Plant-based Grain Bowls- Two Ways


Last Updated on August 24, 2021

Plant-based grain bowls are a simple meal to prepare for busy weeks. They’re loaded with nutrients, and can be customized to your liking throughout the week!

grain bowls

Grain Bowls, 2 ways

Although I don’t meal prep often, I like to batch cook a few things to keep in my fridge to make lunch time easier. Having 2-3 cooked grains, 2 proteins, and a variety of vegetables around make it easy to toss together these simple grain bowls.

The combinations are endless to what you can add in to your bowls, but these two combinations of crispy tofu with brown rice, and black beans & quinoa are two of my favorite ones that are both satisfying and delicious!

grain bowls

Spending about an hour at the beginning of the week or weekend to prepare the ingredients really comes in handy during busy weeks.

Grain bowls are simple to make, highly nutritious, and easily customizable.

vegan grain bowls

How to make grain bowls

To assemble grain bowls of any kind, you can use any combination of ingredients you enjoy. Here are a few things I always make sure to include in my grain bowls:


This one’s an obvious one, but your grain bowl needs a grain! Some of my favorite add-ins are brown or wild rice, quinoa, farro or barley. The grains add a hearty, complex carb that provides nutrients like fiber, and essential B vitamins.


To keep these plant-based, I love adding tofu or any kind of bean. The protein adds that satiating factor to the bowls, and helps complete the meal. Some other options would be tempeh, chicken, or any variety of beans!


The more variety of colors you include, the better. I first choose a base, like lettuce or kale, and add a few different colored vegetables to the top of the bowls


Avocados are usually my go-to fat for grain bowls, since they pair well with just about any flavor combination. They also provide heart-healthy omega 3 fats, and help keep you full


The spicy tahini sauce brings all the flavors together, and is so delicious as a dressing or a dip. Another delicious dressing option would be my green goddess tahini sauce!

Something Crunchy

I love to add a little crunch to my bowls, like pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds

Preparing ahead of time

All of the ingredients can be prepared in advance and assembled when ready to serve. The grains and tofu will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days, and the beans can be rinsed ahead of time and stored for 4 days.

You can chop and prep your veggies and store them in individual containers in the fridge, or assemble them into your bowls so that they’re ready to go!

I suggest keeping your dressing in a separate small container and adding it once you’re ready to eat.

These bowls can be served cold or at room temperature, and are a delicious, nutritious meal prep for the week.

The recipe lists out toppings and veggies I personally like to combine, but feel free to make these your own and add in any combination of ingredients you prefer!

More plant-based recipes you may like:

Buffalo Chickpea Wraps with Vegan Ranch

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

Vegan Lentil Meatballs

Plant-based Grain Bowls- 2 Ways

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Course: Main, Salads


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NOTES: each bowl variation makes 3-4 servings. If you were preparing both options for meal prep, I suggest doubling the tahini recipe!


  • Tofu Bowls
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu

  • 2 tbsp 2 olive oil

  • 2 tbsp 2 coconut aminos

  • 1 tbsp 1 nutritional yeast

  • 1 tbsp 1 tapioca flour

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 salt

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 brown rice, uncooked

  • 4-5 cups shredded kale

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 2 small cucumbers, diced

  • 2 cups 2 shredded purple cabbage

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 pumpkin seeds

  • Black Bean Bowls
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 quinoa, uncooked

  • 3/4 cups 3/4 vegetable broth or water

  • 4-5 cups lettuce

  • 1 can 1 of black beans, rinsed

  • 2 small cucumbers, diced

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 2 cups 2 shredded purple cabbage

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 diced tomatoes

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 slivered almonds

  • Spicy Tahini Sauce
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 tahini (sesame paste)

  • 3 tbsp 3 water

  • 1 clove 1 garlic, crushed

  • 1 tsp 1 sriracha

  • 2 tbsp 2 lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 smoked paprika

  • Or serve these with Green Goddess Tahini Sauce


  • Bake the tofu
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Pat the tofu dry and cut into cubes. Marinate it in the coconut aminos, then gently toss it in a bowl with the tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder.
  • Layer the tofu on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flip the pieces and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Prepare the grains
  • While the tofu bakes, prepare the grains.
  • To cook the brown rice, pour the rice into a pot with 1 tsp of olive oil on medium heat. Toss together for 1 minute to lightly toast the rice, then add 1 1/4 cups of water. Cover the pot, bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for about 40 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit covered for 5-10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and lightly season with salt.
  • To cook the quinoa, add the quinoa and 3/4 cups water or vegetable broth to a medium pot. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat and let it sit covered for 10 more minutes, then fluff with a fork and lightly season with salt.
  • Spicy Tahini
  • To prepare the tahini sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until creamy. You can also double the recipe and add it to a blender cup to blend.
  • Assemble the bowls
  • Once the grains and tofu are ready, assemble your bowls as desired and serve with the spicy tahini sauce.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @somethingnutritious on Instagram- I’d love to see your creations!

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