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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Will this keep? If I'm cooking this up just as a person who lives alone is quartering the recipe the better option, or could I maybe keep some in the fridge to take to work for lunches or something?
Love the recipe Could I use barley or Bulgar instead of farro?
I think you could totally do that, Eileen! This is an easy recipe to play with a bit.
I have made it twice now!
My husband and I love this dish! I have been making this for the last 4 months about every two week or three weeks. This recipe was the first time I tried farro and it is now my favorite grain! Thanks for sharing all your delicious recipes.
So glad you enjoyed it, Belinda!
Absolutely loved this recipe! My family liked more dressing so I ended up doubling that part of the recipe. Thanks Suzy for making cooking Mediterranean so delicious!
Awesome, Lynn! Thanks so much for sharing.
You are very welcome, Lynn! Happy cooking!!!
I've been making these since I first found your site in 2018. They are great and very versatile. We sort of shape our dinners for the week around creating a grain bowl with leftovers on the weekend. The dressing is great, but in a pinch I like olive oil and fig or Modena balsamic too.
Sounds great! Thanks, Russ!!!
I have recently switched to the Mediterranean diet and found your recipe. I made it last night and ooooh so good!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Linda!!
This is so yummy! Great texture and flavor.
How many does this serve as a main dish?
Absolutely delicious. The Za'atar spice is wonderful. Very filling and delicious!
Yes! Za'atar gets a lot of use around here :). Thanks, Andrew!
What would be a good gluten free grain to replace farro with? I have celiac disease and that is the only issue I have with these dishes. Thank you!
Hi Kim, you can try brown rice, for example. Enjoy!
Thank you for this Recipe. Very filling and quite nutritious.
I'd make this again! 5/5
Awesome, Lance! So glad you enjoyed it!
We loved this recipe!
So excited to hear it!
Made this tonight. It's so good! This will be in my regular dinner rotation. Love all your recipes!
Great! Thanks, Linda!