I’m a big fan of meal prep, and my go-to option for prepping ahead is usually some sort of grain bowl. I like the versatility of grain bowls because you can really add whatever you have in the fridge and sounds tasty. [Related: Meal Prep Tips & 3-Day Meal Plan For Vegetarian Athletes]
But I tend to use the same combination of flavors all the time. So to change things up a bit, I asked from Registered Dietitian friends to share their grain bowl recipes. But before we get into the list of awesome vegetarian grain bowls, let’s chat a little bit about building your own.
How to build a healthy grain bowl from scratch
I have a simple formula that I follow when building a grain bowl. It’s not always precise, but it goes something like this:
½ -1 cup grains + 1-2 cups veggies + a source of vegetarian protein + sauce
Simple enough, right?
For the grains, opt for a whole grain because it has more protein and fiber than a refined grain. That means it keeps you fuller longer and helps with digestion and muscle growth. Here are some options:
- Brown rice
The veggies can be raw or cooked. Use whatever you have on hand. I like to prepare whatever veggie is in season because they taste great and are more affordable. Check out this list for seasonal vegetables.
There are so many vegetarian protein sources that taste great in grain bowls, such as:
To learn more about vegetarian protein sources, check out these articles:
- How Athletes Can Get Plenty of Protein On A Meat-Free Diet
- 10+ Best Recovery Foods For Vegetarian Athletes
- The Best Vegan Proteins For Athletes
- How Much Protein Do Plant-Based Athletes Need?
Lastly, the sauce is what makes the meal. Without a good sauce, your grain bowl will be dry and unappetizing. There are so many healthy sauce recipes on the internet, but here are just a few options:
- Walnut Romesco Sauce
- Maple Syrup Pesto
- Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- Dill Yogurt Sauce
- Creamy BBQ Sauce
- Miso Dressing
- Tahini Lemon Dressing
13 Healthy Vegetarian & Vegan Grain Bowl Recipes
If you would rather use a recipe than create your own grain bowl, you’re in luck. These 13 vegetarian and vegan grain bowl recipes were created by Registered Dietitians. In other words, they are healthy, easy to make and delicious.
1. Moroccan Chickpea Bowl Recipe by Kara Lydon
Cauliflower is coated in a mixture of warming spices in this grain bowl and combined with chickpeas, quinoa, carrots, feta and hummus. This recipe is not only packed with plant-based protein, it’s sure to be a hit with your tastebuds!
2. Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad by Nutrition à la Natalie
This simple Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Recipe has a unique combination of sweet and salty flavors. Made with bulgur wheat, dates, pistachios, olives and red onion and topped with lemon juice and olive oil, this salad has tons of flavor and texture.
3. Spring Green Quinoa Bowl by Lively Table
We could all use a little more green veggies in our life, and this delicious bowl delivers just that. A nutritious Spring Green Quinoa Bowl is Brussels sprouts, asparagus and avocado over quinoa and topped with an oozing poached egg!
4. Southwestern Quinoa Power Bowl by Nutrition à la Natalie
This Southwestern Quinoa Power Bowl has a little bit of everything– sweet potatoes, black beans, crunchy veggies, hearty protein and a tangy dressing. It’s perfect for vegan meal prepping!
5. Black Bean Quinoa Salad by Live Best
6. Vegan Sushi Bowl by Nutrition à la Natalie
Have sushi at home with this vegan sushi bowl filled with quinoa, edamame, avocado, carrots, cucumber and a miso dressing. Not only does it have plant-based protein and healthy fats, but it’s cheaper and healthier than take-out!
7. Thai Quinoa Salad with Peanut Miso Dressing by Leanne Ray
Mason jar salads are the best way to take your grain bowl on the go. This version has a delicious peanut miso dressing and combines crunchy raw veggies with protein-packed quinoa.
8. Greek Lentil Power Bowl with Creamy Yogurt Dill Dressing by Nutrition à la Natalie
This Greek Lentil Power Bowl combines all the flavors of a Greek salad with a few extras. All you need are lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, chickpeas and feta to whip this up, and don’t forget to add the creamy dill yogurt dressing.
9. Vegan Grain Bowl with Pesto by Kelly Jones Nutrition
If you’re a pesto lover, this grain bowl is for you! It has just 5 ingredients and is so incredibly quick to make. This is a great option for vegans who are looking to add more flavor to their grain bowls!
10. Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lime Dressing by Nutrition à la Natalie
A light refreshing quinoa salad with healthy ingredients, like black beans and radish. Topped with a sweet and tangy honey lime dressing!
11. Mediterranean Edamame Quinoa Bowl by Sharon Palmer
This Mediterranean Edamame Quinoa Bowl is an explosion of plant-based flavors in your mouth. With tomatoes, edamame, olives, onions, quinoa, cucumbers, greens and a flavorful Mediterranean vinaigrette, you’ll be eating this plant-based bowl on repeat.
12. Farro Caprese Grain Bowl by Nutrition à la Natalie
Turn a caprese salad into a grain bowl with farro, roasted tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. A super simple vegetarian grain bowl ready in 20-minutes!
13. Cauliflower Buffalo Rice Bowl by Nutrition à la Natalie
This simple yet luxurious bowl brings together two favorites– buffalo cauliflower and rice. It’s topped with a delicious homemade herby yogurt sauce, making it the perfect option for a packed lunch or a simple make-ahead dinner.