Whole Grain Bowls with All Your Favorite Stuff
Yeah, we're big into grain bowls. Who isn't these days? We've served a lot of hearty, filling, full-of-lots-of-yummy-stuff bowls over the years at our food truck and restaurant, and even featured them in our upcoming cookbook. We eat them at home on a regular basis too: they're super easy and versatile and can be put together quickly if you've put in a bit of previous work. You can have a badass bowl with just a few minutes of assembly, we promise.
How is this possible? We talk about a Sunday Roast in our no-waste strategies, which refers to my weekend practice of roasting whatever vegetables are hanging out in the fridge to eat for the week. If I'm on top of things, I'll also throw some whole grains on the stove, like wheat berries or farro or couscous or rice of any kind. I typically cook a few cups of grains using the pasta method - toss them in a pot, cover by a few inches of water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender - then eat some right away and store the rest in the fridge for the week.
On a weekday evening, I pull the cooked grains and the roasted veggies out of the fridge along with any fresh leaves or herbs like salad greens, kale, chard, arugula, spinach, basil, or mint. I also scan for an easy protein: leftover cooked meat is a nice find, or some ground meat that can be quickly sauteed. Pressed firm tofu or the baked season kind are both delicious - cold chunks work, pan-fried is even better. Fried or scrambled eggs are always an easy add, or you could crack open a can of chickpeas or beans. Or sometimes you just need cheese. HELLO BURRATA, MY DEAR FRIEND.
Basically, you're looking for a good combination of textures and tastes, ideally something roasted and something fresh. You'll want a good dressing to tie it all together - try any of these vinaigrettes or an Herby Green Sauce - and it's also nice to add some freshness with torn herbs, and crunch with peanuts or breadcrumbs or my favorite fried shallots.
The Rough Recipe
This recipe scales to serve as many people as desired; it takes about 10 minutes if you've got all the components already. If you're cooking everything from scratch, it might be 45 minutes to an hour.
- A large skillet
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Cooked grains of your choice, about a cup per person
- Roasted or otherwise cooked vegetables of your choice, also about a cup per person
- About 1/2 cup of leafy greens per person, either raw or lightly sauteed (if you're using heartier leaves, like kale, massage them some dressing first and let them soften a bit while you prepare everything else)
- The protein of your choice - meat, cheese, legumes, up to you
- Crunchy bits
- Dressing of your choice
- Kosher salt
Heat a splash of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the grains and veggies and toss to combine. If you're using a cold protein from the fridge, add that to the pan too. Let everything warm through, 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a serving bowl. Add any fresh leaves and drizzle with dressing, then toss and taste, adding more dressing if necessary. If you're topping with a fried egg, cook and add it on top, then sprinkle with your crunch and any other garnish you like before digging in.
The first photo is of red rice, cooked in some Kitchen Scrap Vegetable Stock for a flavor boost. I warmed the rice on the stove with a splash of ghee and some leftover Stir-Fried Greens, then tossed them both with some Herby Green Sauce from the fridge, thinned out with a little extra-virgin olive oil to a dressing consistency. I separately sauteed some sliced summer squash and fried an egg, then put them all together and sprinkled some sliced scallions, torn cilantro and crushed roasted & salted cashews on top. Simple lunch win!
The second photo is of a bunch of things I roasted in the oven at the same time: mushrooms, peppers, and bok choy. I pulled some cooked beets, edamame and red rice out of the fridge, as well as Quick Pickled Carrots and fresh lettuce leaves. For sauces, I grabbed chili oil and leftover Creamy Green Dip, and mixed some tomatilla salsa and plain Greek yogurt for an additional saucy option. Top with burrata and you can do no wrong.