsa, or vinaigrette; fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, parsley, or chives; dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, or sage; spices like cumin, red-pepper flakes, paprika, or black pepper; fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut

Protein: 4 to 6 ounces, or ½ to ¾ cup

Suggested sources: Organic chicken, grassfed beef, wild-caught salmon or tuna, shrimp, eggs, beans or pulses, tofu, or edamame

Photography by: Terry Brennan; Food styling by: Betsy Nelson
Maddie
Maddie Augustin

Maddie Augustin is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer.

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