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. 👨🎨
Grains (~¾ cup per serving)
Toppings (e.g., protein, vegetables, garnish)
Start with a base of room temp or warmed grains
Layer & arrange the toppings
Drizzle a few spoonfuls of sauce or dressing
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 chicken, steak, roasted turkey, tofu, beans (e.g., lentils, chickpea, black, heirloom), cheese (e.g., feta, goat, parmesan, cheddar), egg (e.g., poached, medium-boiled)
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
🗂 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
The Philosophy of MaxF [Life School]
How to Cook Grains [Life School]
How to Boil Vegetables [Life School]
Seasonal Vegetables to Boil [Life School]
Roasting Vegetables [Life School]
32 Grain Bowls [Bon Appétite]
15 Great-Tasting Grain Bowls [Brit & Co]
Grain Bowl Sauces [New Baguette]
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🎳 Lesson Team: Michelle Tandler (Research) & April Word (Expert Chef)