Grain Bowls – 3 Ways

5 from 193 votes

Grain bowls are a healthy and nutritious meal that are perfect for meal prep and quick and easy dinners. Simple to make and loaded with fresh ingredients.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Grain bowls are a healthy and nutritious meal that are perfect for easy weeknight meals and meal prep for the week. They’re simple to make and loaded with fresh ingredients and a homemade cilantro sauce. Grain bowls are easy to adapt to your specific tastes, and I have three fun ways to try below!Three grain bowls ready to eat

Want to save this recipe?
Just type your email below and I’ll send it to you. And as a bonus you’ll get delicious new recipes from me!

All three of these delicious grain bowls are packed with proteins, nutrients, and flavor, making them as good for you as they are, well, good! These kinds of bowls are typically made with grains, protein, vegetables, and a sauce of some kind, and they’re ridiculously easy to make. So, let’s get cooking!

I made 3 grain bowls: rice, farro and quinoa. Was excited to finally have a good recipe for farro. The cilantro dressing is indeed the best complement for those 3 grains. Thanks for all your inspiring recipes.Amy

Recipe at a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Boiling
Dietary Info: Vegan
Key Flavor: Savory and Fresh
Skill Level: Easy


  • Nutrient-Dense: The combination of grains, vegetables, and cilantro dressing ingredients creates recipes rich in protein, complex carbs, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. 
  • Filling: The protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs in these bowls leave you feeling full and satisfied after your meal. 
  • Convenient: These grain bowls are a convenient way to meal prep for the week, saving you time and effort later on. 
  • Customizable: Grain bowls are made with the same kinds of ingredients in different variations, making it easy to change things up by using different grains, vegetables, and protein sources. 

Ingredients to Make Grain Bowls

Three photos of three different grains

  • Grains: Options include rice, farro, quinoa, millet, or barley – experiment and find your favorite! Cook a batch on the weekend and reheat before serving, or use store-bought cooked grains that are widely available to save on time. For this recipe, I’m using three kinds of popular grains: brown rice, farro, and quinoa.
  • Protein: This makes the meal nutritionally complete, and can be made ahead. (Grain bowls are also a great way to use up leftovers.) Use chicken, steak, duck, or fish, or go vegetarian with eggs, or vegan like I did with my three bowls with tofu, beans, or lentils.
  • Vegetables: Use more than one vegetable to get a variety of flavors, textures, and colors. Roasted, steamed, or grilled eggplant, broccolini, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, or parsnips are all good and can be made ahead. Raw vegetables are also great options. Salad greens or something crunchier like carrots, radishes, or bell peppers add a bright, fresh-tasting element. Use as many as you like.
  • Dressing/Sauce: Grains like a little moisture, but the sauce also ties the whole dish together. Vinaigrette (which can be made ahead), yogurt, warm broth, hot sauce, soy sauce, or any combination will do the job. For these three vegan grain bowls, the cilantro dressing is the perfect complement.
  • Garnish: I like to finish my bowls with a sprinkling of herbs or micro greens, it adds a pop of extra color and flavor to make them even more enticing. You could also try a crunchy topping like seeds or nuts for more texture.
  • Use your favorite grains. Any grain works for grain bowls. Try rice, farro, quinoa, millet, barley, or any of your other favorite grains. 
  • Any protein works well. Make vegan grain bowl recipes with tofu, beans, or nuts. If you’re not vegan, try eggs, beef, chicken, duck, or turkey. 
  • Use any vegetable you like. Almost any vegetable will work in a grain bowl. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, parsnips, radishes, bell peppers, and substantial leafy greens like kale or spinach all work well. 
  • Choose your favorite sauce or dressing. Grains like a little moisture, and your sauce ties the entire bowl together. Use your favorite vinaigrette, or choose from other options like yogurt, broth, hot sauce, soy sauce, or any combination you love. 

How to make the cilantro sauce

It’s so easy to make the homemade dressing for these grain bowls with a handful of simple ingredients. The sauce is vegan and gluten-free. i use cilantro, avocado, garlic, oat milk, olive oil and salt/pepper.

Ingredients for the cilantro sauce

Simply combine all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil in a food processor. Once blended, keep the processor running and slowly drizzle in the oil until completely combined. You’ll get a bright green homogenous cilantro sauce that is ready for topping your grain bowl.

Two photos to show how to make the cilantro dressing

Grain bowl recipes

I call them recipes, but they are really just ideas to inspire you. I’ve played around with so many flavor combinations and these three really stand out for me if you’re looking for something vegan. Plus, they pair really well with my cilantro sauce. 

Start with some type of raw vegetables that can withhold warm grain without getting soggy. Cabbages work really well. Greens like kale and spinach also work well because they still taste great when they soften.Shredded cabbage and spinach

Using Brown Rice: Cook the brown rice by adding it to a pot of water with salt, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 40 minutes and then stand for 10 minutes. Add the rice to a bowl along with:

  • sliced green cabbage (get my tips to how to cut cabbage quickly and easily).
  • canned black beans
  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • avocado

Drizzle with some of the garlic cilantro dressing and serve the grain bowl.

A brown rice grain bowl

Using Farro: Cook the farro in a pot of water with some salt, and simmer for 20 minutes before draining. Add to your bowl along with:

  • baby spinach
  • chickpeas
  • cherry tomatoes
  • Persian cucumbers
  • blanched almonds

Finish the dish with the homemade dressing and serve.

A farro grain bowl

Using Quinoa: Cook the quinoa in water and salt for 15 minutes until the water has evaporated. Add the grains to the bowl along with:

  • purple cabbage
  • shelled edamame
  • red pepper
  • carrot
  • salted peanuts

Spoon over some of the cilantro sauce for serving.

A quinoa grain bowl

Tips for Making The Best Grain Bowls

  1. Cook the grains al dente. This is to ensure that the grains don’t get soggy in the grain bowl as you add the other ingredients and the sauce.
  2. Fluff the grains after cooking. Whether you’re making the grains from scratch or using the ready-to-heat kind, it’s important to fluff them after cooking by using a fork to separate the grains. 
  3. Use warm grains. Even though we often think of salads as cold meals, there’s something very comforting about the rice being served warm. It keeps the grains moist and blends more equally into the salad.
  4. Avoid using lettuce. Grain bowls tend to be more hearty and are great for leftovers. Including lettuce in the bowls, though, may create a soggy situation the next day. If you want to use greens, opt for spinach or kale that don’t release too much moisture.

How to Store and Reheat Grain Bowls

Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator as soon as they’ve cooled enough to do so. For the best texture, store the dressing and bowls separately. 

To reheat the grain bowls, simply pop the defrosted bowls in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on how warm or hot you’d like your bowls to be. 

For the best flavor and texture, it’s important to refrigerate your grain bowls as soon as they’ve cooled. Properly stored in an air-tight container, they’ll last for up to five days. The dressing, however, will only last for one to two days in the refrigerator. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you eat grain bowls hot or cold?

These grain bowls can be enjoyed warm or cold. I really enjoy them warm the first day when the grains are fresh off the pot. But you can easily make several and keep them covered in the fridge and have them to grab for easy cold lunches the next day.

How far in advance can you make grain bowls?

These bowls are great for meal prep to enjoy throughout the week. Make them up in individual containers and keep them covered in the fridge. They will be good for about 4 to 5 days. The dressing however will only keep for 1-2 days since int includes avocado, so keep that in mind.

Bowls of rice, farro and quinoa

Knowing how to make grain bowls gives you a huge variety of recipes to add to your weeknight meal arsenal. With the same ratios of grains, vegetables, and proteins, these bowls can be customized in almost any way imaginable, allowing you to get creative while delivering hearty, filling, and nutritious meals. You can even get thr whole family involved and create a DIY grain bowl station so everyone can build their own perfect grain bowls!

Other vegetarian meals:

If you’ve tried these healthy-ish feel good Grain Bowls or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories

order MY book

The Feel Good Foodie Cookbook is now available everywhere books are sold!

Grain Bowls – 3 Ways

Grain bowls are a healthy and nutritious meal that are perfect for meal prep and quick and easy dinners. Simple to make and loaded with fresh ingredients.
5 from 193 votes
Servings 2 bowls
Calories 652
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Email This Recipe
Enter your email and I’ll send this directly to you. Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!



With Brown Rice

  • ½ cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 cups green cabbage thinly sliced
  • ½ cup canned black beans rinsed/drained
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ avocado sliced

With Farro

  • ½ cup uncooked farro
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cup can chickpeas rinsed/drained
  • ½ cup cherry Tomatoes sliced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers sliced
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds

With Quinoa

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups purple cabbage thinly sliced
  • ½ cup shelled edamame
  • 1 red pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 carrot diced
  • ½ cup salted peanuts

Garlic Cilantro Sauce

  • 1 bunch cilantro about 1 cup packed
  • ½ cup oat milk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • To cook the brown rice, add the brown rice, 1 ¼ cups water and salt to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes until all the water is evaporated. Remove from heat, but keep the pot covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.
  • To cook the farro, add the farro, ¾ cup water and salt to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes until all the water is evaporated. Remove from heat, but keep the pot covered for 5 minutes. Drain any excess water, if any, fluff with a fork and serve.
  • To cook the quinoa, add the quinoa, ¾ cup water and salt to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes until all the water is evaporated. Remove from heat, but keep the pot covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.
  • To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle the oil until completely emulsified and combined. Adjust the thickness by adding more oat milk or water. And taste to adjust for more salt.
  • To assemble the grain bowls, place the desired ingredients together in a bowl, drizzle with the garlic cilantro sauce and enjoy at room temperature or cold.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 5 days in the fridge. Store the dressing separately and add to the bowls before serving.


Calories: 652kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 823mg, Potassium: 1758mg, Fiber: 20g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 13733IU, Vitamin C: 145mg, Calcium: 158mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Main Course

Rate and comment

Recipe Rating


  1. Leslie says:

    I have a question about your cilantro sauce recipe. I love cilantro and I want to make to make your cilantro sauce, but I don’t have a good processor. Is there some other way to make it ? Or do you have another cilantro sauce recipe that I can make that doesn’t require the use of a food processor ?
    Thank you

    1. Yumna J. says:

      If you have a blender, that will work as well. Having a good food processor on hand is always a plus, though – I highly recommend looking at getting one that has multiple functions, like dough making, grating cheese, and pureeing. I really like the Ninja for this reason. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Sandra says:

    Lots of recipes I want to try

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Hope you do!

  3. Amy says:

    I made 3 grain bowls: rice, farro and quinoa. Was excited to finally have a good recipe for farro.
    The cilantro dressing is indeed the best complement for those 3 grains.
    Thanks for all your inspiring recipes.