WHAT I EAT: Quick & Easy Grain Bowls

You may have noticed ‘bowl’ meals popping up at some of your favorite lunch, dinner, and even breakfast spots. The vegetarian or vegan version of these bowls are often called Grain bowls and they consist of some type of whole grain (such as brown rice, farro or quinoa); vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, onions); a plant protein (such as chick peas, tofu or tempeh); and some type of sauce (such as vegan pesto, vegan balsamic vinaigrette, vegan caesar dressing, soy sauce, etc.).

A Grain bowl has become my favorite go to vegan meal for lunch, dinner and even brunch, like my grits, vegan eggs and sweet potato/vegan sausage hash picture above. I like using Miyokos butter in my grits and my go to egg substitute is Just Egg. For the hash, I sautée 2 cloves of chopped fresh garlic in olive oil for about 2 min, and then add chopped onions, red peppers, and cubed vegan sausage (I like Beyond Sausage hot Italian). Stir often while cooking on medium heat for about 8 minutes. I like to add a side of sauteed garlic spinach for extra vitamins.

For lunch or dinner, the preparation is just a bit easier. For the vegetables, I usually toss all of the veggies I want in a little olive oil (don’t soak them!), put them on a large baking sheet, add seasoning and just roast them in the oven at about 350 degrees until they are as done as you like. Season and sautée some chick peas until crispy. Add those chick peas and veggies to a little cooked grain and top with some sauce and get ready to dig in!

One of my fav lunch or dinner combinations consist of Brussells sprouts, onions, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms (sometimes I soak the mushrooms in a balsamic marinade before roasting) and chick peas.. I like finishing it with a few spoonfuls of vegan pesto sauce.  (And don’t use white rice. Just throw it out. Instead use grains that pack high nutritional value)

The beauty of this is it’s easy and quick and you can turn it into a completely different meal with a few simple changes. For example, take the same rice, protein and veggies listed above, but switch out the pesto for soy sauce  and/or a spicy garlic chili sauce and you’ll have my second fav bowl combo. 

Want a soul food bowl? Just cook up vegan versions of some collards, black eyed peas, roasted sweet potatoes pieces and add to a bowl of brown rice (top with hot sauce and a piece of vegan cornbread on the side) Baaaaay Beeee!!!! 

Want to make it Mexican… think of what you like in your fav burrito or taco, put it over rice and add some guacamole and salsa. 
If you want to watch your carbs, skip the grain and just do the veggies and sauce or use cauliflower rice. And if you want a meat like texture, consider tofu, seitan, or plant based versions of sausage, meatballs or ground meat.

What’s not to love about a Grain bowl?? 
Southern barbecue, Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, Italian, Ethiopian or breakfast … the possibilities are endless and most importantly, EASY! 

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