Plant-based bowls are part of my diet multiple times per week, no matter the time of year. But with fall just around the corner, there are so many seasonal ingredients available to amp up the flavors and textures! Made with delicious fall produce like delicata squash and brussel sprouts and topped with a tangy cranberry orange vinaigrette, this harvest grain bowl makes for a balanced plant-based meal.
Benefits of Plant-Based Eating Patterns
Plant-based meals are not just attractive and delicious. They also provide anti-inflammatory benefits that are great for athletes, particularly those who have joint pain or slow recovery. While I follow a very plant-based diet, including eggs and fish, I realize that there is no one diet for everyone and the inclusion of animal products in other’s diets is a personal choice. You need to eat what works for your body. Having said that, research shows that everyone can benefit from more plant-based meals since fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds all promote longevity.
Plant products, in their natural form, contain many beneficial nutrients but a big focus is on the wide variety of antioxidants obtained from them as well as their fiber content! Fiber from plant foods, specifically soluble fiber, is fermented by good intestinal bacteria and its by-products induce many health benefits. Researchers are finding many connections between not only gut health and immunity but also gut health and mental health. Between this and the better blood sugar control fiber gives, plants may help reduce your stress levels and potentially anxiety. So whip up this delicious harvest grain bowl and add some extra plants to your life this week!
Grain Bowl Meal Prep
As mentioned, I love a good plant-based bowl. Typically though, I just sort of wing it throughout the week. A big part of weekly food prep for Tim and I is cooking a couple of whole grains, prepping some plant proteins such as lentils, beans, or tofu, and roasting lots of veggies. Throughout the week I’ll just mix and match what we have prepped, add dressings, nuts, or avocado for healthy fats and the meal is ready to go!
The same can be done with this harvest grain bowl, as long as you plan ahead on what ingredients to prep. Just roast the brussels, squash, carrots, and onions and cook a batch of einkorn wheat berries (or your grain of choice) in advance. You can even make the dressing ahead of time so that you can throw easy meals together throughout the week in no time.
Looking for other plant-based grain bowls to prep? Try one of these:
Harvest Grain Bowl Ingredients
I decided to really highlight the seasonal flavors and colors of fall in this bowl. I utilized mustard greens, a favorite of mine, and my homemade cranberry sauce to make a cranberry orange vinaigrette. I simply added some almond oil, a couple of tablespoons of orange juice, freshly ground black pepper, and some garlic powder. This sweet and tangy dressing would be the perfect way to use up leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving too.
Grouped with protein-rich adzuki beans and einkorn wheat berries, as well as roasted delicata squash, brussel sprouts, onions, and pumpkin seeds, we’ve got fall in a bowl right here!
Harvest Grain Bowl with Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette
Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette
- 1/3 heaping cup cranberry sauce
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp almond oil
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 6 cups mustard greens, chopped
- 1 tbsp oil for roasting vegetables
- 1 small delicata squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
- 2 cups fresh brussel sprouts quartered
- 2 small to medium sized red onions chopped
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 cups adzuki beans cooked from dry or low-sodium canned
- 1 1/3 cups cooked einkorn wheat berries (can sub farro or kamut)
- 4 tbsp pepitas
Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette
- Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- Set oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place delicata squash flesh side down on baking dish coated in cooking oil.
- Drizzle oil lightly over the carrots and roast on the same baking dish whole or, if desired you may roast them cut.
- Toss brussel sprouts and chopped onion in 1/2 tbsp oil and add pepper and salt if desired. Place in a glass baking dish.
- Cook squash and carrots for 25-30 minutes, until fork can easily go through the skin and flesh of the squash.
- Cook the brussel sprouts and onions for 30-45 minutes, depending on desired texture.
- While vegetables are roasting, chop mustard greens.
- When vegetables are ready, add all ingredients, except for pepitas, to a large mixing bowl and toss well.
- Divide into four bowls or pack into pyrex containers.
- Top each with 1 tbsp of pepitas.