THE GREAT GRAIN BOWL
The grain bowl has seen a surge in popularity the past couple of years – and for good reason! They look beautiful with all of the different composed ingredients and are generally quite good for you. Occasionally you can find yourself in a grain bowl rut (I’ve been there!), but I usually find that by switching up my grain routine and always cooking my grains in something other than water (I like to use broth), I’m able to quickly switch things up and maintain my undying love for this staple in my diet.
Other grain bowl rules that I swear by are always to have a good sauce or dressing to bring all your flavors together. I also tend to follow this very informal formula for a delicious and tasty bowl every time:
GREENS + GRAINS + PROTEIN + CRUNCH + CHEESE + DRESSING
MASON JAR SALADS
I’ve been a fan of mason jar salads for years and have recently started applying my love for grain bowls to this easy method of making grain bowls in advance. It’s not rocket science, but might provide an “ah-ha!” moment for you. I always assemble things by starting with my dressing in the bottom of the jar, then I’ll layer my grains, protein, crunchy vegetables, cheese, and greens on top. It’s so nice to make a few of these in advance and keep them in my fridge as I find myself wanting to reach for a healthy lunch or dinner.
TOOLS FOR SUCCESS
When it comes to grain bowls, investing in a grain cooker was a game changer for me. I love mine SO MUCH. When it comes to building my grain bowls in a mason jar, this is my favorite size to use. I’ve also become a huge fan of this Rubbermaid Brilliance Lunch Kit!
Spiced Sweet Potato Bowl with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing
Yield 4 servings
These Spiced Sweet Potato Grain Bowls have just a hint of spice. When tossed with a Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing it creates the perfect balance of flavors all wrapped up into one bowl.
Spiced Sweet Potato Bowl
- 2 cups diced peeled sweet potatoes (about ¾ lb.)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons chili lime seasoning
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, warm
- 4 ounces baby kale, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 large roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup sweet & spicy pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- 4 lime wedges
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Cilantro Avocado Lime Dressing
- ¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 avocado, pitted
- ¼ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
- 1 small-medium jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine sweet potatoes, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and chili lime seasoning in a bowl; toss to coat. Transfer to a lined sheet tray and bake until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring potatoes once halfway through. Remove pan from oven.
Divide quinoa among 4 bowls; top evenly with kale, sweet potatoes, and roasted red peppers. Drizzle with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing; top evenly with pecans, Cotija, and avocado. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.
In a small food processor or blender, combine the lime juice, olive oil, and water. Add the avocado then the cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, and salt. Process until the dressing is nice and smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, blending until desired consistency is reached.