How to Make a Grain Bowl

This healthy mix-and-match dish is perfect for a weekday lunch or end-of-week kitchen sink dinner bowl.

Related To:

Healthy Thai Tuna Grain Bowl

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Meal prepping can sometimes result in the same lunch five days in a row, which, frankly, can get pretty boring after a while. Customizable dishes like grain bowls can solve this problem with smart planning. Make a big batch of grains on Sunday and store them in the fridge for the week. A few easy proteins, chopped veggies and a batch of dressing can all hang out on the same shelf in the fridge to be mixed-and-matched for days. When you’re finally ready to build your bowl, here’s a step-by-step method to help you get the ratios just right.

Food Network Kitchen’s Perfect Farro, as seen on Food Network.


Food Network Kitchen’s Perfect Farro, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Step 1: Pick Your Grain

Prep a week’s worth of grains on a Sunday afternoon and store them in the fridge. We recommend prepping roughly six cooked cups (about 3 cups dry) of whatever grain you want for the week. You'll need 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of grains per bowl. Choose your favorite whole grain or try one of these recipes:

FNK Meal Prep Chicken Story

FNK Meal Prep Chicken Story

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Step 2: Choose a Protein

Whether you’re a carnivore or totally plant-based, a protein is a must for any grain bowl. Protein is the key to feeling full well into the afternoon. Opt for about four ounces of whatever protein you choose. Some proteins to try:

Step 3: Bulk It Up

After choosing your protein, you’ll need some add-ons to the bowl to bulk up the flavor. Vegetables, seeds, nuts, cheese and dried fruits all work in a bowl. We recommend picking two to three toppings to add to the bowl. Depending on the topping, you’ll want to add a couple of tablespoons (sunflower seeds) or up to a 1/2 cup (vegetables). This is where leftover roasted veggies, the last of your almonds, or a handful of greens comes in.

Food Network Kitchen’s 5 Ingredient Cilantro Sauce.

Food Network Kitchen’s 5 Ingredient Cilantro Sauce.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Step 4: Dress It

The dressing is the final step of a grain bowl. The dressing you choose is usually dependent on your choice of grain, protein and toppings. For example, a lighter grain like couscous works better with a looser dressing like a vinaigrette. A heartier grain like farro can stand up to creamy dressings and even sauce. The key is not to overdress your bowl. Too much dressing will result in soggy grains and ultimately a sad dish. Opt for your favorite salad dressing, or choose a homemade sauce like one of the below:

Grain bowls are ultra-customizable and can be fun for the whole family. No matter how you choose to build it, make sure to choose flavors and ingredients you love for the best results.

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