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Grain bowls are everywhere these days, and for good reason. Not only are grain bowls super versatile—you can use any grain, and add whatever toppings toppings you feel like—but they’re also inherently filling and nutritious. Plus, they’re great for meal prep, since you can cook up big batches of several ingredients at the start of each week, then throw them together as packed lunches in the days to come.
Sticking to DIY grain bowls will also save you some money, since they usually go for upward of $10 at grab-and-go lunch spots. While it might feel a little more convenient to let someone else do the work, it’s not so hard to prep things yourself as long as you plan ahead. The creative recipes below are great if you’re new to grain bowls, and they’ll serve as good inspiration if the process is old hat to you.
The next time you head to the grocery store, plan on buying a whole grain, a few veggies that go well together, some protein and ingredients for a killer sauce or dressing. You can try new-to-you ingredients, or stick to the basics that you know and love!
1. Marinated Kale and Chicken Bowls with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
These kale and chicken bowls are made with basics, but have a great secret sauce made with sun-dried tomatoes.
2. Greek Chicken Grain Bowls
Forget going to the falafel stand at lunch—meal prep these tasty Greek chicken grain bowls instead.
3. Farro and Vegetable Bowl With Yogurt Dressing
If you’re feeling a little bit of quinoa fatigue, mix things up with a farro bowl instead.
4. Cold Sesame Noodle Vegan Bowls
OK, sesame noodles aren’t exactly whole grains, but they’re made from them. This vegan noodle bowl is best served cold.
5. Gyro Meatball Rice Bowls
Chicken and veggie bowls are great, but meatball bowls are better (sometimes).
6. Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls
If the line at Chipotle is too long during lunch, skip it and meal prep these burrito bowls instead.
7. Roasted Veggie Grain Bowls with Citrus Dressing
After you whip up the easy dressing for these veggie grain bowls, you’ll likely want to put it on everything.
8. Tofu Poke Bowls
Sure, you could shell out $11 for a poke bowl from the place down the street. Or, you could wise up and prep a big batch of these tofu poke bowls for far less.
9. Sweet Potato Grain Bowls With Tahini Sauce
Don’t worry about this vegetarian lunch bowl holding you over: The combination of sweet potato, beans, bulgar (a whole grain), avocado and tahini has enough protein, fiber and fat to keep you satisfied.
10. Pumpkin Quinoa Bowls with Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic
TBH, this fall-themed quinoa bowl tastes great any time of year.
11. Edamame and Brown Rice Salad with Sesame Dressing
A strong sesame dressing really pulls this meatless bowl together.
12. Vegan Hummus Pearl Barley Bowl
Barley is a dense, chewy grain that makes a great rice alternative. In this colorful grain bowl, it’s combined with squash, pomegranate and hummus.
13. Kale, Barley and Feta Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette
The key to a great kale salad bowl? Zesty dressing, and plenty of mix-ins.
14. Farro Bowl with Shiitakes and Winter Greens
This farro bowl is perfect for brightening a winter day, but works no matter the weather.
15. Turkey Taco Cauliflower Rice Bowl
It doesn’t get much simpler than a container of rice, turkey and all your favorite taco toppings. Cauliflower obviously isn’t a grain, though, so feel free to swap in real rice for more staying power.
16. Blackened Chicken Brown Rice Bowls with Avocado Cream
Avocado cream sounds fancy, but I promise it’s easy to throw these rice bowls together.
17. Roasted Veggie Brown Rice Bowls
When in doubt, roast a bunch of veggies and cook a grain for meal prep. Then, toss it all together for the simplest possible grain bowl.