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One Grain Bowl, Hundreds of Sweet or Savory Meals

by Lentine Alexis
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4.12/5 (17)
One Grain Bowl, Hundreds of Sweet or Savory Meals

The secret is out: Healthy, hearty grain bowls are the stuff breakfast, lunch and dinner dreams are made of. Grounding, satisfying grains topped with delicious ingredients in a combination that keeps you feeling energized all day is something we all want.

It doesn’t require a refrigerator full of ingredients, a pantry full of grains or a bag of tricks to master a perfect grain bowl, whether you like them sweet or savory. All you need is a great, umami-laced recipe to serve as a solid base, no matter which flavor direction you choose to go: apples, almond butter and bee pollen for breakfast or sesame, kale and poached eggs for dinner — the possibilities are endless.

Below is our favorite recipe for a versatile grain base that works with both sweet and savory toppings, and is quick and easy. If you have a rice cooker, you’ll find it’s your best friend here because you can cook the grains while you’re away at work or even while you’re sleeping so you come home to (or wake up to!) a delicious meal ready to eat. A slow cooker isn’t recommended here as it will continue to cook the grains even after they’ve cooked perfectly; meanwhile, a rice cooker will transition into “warming mode,” to keep your grains perfectly warm (but not burnt or soggy.)

Once you’ve mastered the grain base, the sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings.

  • For sweet bowls, we love fresh sliced fruit such as apples or pears, dried fruit such as figs or apricots and healthy mix-ins such as almond butter, coconut butter, cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • For savory bowls, we recommend quick-sauteed greens, avocado, sliced radishes or carrots, minced chives, poached eggs or grilled chicken.
  • No matter the flavor of your bowl, top it off with plenty of crunchy nuts and seeds to push it over the top!

Versatile Grain Bowl


  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) water to start, and a little extra as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) miso, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) maple syrup, or to taste
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, to taste
  • Maldon salt and/or zest of lemon, to taste
  • Optional savory toppings: poached eggs, sauteed or raw kale with lemon juice, pepitas, minced chives, cilantro or green onions, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, chopped carrots, grilled chicken
  • Optional sweet toppings: sliced apples, pears or oranges, dried apricots, cherries, dates or figs, toasted coconut, almond butter, coconut butter


Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan, stir in the oats, quinoa and chia, cooking until the grains are well-toasted and fragrant. Stir in the water and almond milk and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the grains reach your preferred consistency. (You’ll know the oats are done when they’re nice and soft, the quinoa when it’s developed a little halo around the grain and the chia when it’s absorbed some liquid.) Remove from heat. Place the miso in a separate bowl, whisking with a bit of of water, if necessary, to loosen the mixture. Scoop out a couple of large spoonfuls of grains and add them to the bowl, pressing and stirring the miso into the grains to distribute and eliminate any chunks of miso. Then, add the miso-coated grains to the larger pot. Next, add Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, a bit of sea salt, maple syrup and maybe even a zest of lemon, to taste.

Make your grains more savory by adding a bit more Liquid Aminos or soy. Make them more sweet by adding more maple. You may also decide you want more miso, just temper it with the grains before adding to the pot of cereal as you did with the first addition.

Serve topped with lots of sweet or savory toppings as indicated above.

Recipe makes 4–5 servings at 1 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 206; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 52mg; Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 6g

About the Author

Lentine Alexis
Lentine is a curious, classically trained chef and former pro athlete. She uses her bicycle, raw life and travel experiences and organic ingredients to inspire athletes and everyone to explore, connect and expand their human experiences through food. She previously worked as a Chef/Recipe Developer/Content Creator and Culinary Director at Skratch Labs – a sports nutrition company dedicated to making real food alternatives to modern “energy foods.” Today, she writes, cooks, speaks and shares ideas for nourishing sport and life with whole, simple, delicious foods.


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