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30 Lunch and Dinner Bowls Bursting with Flavor

These beautiful whole-grain recipes pack delicious flavors alongside significant health benefits.

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Contributing Writer

Take a look at your pantry. If it’s not already stocked with whole grains, here are a few good reasons to head to the supermarket: Grains such as quinoa, barley, millet, and rice each serve as a satisfying base for a variety of nutritious meals. Top cooked grains with vegetables, protein, and a flavorful dressing and, voilá, lunch or dinner is served! The versatile weekday dish also has major health perks—a large new long-term Harvard study published this March in the journal BMC Medicine suggests that eating more whole grains may help you live longer.

In the study, researchers observed more than 367,000 participants with cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and end-stage renal disease for an average of 14 years. They discovered that those who consumed the highest amount of whole grains—1.2 ounces per day, on average—had a 17 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to those with the lowest intakes. Moreover, grain eaters saw a 48 percent reduced risk of death from diabetes. One potential reason: The grains’ components—dietary fiber, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants—that have been linked to improving weight loss, insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and systemic inflammation may also play a role in longevity.

Doctors and health foodies aren’t the only ones singing praise of grains—popular restaurants across the country are also dishing them up with delectable toppings such as soft-cooked eggs, avocado, pickled vegetables, and sweet chili sauce. To make your own bowl that’s bursting with flavor, draw inspiration from the following 30 recipes from some of our favorite food bloggers and chefs.

Slow-Roasted Spring Leeks and Toasty Farro with Walnut Rocket Pesto (pictured below)

Recipe by: HappyHeartedKitchen
Sweet, slow-roasted leeks shine when combined with nutty farro. The walnut rocket pesto is an added herbalicious bonus.

HappyHeartedKitchen_Slow-Roasted Spring Leeks and Toasty Farro_edited

Farro-Cauliflower Bowl

Recipe by: Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.
It’s easy to confuse farro with barley. The former is slightly bigger and packs a nuttier taste that complements both sweet and savory recipes. We love it topped with a cauliflower steak that has been roasted in olive oil for 25 minutes.

Asiago White Beans with Farro, Kale and Tomatoes
(main photo)

Recipe by: PinchOfYum
One pot and five ingredients is all you need for this chewy and cheesy comfort food that’s loaded with protein and fiber (unlike boxed mac-n-cheese).

Farro Risotto with Peas and Asparagus

Recipe by: Natural Gourmet Institute
If risotto doesn’t sound diet-friendly to you, take note: Farro’s high fiber content means it is a pro at slowing digestion and absorption, which can lead to weight loss. So take that, fat!

Harissa Roasted Roots with Crispy Chickpeas and Herby Millet Pilaf (pictured below)

Recipe by: HappyHeartedKitchen
Often overlooked as bird food (literally, it’s in feeders), millet is a tiny grain that you do not want to ignore. The nutty round seeds aren’t just fibrous, but also a source of iron, calcium, potassium, and the B vitamins. Mix it with a medley of seasonal veggies and a star is born.


Quick Chicken-Vegetable Stew with Millet

Recipe by: Natural Gourmet Institute
Tight on time? Try this fast all-natural, dairy- and gluten-free, super filling feast featuring high-fiber millet and protein-packed chicken.

Cajun Shrimp with Millet, Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, and Mojito Sauce

Recipe by: Natural Gourmet Institute
Spice up lunchtime with this cajun shrimp concoction finished with a mojito sauce drizzled over eggplant and zucchini, served on a bed of wholesome millet.

Smoky Chicken and Barley Congee

Recipe by: Food52
This is not your mom’s traditional chicken soup—though you might wish it were after just one bite. The barley adds a rich creamy texture that plays well with the other crunchy, sweet, sour, and savory ingredients.

A Quick and Healthy Vegetable Grain Bowl

Recipe by: Joy Houston
Oats aren’t just for the morning. This quick vegan dish combines oat groats with lots of energy-boosting green vegetables, including broccoli, zucchini, kale, and spinach.

Green Bean, Quinoa, and Tarragon Salad (pictured below)

Recipe by: HappyHeartedKitchen
Cooking with quinoa is so fast and easy. In 15 minutes, it’s ready to go in any dish, including this crunchy and colorful salad made with green beans, fresh cherries and almonds.

HappyHeartedKitchen_Green Bean Quinoa_edit

Vegetable Stir-Fry with Cashews and Quinoa

Recipe by: Natural Gourmet Institute
Make a big batch of this quick recipe ahead of time. You’ll have a wholesome, nutritious meal packed with hearty quinoa, cashews, and vegetables waiting for you in your fridge when you need fuel fast.

Warm Kale, Quinoa and Broccoli Salad Bowl
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Recipe by: HappyHeartedKitchen
Crazy about crispy kale? You’ll love this superstar ingredient served with quinoa and broccoli, plus raw almonds and toasted seeds.


Moroccan Quinoa Bowl
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Recipe By: rachLmansfield
All you need is three ingredients—quinoa, roasted veggies, and chickpeas—when the glue that brings it all together is Harissa sauce. Morocco’s popular condiment is made with red chili pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and salt, adding multidimensional flavor to a plain grain.


Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad

Recipe by: PinchOfYum
You’ll be the hit of any potluck with this bright and fresh beauty featuring quinoa, vegetables, and greens drenched in a zesty lemon-garlic dressing.

Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches

Recipe by: Natural Gourmet Institute
Juicy heirloom tomatoes and sweet peaches are the odd couple that work beautifully together in this satisfying quinoa salad mixed with toasted almonds and feta cheese.

The Perfect Sweet Potato, Kale, and Quinoa Bowl

Recipe by: Joy Houston
Can’t decide between sweet or savory? With this recipe, you don’t have to! Combine of the two flavors through kale, quinoa, pecans and sweet potatoes and knock out both cravings with one forkful.

Coconut Quinoa and Warm Broccoli Bowl with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing

Recipe by: Food52
A zesty, all-season salad doesn’t get better than this. Cook your quinoa in coconut milk and…wait, need we say more? If so, imagine adding fresh ginger and lemongrass to the mix. Magic.

Spiced Lamb Pilaf with Pomegranate Kale and Coconut Mint Yogurt (pictured below)

Recipe By: EatFitFood
Brown rice takes on a deep golden yellow hue thanks to spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and harrisa paste. Peas and kale add a pop of green that are offset with shredded lamb shanks and bright red pomegranates.

EatFitFood_Spiced lamb pilaff with pomegranate, kale and coconut mint yoghurt_edit

Honey Ginger Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

Recipe by: PinchOfYum
A homemade honey-ginger-garlic sauce will make even tofu-phobics ask for seconds of this brown-rice-based bowl.

Black Rice, Edamame, and Clementine Detox Bowl

Recipe By: AthleteFood
Black rice contains antioxidants called anthocyanins—also found in blueberries, grapes and açai—that help fight against heart disease and cancer. Here, it’s used as part of a detoxifying dish combined with edamame for protein and fresh clementines for sweetness.

Spinach Mushroom Rice
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Recipe By: Lundberg
No need to decide on just one kind of rice when you can combine brown, red, and black to make a colorful, wonderfully fragrant grain blend. Fold in a spinach-mushroom mixture and sprinkle with tamari sauce and red pepper flakes for a flavorful feast.

Lundberg_spinach mushroom rice_edit

Oven-Baked Pineapple Fried Rice with Cashews and Tofu

Recipe by: Snixy Kitchen
“Oven-based” and “fried”sound like a two-step process, but it’s not. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl then spread on two dark, non-stick baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes or until crispy, crunchy, and finger-licking good.

Scallion and Coconut Rice with Pork

Recipe by: Food52
A sweet and salty combination of coconut milk, pork, and risotto-like rice may sound rich and heavy, but it actually hits the spot just right.

Roasted Shrimp Rice Bowl

Recipe By: AthleteFood
For a quick and healthy dinner, top a bowl of rice with roasted shrimp and whatever vegetables you have on hand, like tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots (raw and chopped). Add in a little pesto to finish things off.

Vegetable and Tofu Thai Curry

Recipe by: Snixy Kitchen
White, brown, or black rice make for a great grain base for this coconut-drenched asparagus, broccoli, and tofu blend that embody the Thai curry’s famous harmony of spicy, sweet, and salty.

Celery and Za’atar Tabouli (pictured below)

Recipe by: Food52
There’s a good reason classic tabouli is always made with bulgur. The wheat really brings out the flavors of the parsley, scallions, celery, and walnuts mixed with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices.


The Protein Power Bowl

Recipe By: AthleteFood
No meat needed to create this protein-packed meal made with smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, and edamame served over corn.

Summer Greens, Avocado, and Corn Salad with Yogurt Herb Dressing

Recipe by: Lily Diamond
Fresh corn isn’t just a summer staple. You can enjoy the sweet stuff every season with frozen corn. Toss it with bright butter lettuce, pea shoots, and avocado. Then drizzle on top a lemony, herby yogurt dressing and it’s summer on your plate all-year-round.

Tomato Eggplant Stew Over Parmesan Polenta

Recipe by: Snixy Kitchen
Keep your kernels for salad. Instead grab polenta-style enriched cornmeal to make this tomato eggplant stew with micro arugula. The sweet creamy polenta is a great counterpart to the briny Greek olives, tangy feta, and buttery pine nuts.

Autumn Couscous Salad (pictured below)

Recipe by: FoodieCrush
Say “yes, yes” to this couscous salad consisting of mixed greens, peas or edamame, beets, garbanzo beans, egg slices, and tart cranberries to balance out the fresh blue cheese chunks.






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