My Mediterranean Grain Bowl recipe is perfect for a light dinner or meal prepped in advance for healthy lunches. They are absolutely filled with flavor thanks to the kalamata olives, feta cheese and lemon salad dressing.
Whole grains, legumes and fresh vegetables are hero'd in the Mediterranean diet. This warm grain bowl has brown rice and quinoa along with quintessential Mediterranean flavors from olives, feta, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice. You absolutely could make these bowls with hearty farro or freekah, however I opted to use brown rice and quinoa to keep them gluten free.
What's to Love About Mediterranean Grain Bowls
- healthy fats - extra virgin olive oil provides unsaturated fatty acids as well as polyphenols, which contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system and nervous system.
- a complete meal - this plant-based meal provides all of the amino acids to create a complete protein thanks to the quinoa and chickpeas.
- lots of vegetables - with a combination of lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumber, each bowl provides an abundance of vegetables.
- great for meal prep - easily meal prep these bowls for fresh and healthy lunches throughout the work week and perfect to add to your weekly meal plan.
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
All of the ingredients in this vegetarian grain bowl can be found at your local grocery store. They are a great way of getting in a host of nutrients from fresh vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. They are some of my favorite ingredients and I know you're going to love them to! I've listed any ingredients that you will need below along with any notes possible swaps. For the ingredient quantities see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- baby gem lettuce - you can also use Romaine lettuce (also known as cos lettuce) or iceburg lettuce. Other leafy greens like baby spinach or arugula would work well in these bowls as well.
- cherry tomatoes - I prefer to use a medley of yellow, red and black cherry tomatoes but just use what is available to you.
- continental cucumber - you can easily swap continental cucumber for Lebanese cucumber. I prefer these two varieties as you don't need to peel them or remove their seeds.
- Kalamata olives - if you're not a fan of olives then you can also use marinated artichoke hearts (yum!) or capers (also yum!). You can also use different varieties of green or black olives if you have a preference - I also love using Sicilian olives in this recipe.
- Greek feta - I prefer Greek feta in this recipe as it is firm. A soft feta like Danish feta or goat cheese would work fine for these healthy grain bowls.
- chickpeas - also known as garbanzo beans. Chickpeas are an excellent source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein.
- brown rice - I like to use brown rice in this recipe to boost the fiber content. It also has a lovely, nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture, which is really yummy in this recipe. You can swap for white rice if you prefer.
- quinoa - quinoa is absolutely my favorite grain - it is highly nutritious and provides a complete protein (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids).
- sea salt flakes
- fresh dill - you could also use other fresh herbs like basil, flat leaf parsley or lemon thyme.
For the dressing:
I've used my lemon herb dressing for this recipe as it goes perfectly! If you would like to try a different dressing then I would recommend trying my Wholegrain Mustard Dressing, Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing or my Lemon Dijon Dressing. To make the lemon herb dressing you will need:
- lemon juice (fresh)
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh herbs like fresh parsley or dill
- sea salt & pepper
- dijon mustard
For extra flavor, I would recommend adding:
- Quick Pickled Red Onions or fresh sliced red onion
- Use Crispy Chickpeas instead of regular chickpeas
- Top with my Creamy Hummus or my Dairy Free Tzatziki
- Pine nuts
How to Make Your Own Mediterranean Grain Bowls
You know I love an easy recipe and this grain bowl is no different. I mean, not only is it easy but it tastes amazing AND loads you up with extra vegetables. It's one of those delicious meals that I just keep coming back to (especially in the warmer months). Follow my easy step-by-step instructions to make the perfect bowls.
First, add the brown rice and quinoa to a large saucepan. Cover with water and rinse thoroughly. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and then return the rice and quinoa to the saucepan. This is to help to remove saponins from the quinoa, which can inhibit nutrient absorption.
Add the water to the saucepan and place the saucepan on the stovetop on a high heat. Bring to a boil until at least three quarters of the water has been absorbed. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer with the lid on, until most of the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, leaving the lid on so that the rice and quinoa continue to steam. This takes around 20 minutes.
While the grains are steaming, prepare your vegetables by halving the cherry tomatoes, dicing the cucumber and thinly slicing the lettuce. Cut the feta into cubes.
Next, make your dressing. Add the lemon juice, finely chopped herbs, dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Start slowly pouring in the olive oil, whisking as you go. Continue whisking until all of the olive oil is mixed in and the dressing is smooth and well combined.
To assemble the bowls, divide the rice and quinoa mixture, while still warm, between four bowls. Top with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, feta, olives and dill. Add any optional extra toppings now if desired. Drizzle each bowl with the lemon dressing and serve.
Meal Prep Tip
If you are meal prepping these bowls, divide all of the elements between four airtight containers. Divide salad dressing between four dressing containers and one into each Mediterranean bowl container. Place the lid on and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. They will last longer if your vegetables are super fresh.
- Large saucepan
- Chopping Board
- Sharp knife
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 teaspoon sea salt finely ground
- 4 cups gem lettuce washed and sliced
- 1 large continental cucumber diced
- 300 grams cherry tomatoes halved
- 50 grams Greek feta cheese cubed
- 1 cup kalamata olives pitted
- 425 grams canned chickpeas strained and rinsed
- Fresh dill
- 60 mL olive oil extra virgin
- 40 mL lemon juice fresh
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- Add the brown rice and quinoa to a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Soak for ten minutes and then rinse under water until the water runs almost clear. Strain the brown rice and quinoa and return to the pan along with 3 ½ cups water and a teaspoon sea salt. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and boil until at least three quarters of the water has been absorbed. Reduce the heat, place the lid on and allow to a simmer until the remaining water has been absorbed. This all takes around 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on to steam. After ten minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
- While the rice is cooking, make the salad dressing. Add all of the salad dressing ingredients into a jar. Place the lid on firmly and shake vigorously to combine.
- To assemble the bowls, divide the cooked rice and quinoa between four bowls. Top with lettuce, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta, olives, fresh dill and chickpeas.
- Drizzle each grain bowl with dressing and serve straight away.