What Food Network Staffers Are Adding to Their Grain Bowls
A little crunch and a pop of flavor go a long way.
As food trends come and go, the grain bowl craze has always been one of my favorites to follow and incorporate into my everyday meals. My family and I were definitely one of the many who jumped onto this foodie movement, trying to recreate these beautiful and bountiful bowls we saw on Instagram to fill us up. The best part about grain bowls? Anything goes! They could essentially be constructed out of whatever — even leftovers. When my dad made too much rice or when my mom overestimated how many steamed veggies we would eat, they would then become an added layer of nutrients in our grain bowls (instead of having to eat the same recipe two nights in a row).
One thing I’ve learned in creating these bowls is that taste and texture are everything. No matter what you choose to add, you need a good mix of flavors and some textural variety in your dish, or should I say, bowl. If you’re looking for ideas or inspiration, here are some favorites from Food Network staffers.
Crispy, Spicy and Sour
Our family is a big fan of crispy, spicy and sour: That means lots of sauerkraut for my daughter (the kind in the jar from the health food store has more crunch than the canned), sliced fresh serrano peppers for my heat-seeking husband and I’ll do pickled anything. This week my new love is the pickled shiitakes I made with a panic-bought surplus of mushrooms. Plus, a fried egg! I’m eternally worried I won’t be satisfied by all the vegetables and I know an egg will fill me up.
-Lygeia Grace, Culinary Editorial Director, Food Network
Olives Make Everything Better
Whenever I’m making grain bowls at home, I love to start with farro because it’s a hearty grain that can stand up to any number of mix-ins. I always include tons of veggies, a protein (usually chickpeas) and some kind of cheese, but my grain bowls are never complete without a few olives. They add a salty, briny bite to every spoonful, and I refuse to eat any homemade bowl without them. Green olives of any variety will do. I slice up about five olives per serving and even add the liquid from the marinade to my dressing. Next time you’re placing a grocery order or at the store, add a carton of green olives to your cart for when that grain bowl craving strikes. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.
-T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
Goat Cheese and Spices
I always have cooked grains, oven-roasted veggies and nuts on hand, so my grain bowls naturally have a good mix of textures (chewy, melt-in-your-mouth tender and just a bit of crunch!). The trick for me is varying the flavor. Two ingredients I rely on more than any others are goat cheese and aromatic spices. The easiest way for me to incorporate the spices is with the veggies. I toss everything from cauliflower to sweet potatoes in salt, olive oil and really fragrant spices (like curry powder or ras el haout) before roasting for extra flavor. Then, because the grains and veggies have a rich, nutty, caramelized flavor, I find that a little goat cheese on top adds just the right amount of tangy brightness to my bowl.
-Kristie Collado, Manager, Digital Programming, Food Network
Grain Bowls are one of my go-tos on a weekly basis. Healthy, filling, packed with flavor, and endless variables of ingredients and flavor profiles. And what a way to use up ingredients in your pantry and fridge. Grain bowls are wonderful for kids as well! They can create their own little masterpieces they can be proud to chow down on!
Greens: mixed greens, arugula, baby spinach
Veggies: charred sweet potato, watermelon radishes, shaved Brussels sprouts, charred corn, roasted beets, charred cauliflower, pickled veggies
Cheese: shaved Parmesan
Nuts/seeds dried fruits: toasted cashews, toasted almonds, pepitas, dried cherries
Dressings: oil/vinegar, rosemary aioli, garlic aioli, tarragon dressing
-Matthew Skrincosky, Food Stylist