I absolutely love the flavors of a classic caprese salad—you can’t beat vine-ripened tomatoes, peppery fresh basil, and creamy fresh mozzarella. Top it with a balsamic drizzle, and I’m a happy girl!
But as much as I love it, sometimes a simple caprese salad just isn’t quite filling enough to be a meal on its own. So I fixed that by turning the flavors of caprese into a fresh and filling meal prep grain bowl! When you add in cooked grains (I like quinoa) and chopped cooked chicken (this is a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken), you get a perfectly filling meal prep lunch!
What exactly is a grain bowl?
A grain bowl is exactly what it sounds like—a bowl filled with hearty grains and topped with delicious and nourishing mix-ins. Grain bowls are perfectly suited for meal prep, making them an easy option for lunch or dinner.
You can always switch up your grains or mix-ins so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same meal every time. Grain bowls offer tons of flexibility. They can easily be put together assembly-line style with ingredients stored in the fridge, and tossed together in just a few minutes! Assemble your grain bowl the night before for a healthy work lunch or dinner the next day. Learn more about making the perfect grain bowl in our comprehensive How to Make Awesome Grain Bowls article.
How do you make this Caprese Chicken Quinoa Bowl?
To make this Caprese Chicken Grain Bowl, you layer just a handful of ingredients in a bowl or a glass food storage container.
- Quinoa (rice, farro, and millet are other delicious options for this recipe)
- Fresh mozzarella
- Cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken or our Fall Apart Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe work really well!)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Italian Dressing or Balsamic Vinaigrette
Can I prep this chicken quinoa bowl ahead of time?
You sure can! In fact, this recipe is made for meal prep! You can easily assemble grain bowls for the week over the weekend, and then just pull out each pre-packed container in the morning before you head to work, or in the evenings for a quick dinner. It’s as simple as layering all the ingredients in a food storage container and stashing it in the fridge.
If you do plan on prepping ahead, just keep in mind that fresh basil oxidizes and goes brown as soon as it is cut. This doesn’t impact the flavor, but it doesn’t look the most appetizing. If you prefer, you can place whole basil leaves in the container, and then just tear them or cut them into the bowl right before serving.
How far in advance can I make these?
These bowls will last in the fridge for at least five days (and maybe more)! I like to make them on Sunday evening to get me through an entire work week.
Can you use rotisserie chicken for these chicken quinoa bowls?
You sure can! In fact, these bowls are a perfect use for any leftover rotisserie chicken you have around.
What’s the best salad dressing for these bowls?
I like to use either my Italian Dressing or my Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, but any store-bought Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrette will do the trick! I store mine in these leakproof stainless steel dip containers, so the dressing is ready to pour when I’m ready to eat.
Do you eat these bowls hot or cold?
I prefer to eat these bowls cold—I like a delicious chilled grain salad—but if you want to warm them up, a few seconds in the microwave will yield you a gooey, cheesy, warm grain bowl that will warm you from the inside out!