I love a grain bowl for lunch with all the delicious dips and sauces on top! This Mediterranean grain bowl recipe is a copycat of my favorites from Cava and Mezeh enjoyed at home.
Grain Bowls For Lunch!
My very favorite lunch spots are Mediterranean quick service restaurants that feature salads and grain bowls and a choose-your-own adventure toppings bar packed with dips. Cava and Mezeh are two of the best. Man oh man I love for the Turkish yogurt dip and roasted eggplant at Mezeh, and the dressings at Cava are so delish! This Mediterranean grain bowl recipe is inspired by those bowls.
Mediterranean Grain Bowl Recipe
The grain bowl recipe is perfect as a prep day meal. I used a quinoa buckwheat blend that I made in my rice cooker the night before. When it was lunch time I simply warmed the grains, added greens and toppings, and topped it with dips and dressing. Like the Panera Mediterranean bowl, this recipe calls for a lemon tahini dressing. You can make that in advance too!
In addition to being easy to assemble, you can mix and match toppings based on what you have on hand. Use anything you have in your pantry – from kalamata olives in a jar to canned artichoke hearts or hearts of palm to roasted red peppers. For toppings go with something red, a bell pepper or tomatoes when in season, and something green, such as cucumber, avocado, and fresh parsley.
Grain Bowl Nutrition
I love a 50/50 ratio of grains to greens. You get the fresh healthy salad nutrition with the warming lasting energy from the grain side. Perfect for chilly days when an ice cold salad is out of the question. The toppings bring in antioxidants, healthy fats, and flavor. Healthy fats come from avocado and olives (if using), carbs and protein from quinoa, and protein from feta, hummus, and yogurt-based tzatziki dip. Antioxidants abound from herbs, greens, and veggies.
How To Make Your Mediterranean Grain Bowl
Grain Bowl Ingredients
- Quinoa – I used a blend of red and white quinoa with buckwheat mixed in
- Cucumber – peel and slice
- Red bell pepper – chopped or sliced
- Canned artichokes, drained
- Avocado – sliced
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Tzatziki dip
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Lemon Tahini Dressing Ingredients
- Tahini – I like Whole Foods brand because it’s on the thinner side
- Lemon – a big juicy one or two small ones
- Warm water, to thin the dressing out
- Garlic – use garlic powder if you don’t want dragon breath!
- Salt and pepper
I like to grate my garlic on a zester so there are no chunks. A garlic press is great too, or you can mince (very well). In a bowl, juice the lemon and remove seeds. Then whisk in tahini, water, and garlic. Go scant on the warm water and slowly add a little more until you reach “drizzle” texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Warm grains and add greens
If you haven’t made your grains yet, start with that and cook per package directions. If you have, warm the grains and fill the other have of your serving bowl with greens.
Assemble the bowls
Add red peppers, cucumbers, artichokes, and avocado.
Add dips and cheese
Go heavy on the tzatziki. Trust me! A little smoked paprika on the hummus is nice too.
Drizzle dressing and sprinkle on parsley
Season with salt and pepper!
Mix it all up!!
You know no one actually eats the bowl arranged so beautifully. Mix it all up and get a little of everything in every bite!
Mediterranean Grain Bowl Tips
Swap your grains
Feel free to use farro or brown rice instead of quinoa. Couscous is great too! You could even turn this into a pasta salad.
I find grain bowls pretty filling without added protein on top (because I add so many toppings!) but if you want, grilled chicken, salmon, or sardines would all be good pairings! Lentils and chickpeas would go well too.
Prep ahead and store in the fridge
Keep the dressing in a jar with a tight lid and use on salads all week. You might have to add a little more warm water to make it pourable again.
2-4x the recipe
Make extra quinoa to double or triple the recipe. You’ll have plenty of dressing and dips.
Serve as a toppings bar
If you have picky eaters (ahem, children), put the ingredients in serving bowls and let each diner assemble their own bowl!
Buy pre-made hummus + tzatziki
Take a short cut and buy your hummus and tzatziki already prepared. I loved the two below that I found at Whole Foods.
Also try: Quick & Easy Mediterranean Salad Bowls
Mediterranean Grain Bowl Recipe
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/4 cup sliced cucumber
- 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup canned artichokes
- 1/4 avocado sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 2 tbsp hummus
- 2 tbsp tzatziki
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup warm water to thin out
- 1 clove of garlic grated or minced
- Salt + pepper
- Make dressing. In a bowl juice lemon and whisk in tahini, water, and garlic. Go scant on the warm water and slowly add a little more until you reach "drizzle" texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Make quinoa according to package (or warm if you prepared in advance.)
- Assemble bowls with half quinoa, half greens.
- Add red peppers, cucumbers, artichokes, and avocado.
- Top with hummus, tzatziki and feta.
- Drizzle on dressing.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley.