GRAIN BOWL LOVE
We can’t seem to make enough Grain Bowls around here! They’re a “good for you” meal that is easily adapted to what you have on hand and they’re a nice fit for either lunch or dinner. Lately it’s been my go-to option when I don’t have something planned in advance. I seem to always have some sort of greens and grains on hand, from there I can pull together a few different ingredients from my fridge and pantry to make a meal. This combo is my current favorite: Honeycrisp apples, white cheddar (@beechers forever!), avocado, pecans, chicken, wild rice, and kale. Tossed with a creamy balsamic dressing…it’s perfection! You’ll find a few tips below on how to pull together a winning combo every time.
REALLY GOOD GRAINS
Get creative with your grains. Think beyond quinoa and brown rice. I particularly love farro for its nutty flavor and chewy texture. Barley is another favorite grain along with a wild rice blend that I pick up regularly from Trader Joes. Don’t rule out pasta either – my kids go crazy for orzo, so that’s another easy option. When it comes to cooking your grains try reaching for something with more flavor than water. I like to use low-sodium chicken or veggie broth – it really packs a punch when it comes to flavor and creates a nice hearty base for your bowl. If I’m really on top of things, I’ll cook off a big batch of grains on a Sunday and reach for them throughout the week. Any chance to eliminate a step for a mid-week meal…I’ll take it!
Greens + Grains + Protein + Veggies + Sauce + Crunch = SUCCESS! This is formula I stick to when making my grain bowls. While some of these ingredients are obvious, others like sauce and crunch are just as crucial. A good sauce can take your grain bowl from good to great in a snap. I like to have a few favorites on hand so I can easily mix things up. Thinking beyond a standard vinaigrette, I like having yogurt based dressings, peanut sauce, harissa, and pesto on hand. When it comes to that crunch, it’s crucial to have some textural variety. Think of toasted nuts, seeds, or even crushed pita chips. Finally, I almost always throw some type of cheese on top to really seal the deal!
Apple Cheddar Grain Bowl
Yield 4 servings
- 4 cups wild rice, cooked
- 4 cups kale, chopped
- 4 cups sliced or shredded chicken, cooked (from 1 rotisserie chicken)
- 1-2 large Honeycrisp apples, diced
- 1-3 avocados, sliced and seasoned with salt & pepper
- Creamy Balsamic Dressing, recipe follows
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar, cubed
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- kosher salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
For bowl: Divide rice among 4 bowls; top evenly with kale, chicken, apples, and avocado. Drizzle with creamy balsamic dressing top evenly with cheddar and pecans.
For dressing: Combine vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil until well combined. Stir in yogurt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.