This Mediterranean Grain Bowls Recipe with lentils and chickpeas packs great flavors and some powerful nutrition. The perfect weeknight meal! And, I'm sharing my "blueprint" for how to build grain bowls your way!
This post is brought to you in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.
Grain bowls are the perfect way to transform a few humble pantry ingredients into one colorful meal. And because of the variety of ingredients you can pile on, they're a great way to add much-needed nutrition!
There really aren’t any big rules around how to build grain bowls. Today’s Mediterranean grain bowls recipe is just one example for you.
To pack in texture, flavor, and maximum health benefits, I follow a lose “blueprint,” which (no surprise here) takes guidance from the Mediterranean diet pyramid.
How to Build Nutrition-Packed Grain Bowls
Start with Your Grain of Choice. I chose farro, a hearty ancient Mediterranean grain with great texture and a slight nutty flavor. Farro here provides volume, and it’s also a great source of fiber and iron.
Add Lean Protein. Taking from the very base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, I chose pulses--in this case, lentils and chickpeas (or these crunchy roasted chickpeas)—to supply plant-based protein. Pulses are also rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins.
In this Mediterranean grain bowls recipe, we pack in 1 cup of pulses per bowl! Did you know that the USDA recommends adding 1 ½ cups of pulses per week to your diet? That’s only ½ cup of pulses 3 times per week (this is what USA Pulses and Pulse Canada call the Half-Cup Habit. Learn more here.)
Add Vegetables, Fruits and Greens. Vegetables and greens, especially fresh herbs, bring brightness and life to our nutty grain bowls. You can play around by adding your favorites. Here, I sauteed zucchini and added them along with tomatoes, avocado, shallots, and a healthy dose of fresh parsley.
Add Flavor Makers. In this Mediterranean grain bowls recipe, a lot of the flavor comes from the simple olive oil dressing with lots of citrus, garlic, za’atar, and sumac. Take things up one more notch by adding Kalamata olives (or marinated artichokes) and a sprinkle of feta cheese!
This Mediterranean grain bowls recipe is one delicious way to “reset” and return back to your healthy-eating routine.
Watch How to Make these Mediterranean Grain Bowls
Mediterranean Style Grain Bowls Recipe with lentils and chickpeas
- Total Time: 20 minutes
Power Grain Bowls, prepared Mediterranean-style! Nutrition and protein-packed thanks to a good dose of lentils and chickpeas. The dressing is an absolute must!
- Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil
- 1 zucchini squash, sliced into rounds
- 2 to 3 cups cooked farro (from 1 cup uncooked farro, prepared according to package)
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils or from canned lentils, drained and rinsed (see notes for lentil cooking instructions, if needed)
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or from canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 avocados, skin removed, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
- Handful pitted kalamata olives
- Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese, optional
For the Dressing
- ⅓ cup Early Harvest Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 ½ tsp quality Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp Za'atar spice
- ½ tsp ground Sumac
- Cook Zucchini. In a non-stick pan or skillet, heat 2tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the sliced zucchini and saute on both sides until tender. Remove zucchini with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Season lightly with salt.
- Prepare dressing. Add the dressing ingredients to a mason jar. Close the lid tightly, and give it a good shake. Set aside for now (but shake again before using).
- Assemble grain bowls. Divide the cooked farro, lentils, and chickpeas equally among four dinner bowls (it'll come to ½ cup of each per bowl). Add cooked zucchini, tomatoes, shallots, avocado slices, parsley, and kalamata olives. Season lightly with salt, pepper and more za'atar, if you like. Drizzle a bit of the dressing on top (about 2 tablespoon per bowl). Finish with crumbled feta, if you like.
- Serve at room temperature or warm, if farro and pulses were just cooked. It's best to mix the ingredients in each bowl to allow the dressing flavors to infuse. If you have a bit of dressing left, serve it alongside.
- How to cook lentils. If you end up buying dried lentils at the bulk section of your grocery store, you can prepare them this way: rinse lentils with cold water, no need to soak. Combine 1 cup lentils with 2.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Add pinch of salt.
- Recommended for this Recipe- Early Harvest Greek Extra Virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives). And from our all-natural spice collection: Za'atar Spice and Ground Sumac.
- SAVE! Try our Greek Olive Oil Bundle; Mediterranean Spice Essentials Bundle; or our All-Star Mediterranean Spice Trio!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: grain bowls, lentil salad, healthy Mediterranean salad
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More Recipes to Try
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Easy Baked Salmon with Garlic Balsamic Glaze
Sounds awesome , what gluten free product can I use to replace farro ? Thanks.
You can use quinoa, Sussi. Enjoy!
I just wanted to let you know that I made this for my family when they came up from FL to see us the end of July. I talked to my sister not too long ago and she was very excited about this particular dish and made it for her family not too long after they arrived back home. There are so many different variations absolutely love this. I am making it now and came on here to print this out for my recipe book. We are trying roasted brussel sprouts and green beans this time. THank you
Oh Holly, that's wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing! And I love that you can make this your own using whatever veggies you like!
Loved this recipe! As another stated, great to put out buffet style for guests to create their individual bowls. Love that it can all be served at room temp as well. Only change I made was that I threw the zucchini on the grill, so added a smoky flavor. Dressing is delicious! Hubby said he would eat it a couple times a week. Great summer dish. Thanks for all your GREAT recipes! Keep em coming!
This looks amazing! Do you have the fiber count too? That would be very interesting to see. Trying to eat more wholesome food with lots of fiber!!
Hi! Sure, the fiber comes to 21.3 grams (85%). We've updated the nutrition label 🙂
I made this last week for lunch and it was very awesome and so filling. I like the tang of the Dijon in the dressing, I'll be using that on a lot of salads. It's something you can make on the spur of the moment using canned beans . I keep my pantry stocked with canned beans , marinated artichoke , sweet peppers and different kinds of olives. We live in a
small town and they don't carry things like that. Thanks for posting so many great dishes.
My taste buds are having a party.
I made this last week for lunch and it was very good and so filling. I like the tang of the Dijon in the dressing, I'll be using that on a lot of salads. It's something you can make on the spur of the moment using canned beans . I keep my pantry stocked with canned beans , marinated artichoke , sweet peppers and different kinds of olives. We live in a
small town and they don't carry things like that. Thanks for posting o many great dishes.
This was a HUGE hit - fabulous! I will absolutely make this again, Instead of lentils, I used black beans And garbanzos and loved the farrow! I also added red peppers to the zucchini and peeled jumbo shrimp as an option (although I would not have missed the shrimp at all with so many wonderful flavors,). I plan to serve this for my next casual dinner party - easy to make ahead and invite people to assemble their own bowls with all the great choices set out in a beautiful buffet style! Thanks!
Karen, thanks so much for sharing! I love your ideas!
This was awesome. I forgot to pick up the farro, but I made it anyway for work. I’m a taste as I cook type of person so, so far so good. I can’t wait until lunch tomorrow. I’ll be making this quite often.
Awesome, Jeanne! Thanks for sharing!
Where on the shores of the Mediterranean is the avocado grown? Sorry. I had hoped this would be a true Mediterranean site.
William, while avocados are not native to the Mediterranean, they had been introduced in the region...for example, in the Holy Land region (Israel/Palestine), avocados were introduced by Israeli settlements in Gaza in the 1980's. The settlers have since left Gaza, but avocados have been adopted with enthusiasm in the area. They are also now available in Mediterranean markets. That said, our goal here is to provide easy, every day recipes that allow readers, no matter where they live, to eat the Mediterranean way. That means using healthy, whole foods that are available to you, but the preparation and flavors will remain decidedly Mediterranean. And one last tidbit, avocados are actually celebrated as a Mediterranean diet ingredient, if you've been reading up on this diet.
In southern Spain avocados are grown in abundance and exported to the rest of Europe.
YES! Thank you for sharing!
I realize I am deceiving myself into thinking I am eating healthy when I look at your recipes. I am going to make these bowls -- or a version of them. It's like one of my soups, without the liquid.
I am a little surprised at the fat content. What ingredient(s) cause that high percentage?
Kevin, I am so glad you'll give this a try! It's a good way to sneak in a ton of nutrition, but you're really not giving up flavor. As far as the nutrition label, the fat content is all good fat, mainly from 1 1/2 avocado (which provides nearly 50 grams of good fat) and from olive oil (nearly 70 grams). you need that kind of fat. Also, we are testing out a program which generates the information you see, and there is always a margin of error with these programs, so I don't sweat it so much.
I’m definitely trying this. Looks delicious!!
Awesome, Letty! Enjoy!
SO many favorites in one delicious healthy dish! Time to add lentils to my shopping list. Happy New Year, Suzy!
This gorgeous bowl is a must make! It's filled with everything I LOVE!
Yay! Hope you love it!
I love that this is meatless and full of such nutritious ingredients! Looks and sounds delicious!
I love the Mediterranean flavors in this. This is so hearty!
Hearty and satisfying for sure, Leslie! Hope you'll give it a try!
This looks so amazing, love the addition of chickpeas!
So good! Thanks for stopping in, Amy!
This bowl looks SO good! Exactly the kind of meal I would devour! Easy, nutritious, cheap and delicious ?
Awesome, Marie! I totally agree with you
I love how you used some of my favorite pulses here! Bowls like this are my go to for weekdays!
Aren't they great! So easy too!
I love farro. Lentils and chickpeas must add a ton of good here! And your photos are mouth-watering. Pinning this recipe to try.
I'm so with ya! I hope you do try this soon! So good!
These bowls look satisfying! And Za'atar is one of those spices, I find myself using more and more for an exotic flavor. I can't wait to try this. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!
Awesome, Analida! Enjoy!!!