Updated: May 30, 2022
Let's talk grain bowls! Creating a grain bowl is one of my favorite things because it's so easy to assemble as long as you have the grain cooked and ready-to-go in the refrigerator. To create a well-balanced, satisfying, nutritious, and delicious grain bowl you essentially need 4 things:
whole grains or starch (rice, quinoa, farro, wheat berries, sweet potatoes, or potatoes, etc)
your favorite veggies (broccoli, kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus, etc ... the list is big!)
a plant-based protein (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, white beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds)
a sauce, dressing or simply a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of tahini will do!
Additional optional add-ins that make grain bowls even tastier and filled with texture include herbs, spices, kimchi or kraut, microgreens, and sprouts. The options for making a variety of grains bowls are enormous. See this blog post for more details on how to assemble the perfect bowl. In the meantime, grab the Cruciferous Crunch Bowl recipe below!
I recently had an opportunity to partner with my very talented and lovely friend, Becky Striepe of Glue & Glitter. We transformed one big batch of lentils and quinoa into two tasty salad and grain bowls! Once you prep the lentils and quinoa, it's easy to create a variety of meals using the legume and grain throughout the week. Get Becky's yummy Lentil Quinoa and Kale Salad here.
With that same batch of lentils and quinoa, I created the Cruciferous Goodness Bowl. I love this bowl because:
cruciferous veggies are nutrition powerhouses. They’re so good for you and delicious roasted. They're packed with fiber for gut health, vitamin C for immune support and plant compounds that may prevent several types of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, radish, chard, mustard greens, cabbage, and arugula.
making quinoa and lentils together, a whole-grain and a plant-based protein, couldn’t be easier! They basically go into the same pot, cooking at the same time and finishing at the same time.
When you add the veggies, quinoa and lentils together then top them with garlic ginger peanut sauce, you have a crunchy, nutrient-dense bowl that is bursting with flavor.
Plus, if you're not a fan of raw radish, roasting them creates a sweeter flavor. Alternatively, you could easily just substitute them with another hardy vegetable like cauliflower or Brussel sprouts (another polarizing veggie, I know!). Basically, the point is that you can individualize this bowl with your favorite veggies. After all, it's important to enjoy your food, especially if you're the one making it!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Lentils and Quinoa
1 cup dry, rinsed well brown or green lentils
1 cup dry, rinsed well organic quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
Roasted Broccoli and Radish
2 cups cut into 1-inch florets broccoli
2 cups cut into quarters (or halves if they're small) radish
1-2 tbsps extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Pickled Red Onion Ingredients
1 small or medium red onion
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
Garlic Ginger Peanut Sauce
1 tbsp mellow white or chickpea organic miso
1/4 cup unsweetened, crunchy or smooth peanut butter
2 tbsps organic tamari or coconut aminos
1 tbsp organic rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tsp chili paste or other hot sauce of choice (optional)
2 tsps finely minced ginger
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1/4 cup water
More bowl ingredients
4 cups leafy greens
1/4 cup peanuts
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the lentils and quinoa together: Combine the rinsed lentils, quinoa, water and vegetable broth in a large stovetop pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat a bit to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the lentils and quinoa have absorbed all of the water, uncovered, about 20 minutes. When the lentils and quinoa are tender, remove the pot from heat, cover, and let them steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, roast the vegetables: Add the broccoli and radish to a large bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir well to coat the vegetables. Space the broccoli and radish out evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
Make the pickled onions: Add the sliced onions, red wine vinegar, water, and salt to a large bowl. With clean hands, massage the onions into the red wine vinegar. Set aside.
Make the sauce: Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until the peanut butter and miso are completely dissolved. Alternatively, you can add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Assemble your bowl: Divide the leafy greens between four bowls. Add about 1 ½ cups of the lentil and quinoa mixture. Add ½ cup each of the broccoli and radish. Add 2-3 fork fulls of the pickled onions.
Spoon 2-4 tablespoons of the garlic ginger peanut sauce on top of each bowl.
Sprinkle peanuts on top for some extra crunch.
Notes and Substitutions
Make the lentils and quinoa ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make the sauce ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Add more deliciousness and nutrition
Add chopped herbs like chives or cilantro on top.
Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on top if you like more spice.
Add grilled tofu or tempeh on top.
Include probiotic-rich veggies like kimchi or kraut.
Instead of broccoli, roast cauliflower or Brussel sprouts.
Instead of roasted veggies, use raw.
For the leafy greens, use red leaf lettuce, spinach, romaine, arugula, or kale.
Instead of peanut butter use almond butter.
In place of vegetable broth (for cooking the lentils and quinoa as well as the roasted veggies) use water.
Use sunflower butter and sunflower seeds in place of peanut butter and peanuts.
Use tahini and sesame seeds in place of peanut butter and peanuts.
Per serving (4 servings): 607 calories, 77 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams fiber, 31 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 1470 milligrams sodium
Want to dive deeper into plant-based eating?
Visit all plant-based recipes here.
Visit the blog for more plant-based articles here.
Get 5-minute plant-based dressing recipes here. (FREE!).
Book a 15-minute FREE consultation here.
Get a customized weekly meal plan with recipes and shopping lists, as well as email and texting support here ($97 a month).