Grain Bowls 🌾🍲📓

  
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This lesson is 641 words, a 2 min and 33 second read time. It is part of How to Boil Water and the MaxF Recipes collection.

📍 Introduction: 

Allowing you to use what you already have on hand, grain bowls are the ultimate, elegant MaxF meal. These delicious, nutritious, and fun-to-make bowls require no unique ingredients or techniques. Additionally, they serve as a delightful blank canvas for endless experimentation and creativity.

Whether combining previously prepped ingredients, or using up leftovers, so long as you start with flavors you like, you can't go wrong. Go ahead and give grain bowls a shot. You might just surprise yourself. 👨‍🎨

🧂 Ingredients

(All optional)

  • Grains (~¾ cup per serving) 

  • Toppings (e.g., protein, vegetables, garnish) 

  • Dressing/sauce 

✅ Instructions: 

  1. Start with a base of room temp or warmed grains 

  2. Layer & arrange the toppings 

  3. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of sauce or dressing  

  4. Serve & enjoy! 

📝 Notes Tips & Tricks

  • A grain bowl is only as good as the sum of its parts. Use ingredients you like. 

  • For extra flavor, cook the grain in stock or with a bouillon cube. 

  • Reheat the grain before serving or toss with a light dressing if serving cold.

  • For a visually appealing bowl, use contrasting colors & textures. For dynamic flavor, experiment with varying temperatures (e.g., cold grains & warmed proteins) & textures (e.g., crunchy, tender).

  • Seasons can serve as inspiration. In winter, try using roasted veggies (e.g., cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts) and warmed proteins or beans. In spring or summer, try adding crisp, light vegetables (e.g., salad, cucumbers, tomatoes) and cold proteins (e.g., tofu, lentils). 

  • For easy assembly throughout the week, prep some ingredients in advance (e.g., batch cook grains, make a sauce, wash/chop/roast vegetables.) 

  • If you like routine in your life, consider having a weekly Grain Bowl Day. Monday is great if you meal prep over the weekend. Alternatively, later in the week can work well for using up odds & ends from previous meals (e.g., takeout). 

  • Wide, low, flat bowls allow you to layer the flavors & capture sauce. Plates can lead to sauce running. 

  • Layer flavors by dressing each component separately.

  • Arrange your toppings on top as opposed to tossing everything together. This makes every bite a unique combination. 

  • If using raw vegetables, slice them thin or chop them up small.

📓 Grain Bowl Ingredients Reference Guide

  • Grain: rice (e.g., brown, white, wild), quinoa, farro, couscous, millet, pearled barley, polenta, wheat berries, cauliflower rice 

  • Protein: fish (e.g., salmon), roasted chickensteakroasted turkey, tofu, beans (e.g., lentils, chickpea, black, heirloom), cheese (e.g., feta, goat, parmesan, cheddar), egg (e.g., poachedmedium-boiled)

  • Cooked vegetables: roasted sweet potato, beets, asparagus, carrots, sautéed mushroomscauliflowerbroccoliroasted brussels sprouts, green beans, peppers, eggplant, squash, chard, edamame

  • Raw vegetables: carrots, fennel, radish, cucumber, celery, snap peas, tomato, avocado, peppers, cabbage

  • Leafy Greens: lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, radicchio  

  • Sauce: olive oil & lemon, vinaigrette, leftover takeout dressings (e.g., peanut sauce, caesar), pesto, miso, harissa, sriracha, creamy dressings (e.g., tahini yogurt, blue cheese, green goddess), soy sauce, warm broth  

  • Garnish: herbs (e.g., cilantro, dill), toasted nuts or seeds, scallions, sprouts or microgreens, crumbled cheese, anything pickled (e.g., pickled red onions

🗂 Chef April's Recipe Box

  • Mediterranean: Freekah or farro, grilled chicken, chickpeas, marinated red bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, tahini yogurt sauce, kalamata olives, crumbled feta

  • South of the Border: Quinoa, grilled steak, black beans, sauteed peppers or spinach, thinly sliced cabbage, avocado, salsa, pickled peppers, toasted pepitas

  • Poke: Sushi rice, tuna or salmon poke, avocado, edamame, sweet onion, seaweed salad, spicy mayo sauce, toasted sesame seeds

  • Japanese: Brown rice, broiled salmon, marinated tofu, roasted sweet potato, sesame-miso dressing, sliced scallions, furikake

  • Italian: Polenta, sautéed vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, spinach, cherry tomatoes), cheese, protein (e.g., beans, meatballs, bolognese). 

  • Veggie delight: grain of choice, variety of grilled/ roasted/boiled vegetables, (crispy) chickpeas, arugula, cherry tomatoes, green goddess dressing, crumbled goat cheese, toasted almonds

  • Breakfast (sweet): oats or multigrain porridge, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon

  • Breakfast (savory): steel-cut oats, sauteed kale, mushrooms, crumbled bacon, hot sauce, poached egg

🎓 Further Study

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🎳 Lesson Team: Michelle Tandler (Research) & April Word (Expert Chef)