By Cassie Johnston
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Call them grain bowls. Call them Buddha bowls. Call them macro bowls. Call them power bowls. I don’t care what you call them, just as long as you are making and eating them!
Grain bowls are exactly what they sound like—a base of healthy whole grains in a bowl with all kinds of delicious, nutritious toppings. When done well, a grain bowl is a beautiful quilt of textures, colors, and flavors that is an absolute joy to bite into. Typically, grain bowls are improvised. Sure, there are recipes out there for them (hello, Cauliflower and Quinoa Power Bowls), but the beauty and fun of grain bowls is how free you are to experiment with your meal.
Today, I’m partnering up with the awesome folks from Tasty Bite (more on them in a sec!) to teach you how to make your own (improvised) grain bowl. I’m going to teach you to fish by giving you the exact formula I use when I craft awesome and tasty grain bowls. Follow this method, and I promise you’re going to end up with something delicious in your bowl.
What’s a grain bowl without grains? You’ll want a nice base of healthy hearty whole grains as the foundation to your bowls. Feel free to experiment here. Use leftover rice from dinner last night. Cook up some farro. Sometimes, I even roast potatoes and consider them my “grain.” Anything hearty, starchy, and carb-tastic will work.
Some options to try: Brown or white rice, farro, quinoa, steel cut oats, wheat berries, polenta/grits, roasted potatoes.
Oftentimes, the grain part is actually what takes the longest when it comes to making grain bowls (hi, brown rice, why you gotta take 45 minutes to cook?). So pretty frequently, I take a shortcut here and use pre-cooked whole grains from Tasty Bite. You just heat them up in the microwave (or for those of us who are microwave-less, on the stove), and you save a ton of kitchen prep time. Tasty Bite also has some amazing flavored rices that add such an awesome layer of flavor to your grain bowls—the Basil Chili Rice is one of my faves.
There are a lot of brands of precooked whole grains out there, but I really think Tasty Bite is on a whole other level. All their products contain only “real” ingredients—no preservatives or additives—just recognizable food. And their company is dedicated to social responsibility.
Tasty Bite does a lot of work with disaster relief organizations (because their products require no refrigeration, they are perfect for disaster supplies). They also use sustainable farming practices and renewable energy to produce their products .
Even though all of this is awesome (it so is!), my favorite thing Tasty Bite has done is the Tasty Bite Good Seed Program—it appeals right to my gardener’s heart! They gave away 50,000 free vegetable seed packets and asked folks to plant the seeds and donate the crop to a local food pantry through AmpleHarvest.org.
To keep the good mojo going, Tasty Bite is giving away a YEAR SUPPLY of their products to one person who posts about their crop donation on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #GoodSeed. You don’t have to use the Tasty Bite seeds if you weren’t able to snag a pack—grab whatever seeds you can, grow a crop (lettuce or radishes grow fast!), and then snap a pic when you go to donate them to your local food pantry.
And even better, for every picture tagged #GoodSeed, Tasty Bite is donating $10 (up to $10,000) to AmpleHarvest.org. So basically, you can do good while you’re doing good doing good.
Tasty Bite is a company I feel really great about sharing my kitchen with! And they help make my grain bowl prep so much faster and easier!
If you’re a fan of eggs, I will say that a perfectly poached egg on top of a grain bowl is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. It checks off both the protein requirement and the sauce requirement from step four. Yum. Here are some other ideas:
Now would also be a good time to add in any additional flavors that might tickle your fancy. Like:
Don’t forget: we eat with all of our senses—eyes included! In a strange way, I feel like taking the time to plate up my meals nicely and garnish them is an act of self-care. It’s like saying, “I am worthy of nice things!” in a small way each time I eat a meal. And that’s my perfect formula for rocking a grain bowl! If you want to learn more about Tasty Bite, you can check them out on Facebook or Instagram—and look for the bright yellow pouch the next time you’re in your grocer’s international food aisle.
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I love how easy it is to personalize these. The chili basil rice looks amazing! What an interesting combo.
I should’ve taken a picture, but I made myself a bowl at work for lunch today because of this post! It’s “Taco Tuesday” at work so they have all the fixings for a burrito bowl. I just made it my own with rice, black beans, chicken, queso sauce (yum!), then added roasted veggies, tomatoes, guac, pico de gallo and zuccini.
Thanks for the post!
I could eat bowls all day err day! Thanks for the info on Tasty Bite’s philanthropic work, that’s really cool (and it’s impressive that I just read a sponsored post that got me interested in a company rather than annoyed, so kudos to you).
I’m always worried about how much food to put in them… (my eyes are bigger than my stomach)… do you have any tips on how to measure/portion out everything so you don’t overdo it?
How I do it: put WAY less of each item in the bowl than you think you want. Just a little, tiny bit. You can always build another bowl!
This looks so good! I think I’ll have to throw some of these together for dinner tomorrow!
Also I’m really glad you talked so much about the rice packs… I usually just roll my eyes, but I’m so glad to hear about all the good things the company stands for. I can support that type of company!
We’re in the midst of redesigning our patient menu at the hospital and our signature item is going to be a build-your-own grain bowl! Love seeing your ingredients for inspiration!
That’s so cool!
These look so great! I love grain bowls! Its my easy dinner recipe that looks so pretty and fools me into not feeling like the laziest person around town.
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