Welcome to a list of our best grain bowl recipes, where we celebrate the beauty of grains in all their diversity.

With their blend of textures, flavors, and colors, grain bowls offer a canvas for endless creativity in the kitchen.

Whether you’re seeking a nourishing meal packed with nutrients or a flavorful dish to satisfy your taste buds, grain bowls have something for everyone.

Easy grain bowl recipes

From ancient grains like quinoa and farro to staples like rice and barley, each recipe offers a unique twist and takes inspiration from global cuisines and culinary traditions.

Our grain bowls are packed with nutrientrich ingredients such as fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and fresh herbs, so you can enjoy a satisfying meal that fuels both body and soul.

Best of all, these recipes are suitable for meal planning, potlucks, office lunches, and school box meals.

How to build a grain bowl

When you build your grain bowl, try to incorporate these five elements for a healthy and nutritious meal.

  1. Greens (leafy greens, fresh vegetables, roasted vegetables, etc.)
  2. Protein (legumes, chickpeas, lentils, peas, tofu, nuts, seeds, plant-based dairy)
  3. Grains (ancient grains, pseudo-grains, pasta, couscous, corn, quinoa, rice, etc.)
  4. Fats (olive oil, tahini, avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, etc.)
  5. Herbs and spices (parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, dill, chives, etc.)

For example, this black bean salad bowl includes various whole foods that make a tasty and super delicious meal.

Grain bowl elements with protein and fat examples

Our best grain bowl recipes

1. Farro salad

Farro salad with tomato

We start this grain bowl list with a quick, Italian-inspired meal: farro salad with roasted vegetables.

Make it in 30 minutes with simple Mediterranean ingredients and a creamy mustard dressing.

2. Barley salad

Barley salad on a platter with a side of hummus

This barley salad combines the best of ancient grains with an aromatic mix of roasted vegetables and Italian seasoning.

This healthy serving of grains makes a tremendous vegetarian lunchbox meal or meal prep idea.

3. Pesto pasta salad

Pesto pasta salad with pine nuts

Pasta is a beautiful way of eating grains while getting a good source of complex carbohydrates (through whole-wheat pasta).

Our dairy-free pesto pasta salad is a creamy and crunchy fresh serving of grains that is great for spring and summer.

4. Couscous Bowl

easy couscous salad on a white plate with a silver fork

This easy grain bowl idea shows you how to pair couscous with crunchy fresh vegetables

Drizzle with an aromatic lemon dressing to make a wonderful Mediterranean-inspired couscous salad.

5. Vegetable couscous

couscous with vegetables served in a large bowl

Prepare for a vegetablepacked meal with panroasted veggies and a refreshing lemon vinaigrette.

This bowl makes for a tasty 30-minute vegetarian dish for the whole family.

6. Quinoa chickpea salad

Quinoa chickpea salad with avocado

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain rich in B vitamins and protein.

This 20minute recipe combines chickpeas and quinoa to create a simple and healthy bowl with seasonal veggies and a mustard vinaigrette.

7. Kale quinoa salad

kale and quinoa salad with roasted pumpkin

This delicious kale and quinoa salad is great for meal prepping. It can also be eaten as a healthy lunch or a vegetable side dish.

The salad is colorful and has different textures, making it a healthy meal with polyphenols and plenty of vitamins.

8. Vegan pasta bowl

Vegan pasta salad with beans

This Italian-inspired pasta salad combines fresh veggies, cannellini beans, a creamy dressing, and al dente pasta.

We recommend using seasonal veggies of different colors and textures so your pasta bowl is packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

9. Black bean bowl with quinoa

black bean salad with quinoa and sweet potatoes

Black beans are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with plant-based protein, antioxidants, and fiber, and they’ll keep you full for long.

Mix some quinoa and drizzle with chipotle saucetahini sauce, or avocado spread to make the black bean bowl extra fulfilling.

10. Mediterranean farro salad

farro salad on a serving platter

Farro is an ancient wheat grain with plenty of nutrition and health benefits thanks to its fiber, antioxidants, and plant protein.

You will love this farro salad with a satisfyingly chewy texture, roasted eggplant, and juicy zucchini.

11. Buddha bowl

Buddha bowl with brown rice and mango

Buddha bowls combine colorful vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of plant-based protein (grilled tofu) accompanied by a delicious peanut sauce.

It is an excellent way to pack tasty and nourishing ingredients into one flavorful and gorgeous dish.

12. Mediterranean hummus bowl

mediterranean bowl

Creamy hummus, fresh vegetables, and pickled red onions make a colorful meal with this delicious hummus bowl.

We recommend using farro, barley, bulgur, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, or wholegrain rice for grains.

Quinoa is not popular in the Mediterranean, but you can use that too to make a Mediterranean quinoa bowl.

13. Pearl couscous salad

Israeli couscous salad on a big white plate with a silver spoon

Israeli couscous is a pasta made with durum wheat flour and water, like Italian pasta.

With this grain salad, we show you how to cook Israeli couscous and transform it into a tasty and colorful Mediterranean pearl couscous salad.

14. Fregola bowl

Creamy fregola in a bowl with a hand

Fregula is a traditional Sardinian grain with a nutty flavor and chewy texture, perfect for adding depth to Mediterraneaninspired dishes.

Its small, spherical shape lends a delightful bite to soups, salads, and pilafs, making it a versatile choice for culinary exploration.

15. Moroccan couscous bowl

Moroccan couscous with roasted carrots and feta on top

With this Moroccan couscous bowl, you’ll taste the essence of North African cuisine: aromatic spicescrunchy nuts, and sweet dried fruits softened by fluffy couscous grains.

You can serve this as an appetizer, side dish, or even a main dish with roasted carrots. It’s excellent for meal prep as it keeps well for days.

16. Lentil quinoa salad

Lentil quinoa salad with feta and hand holding a fork

This quinoa lentil salad is a nutrition powerhouse that will make you feel great and satiated.

You’ll love the textures and flavors of tender sweet potatoes, earthy lentils, and fulfilling quinoa hugged by a creamy, tangy mustard dressing.

17. Mango quinoa bowl

Mango Quinoa Salad with avocado

This grain bowl combines the delicious juiciness of mangoes with nutty and protein-rich black beans and quinoa.

We rely on an easy-to-make cilantro lime dressing that adds a tangy and slightly sweet taste to this vibrant mango black bean salad to tie everything together.

18. Italian rice salad

Rice salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs

We adore whole-grain brown rice (long grain) in this veggie-packed rice salad because it has a beautiful texture and richer flavor than white rice.

Brown rice is a whole grain, healthier, and more fulfilling than white rice. This brown rice salad is easy to prepare and one of the best plant-based recipes for picnics and potlucks.

19. Tabbouleh bowl

authentic tabouli salad

Tabbouleh is a refreshing Levantine parsley and tomato salad mixed with bulgur, lemon juice, scallions, and olive oil.

Serve tabouli as a starter on a platter with other Middle Eastern foods as a side dish, or make it ahead for cookouts and BBQs.

20. Lentil salad with quinoa

Lentil salad with quinoa and a silver spoon

To make this delicious lentil salad even more proteinpacked and nutritious, add 1/2 to 1 cup of boiled quinoa.

Our lentil grain bowl is satisfying, colorful, and packed with plantbased protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

21. How to cook couscous

How to cook couscous and store it in a bowl or container

You’ll love couscous because it’s easy to make. Its pleasantly mild flavor and slightly nutty notes allow you to pair it with almost anything.

Use it as a base to make grain bowls like this couscous with vegetablescouscous salad, or chickpea salad.

22. Chickpea pasta salad

chickpea pasta salad in a bowl

You can make this refreshing pasta salad bowl in about the time it takes to boil the pasta.

It’s packed with crunchy veggies, a delicious mustard dressing, and plenty of fiber and protein to keep you full and nourished.

23. Mujadara bowl

Mujadara with yogurt and a wedge of lemon

We recommend using white basmati rice for this MiddleEastern Mujadara. It cooks fast, and lentils taste delicious.

Substitute any other type of white or brown rice, such as long grain, short grain, or Jasmine rice, for basmati, but remember to adjust the cooking time according to the instructions on the rice package.

24. Marinated tofu bowl

diced marinated tofu served on rice

You can use marinated tofu in salads, grain bowls, wraps, stir-fries, and pasta, and it is excellent for last-minute dinners and meal prep.

You’ll love this recipe because you can make it quickly for a light dinneras the tofu doesn’t need to sit in the marinade.

25. Falafel bowl

Falafel bowl with veggies and dressing

Our final recipe on this list is a falafel recipe beautifully coupled with fresh veggies and hummus.

You can quickly build a filling falafel bowl with greens, roasted bell pepper, warm pita bread, and tahini sauce.

How to store these grain bowl recipes

Make ahead: most of these grain bowl recipes are excellent to make ahead as they keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days.

We like to chop and separate veggies, grains, and protein sources separately and mix them on the day of eating.

Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezing: we do not recommend freezing these recipes; however, you can freeze most cooked grains for up to 3 months.

Please refer to each recipe’s storage section to ensure the grain is freeze-able.

To freeze, let the grains cool down completely, transfer them into freezer-friendly zip-lock bags, and freeze. Then, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, microwave, or boiling water.

cooling farro on a baking tray

More salad inspiration

Get more salad and vegetable-packed inspiration with these nutritious and beautiful veggie recipes:

Easy and healthy grain bowl recipes

25 Healthy Grain Bowls

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 3 votes
These 25 grain bowls from all over the internet are colorful, easy to make, and delicious to eat!
Try this black bean salad with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, green or red bell pepper, creamy avocado, jalapeños, and a cilantro lime dressing with fresh cilantro and lime juice.
Perfect for wholesome make-ahead meals and food prep. You are going to love it!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Boiling Beans: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Course: Main, salad
Cuisine: International

Ingredients

FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • pound sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1-Inch cubes
  • 1 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium avocado diced
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ red onion chopped
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeños chopped

FOR THE CILANTRO LIME DRESSING

  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions 

STEP 1: BOIL THE BEANS

  • Rinse, then boil the black beans in a large pot with plenty of lightly salted water for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
    cooking black beans in water
  • Taste the beans to check if they are done, then drain them in a colander.
    drained black beans

STEP 2: COOK THE SWEET POTATOES

  • Preheat oven or air-fryer to 400°F or 200°C.
    Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1-Inch cubes. Toss them in ½ tbsp of olive oil, ¼ tsp salt, and a few twists of black pepper.
    diced sweet potatoes
  • Oven Roasting: transfer cubed sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tender and browned.
    oven roasted sweet potatoes
  • Air frying: transfer cubed sweet potatoes into the air fryer basket.
    The cubes CAN overlap. Air fry for 15 to 18 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket every 4 minutes to allow for even cooking.
    air fried sweet potato cubes

STEP 3: MAKE THE DRESSING

  • To a blender add all ingredients: cilantro, lime juice, maple syrup, garlic, peeled and grated ginger, salt, and olive oil.
    all ingredients for cilantro lime dressing in a blender
  • Blend for a couple of minutes until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and lime before serving.
    cilantro lime dressing just made

STEP 4: MIX THE BLACK BEAN SALAD

  • To a large bowl, add the black beansdiced avocadofinely chopped onion, sliced jalapeños, roasted sweet potatoescorn kernels, and diced green bell pepper.
    Next, pour in the cilantro lime dressing.
    avocado, corn, green peppers, black beans, jalapeno, red onion, and sweet potatoes in a bowl
  • Toss well, taste and adjust for salt, and let the flavors meld for at least 15 minutes before serving.
    black bean salad with cilantro lime dressing
  • Optionally, you can add about 1 cup of boiled quinoa.
    black bean salad with quinoa and sweet potatoes

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 portion out of 6 without quinoa.

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 788mg, Dietary Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 16610IU, Vitamin B6: 0.4mg, Vitamin C: 28mg, Vitamin E: 3mg, Vitamin K: 31µg, Calcium: 64mg, Folate: 95µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 70mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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