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Mix & Match Grain Salad Bowl Recipes

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that hands-down my favorite lunch is a grain salad bowl – basically salad greens + a grain + a canned bean + some veggies and sauce all mixed together. The grain salad bowl recipes and combinations are endless, so you can mix & match and never get bored, plus it requires no pre-prep and only a few minutes to throw together. You’re also covered on all nutritional bases, so the meal is satisfying, too: fiber-packed whole grains and colorful veggies, plant-based protein, and healthy fats! I thought it was time to share a fun post with some of my favorite grain salad bowl recipes and combinations to give you guys some lunch (or easy dinner) inspiration. So – here’s my formula, so that you can make your own Mix & Match Grain Salad Bowls, too!

grain salad bowl recipes mix and match

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Mix + Match Grain Salad Bowl Recipes

1. Start with Greens

Start by filling your bowl (or packable container) with two big handfuls of greens. Mixed greens, spinach, arugula, and kale are my favorites – but any lettuce or leafy green will work!

how to make grain salad bowls

step by step grain salad bowls

2. Add Grains

Add 1/2 cup cooked whole grains to your salad. I like using microwave plain brown rice or leftover grains from dinner to keep this fast and easy. You can also cook up a batch of brown rice, quinoa, barley, or any other whole grain to use in salads for the week, though!

easy grain salad bowl recipes

mix and match grain salad bowls

3. Add Beans or Legumes

Add in 1/2 cup of cooked beans or legumes. If you’re using canned beans (which I always do – so easy!), just drain and rinse your beans before adding them in. I especially love chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and frozen/thawed edamame here. Beans are packed with protein and fiber, so this is a great way to give the meal staying power without needing to have meat on hand.

easy lunches with canned beans

easy vegetarian grain salad bowls

4. Top with Veggies

Top your salad with lots of chopped veggies! You can use whatever you have around – cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, snap peas, peppers, green beans, mushrooms, the list goes on and on.

how to make an easy healthy lunch

easy health lunch salad bowl recipes

5. Sprinkle on Healthy Fats

Adding healthy fats to your salads makes them much more satisfying – and can add lots of flavor and texture. Pretty much any crumbled or grated cheese or chopped nut is delicious on salad, and avocado tastes good on everything. ;)

lunch healthy fats

healthy mix and match salad bowls

6. Dress it Up

Dressing is such a fun way to get creative with your salad flavors. Most days I keep it super simple by drizzling on a homemade vinaigrette (just oil + lemon juice + dijon mustard + balsamic or red wine vinegar), but again, your options are endless here! Try out these ideas:

  • 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 clove grated garlic (optional) – shaken up in a small jar
  • 1 heaping spoonful salsa
  • 1 heaping spoonful hummus
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce, 1 clove grated garlic – shaken up in a small jar (this has a fun Asian flair)
  • Vegan Caesar Dressing (make a batch to have on hand for the week!)
  • Vegan Creamy Herb Dressing (make a batch to have on hand for the week!)

healthy salad dressing recipes

how to make grain salad bowls

There you have it! I love how flavorful and filling these bowls are, and it’s so easy to change up the flavors.

Now, to put this into action and give you some ideas, here are a few of my favorite combinations (which were pictured in the steps above)!

  • Mixed greens + brown rice + black beans + peppers & tomatoes + avocado + salsa

mexican grain salad bowl

  • Arugula + quinoa + chickpeas + cucumber & tomato + feta cheese + lemon juice/balsamic/olive oil/dijon mustard

Mediterranean grain salad bowl

  • Kale + brown rice + edamame + carrots & cucumbers & snap peas + toasted almonds + rice vinegar/soy sauce/sesame oil/garlic

asian grain salad bowl

  • Spinach + barley + lentils + cucumber & tomato & carrot + goat cheese + lemon/olive oil/dijon mustard/garlic

lentil grain salad bowl

Check out these other build-your-own recipes and tips on creating fast healthy meals!

What are your favorite grain salad bowl recipes or combinations? Let me know in the comments below!

Comments

  1. 1

    Yay! This is exactly how I eat lunch too. My sister was asking me for lunch ideas last month and I told her about the grain salad “recipe” but I’m definitely going to send her this post, she will love it!

  2. 3

    my favorite is:
    mixed greens (or baby kale blend, if it’s on sale!) + black or cannellini beans + sauerkraut + salsa. then add, depending on whats on hand, baked tofu, brown or black rice, and roasted veggies. tahini or hummus+ lemon juice for dressing/sauce :)
    i like using fresh salsa and kraut because it adds a lot of easy veggies! and the kraut i buy is mixed veggie (cabbage + carrots + kale + seaweed)

    • 4

      Oh yes, sauerkraut is definitely a fave of mine too, but I’ve never tried it mixed with salsa – interesting! Will try that soon! :)

  3. 5

    I do something similiar for salads/bowls for lunch during the week- one easy way I bulk up the veggies (without any chopping) is using a bag of broccoli slaw or cabbage. I need to try adding lentils, I usually do quinoa or tuna.

  4. 7

    Yummo, I have salads like this at least a couple times a week, sometimes I will add in turkey or chicken, or use slaw mix instead of lettuce greens, just to mix it up.

  5. 9

    THIS IS AWESOME! Having the step-by-step guide with photos and examples is amazing. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try each of these.

  6. 11

    Mmm so good! This will be the perfect dinner for the hot days ahead too! I think meals in bowls are my favorites haha!

  7. 13

    I make bowls similar to these! I usually don’t do grains and I do beans, avocado, hummus, berries and ALL the veggies. Or I will add cauliflower rice to them too! I bought a big mason jar so that I can stuff it all in there and bring it to work!

  8. 14

    Looks so good – thank you for sharing!
    Izzy | Pinch of delight

  9. 15

    Love this! My absolute go-to (which I make each week x4) is spinach, brown rice, roasted broccoli, edamame, avocado + lemon wedge, scallions and Trader Joe’s soyaki dressing on top. So good that I don’t get sick of eating it basically every day for lunch, and my BF likes it too so it’s easy to make in bulk prep.

  10. 17
    Roadrunner says:

    These look terrific, thanks! You need to go into business and sell these somehow!

  11. 19

    My favorite is the Arugula + quinoa + chickpeas + cucumber & tomato + feta cheese + lemon juice/balsamic/olive oil/dijon mustard. My daughter love chickpeas and my other daughter love olive oil and feta cheese and I personally love quinoa. So there a bit for everyone in the family ;) . Anne, this is a great way of sharing what you know and for healthy food. I am going to get some nice salad bowls at lunchtime especially that it is going to be really warm here today. I live in southern Europe so I can tell you that salads are always welcome.

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