Vegan Grain Bowl with Pesto

vegan grain bowl

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If you’ve been thinking about eating more plant-packed meals, summer is the perfect time. With so much fresh produce and crave-able colors available, when paired with the right ingredients, you’ll never miss the meat! This flavorful vegan grain bowl with pesto is an easy meatless dinner to make after work, or to prep ahead of the week for lunches.

vegan grain bowl with pesto

Vegan Grain Bowl with Lentils and Farro

Lentils are such a staple in my home and I really believe they should be in everyone! They are an excellent meat replacement, whether you’re vegan, eat a plant based diet, or are just looking to incorporate more plant protein vs. meat here and there. On top of the texture they offer that is similar to ground meat, lentils are rich in protein, offering 12 grams per half cup serving. Many people eating less meat are also initially concerned with iron intake, but a half cup of green lentils also offers 15% if your daily needs of iron. You’ll also get 15% the daily value of folate and any lentil variety will offer at least 4 grams of fiber (some many more), so adding them to your vegan grain bowl is always a great idea.

vegan grain bowl ingredients

While beans and lentils are often paired with rice (which I enjoy sometimes, too), I encourage those with high activity levels to try grains more rich in protein. A half cup cooked of farro offers an additional 5 grams of protein, while also providing 5% more of your daily needs of iron. By pairing with vitamin C rich greens and peppers, absorption of iron is enhanced by roughly four times! With a variety of textures and ease of preparation, this vegan grain bowl will become a staple meal, especially in the summer.

Vegan Grain Bowl with Pesto

Summer is the perfect time to grow alll the basil whether that be in a backyard veggie garden or on your countertop. Though we enjoy it year round, the brightness and flavor it packs just screams summer to me.

I have several pesto recipes already, from my pistachio pesto (enjoyed over potatoes) and spring green garlic pesto to avocado walnut pesto. Still, I actually always have a premade pesto on hand, usually the kale cashew variety from Trader Joe’s that I used in my high protein pasta recipe. No matter what you choose, it’ll pair so well with the combination of flavors and textures of these other ingredients.

 

the best vegan grain bowl

Benefits of Plant Based Eating

Despite some confusion on the definition of plant based, it does not mean following an eating pattern excluding meat. While a vegan, or animal void diet, can have plenty of benefits, most of those can be obtained simply by reducing intake of animal foods in lieu of whole plant foods in more meals throughout the week. Choosing one day a week to go without meat is a great way to start incorporating more plants into your eating pattern, increasing your variety of nutritious foods and nutrients, a key to more healthful diets.

Research shows that higher fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney disease, and dementia. Studies even show inclusion of 7-8 servings of produce each day to be associated with elevated levels of happiness and lower depression scores. On top of that, the fiber provided by fruits, vegetables and other plant foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, is associated with improved gut microbiome health. This is tied to better immunity, metabolism, antioxidant system function, mental health and in some preliminary research, even athletic performance.

vegan energy bowl

Vegan Grain Bowl with Pesto

This vegan grain bowl brings together flavors and textures everyone craves for an easy and satisfying protein rich lunch or dinner.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup dry quick cook farro
  • 2 Cups pre-cooked lentils
  • 1 Cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • 8 Cups mixed greens
  • 2 medium bell peppers, choice colors

Instructions
 

  • Cook farro according to package instructions (as well as lentils if prepping from dry).
  • While lentils and farro are cooking, add all pesto ingredients to a food processor, starting with just 2 tbsp of water. Pulse for roughly 30 seconds before scraping the sides and blending an additional 10-15 seconds. If pesto is too thick, add the additional 2 tbsp of water.
  • Remove the stalk and seeds from the bell peppers, and chop into ¼ - ½ inch pieces. Divide mixed greens into 4 separate bowls and top each with ¼ of the chopped peppers and ¼ of the farro.
  • Stir the lentils with half of the pesto before dividing between the bowls.
  • Drizzle the remainder of the pesto over each bowl and serve.
Keyword vegan grain bowl
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