This Grain Bowl is packed with nutrients that will nourish your body from the inside out! Featuring tender chicken, creamy avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, and zesty chipotle sauce, this dish is perfect for a wholesome lunch or a light dinner.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Quick & easy: With a total time of just 30 minutes and very little prep work, this grain bowl recipe is great for busy nights.
- Ideal for meal prep: Prepare everything in advance, then store your grain bowl in single-serving containers for ready-to-eat, delicious meals throughout the week.
- Nutrient-packed: With ingredients like kale, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and avocado, you’ll receive a hefty dose of essential vitamins and minerals in each serving.
Nourishing grain bowl
This grain bowl recipe has recently become a staple in my kitchen! It’s effortless to whip up, brimming with nutrients, and so easy to customize.
It starts with spice-infused roasted sweet potatoes, which are paired with fluffy quinoa, juicy pieces of chicken, and massaged kale. I love to top mine with buttery avocado slices, fresh onions, and cabbage for a balance of flavors and textures.
The best part is the homemade creamy chipotle sauce, which adds a spicy zest that ties everything together. Serve it as a quick lunch or dinner, or meal prep this recipe for grab-and-go meals during busy weeks!
Ingredients & substitutions
- Sweet potato: Provides a sweet, creamy, and slightly earthy flavor. You can use any sweet potato color, but I prefer orange-fleshed varieties. You can also replace sweet potato with butternut squash for a similar alternative.
- Olive oil: To roast the sweet potatoes. Olive oil can be substituted with avocado, grapeseed, canola, sunflower, or safflower oil as well.
- Spices: The spice blend I prefer for sweet potatoes is garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, and salt. Other options include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, or turmeric.
- Rotisserie chicken: For a boost of protein and flavor! You can also roast and shred your own chicken breasts. For a vegetarian version, try baked tofu or chickpeas.
- Kale: Provides a fresh and crunchy touch to balance the cooked ingredients. If kale is unavailable, use spinach or collard greens instead.
- Quinoa: Both white and tricolor quinoa work well for this recipe.
- Red onion & cabbage: Provide a crispy bite. You can also use green onions or green cabbage. You can even try pickled onions and cabbage.
- Avocado: Adds a buttery and creamy element. If you don’t have any ripe avocados, you can add a dollop of hummus or extra sweet potatoes.
- Creamy chipotle sauce: Brings a spicy kick! Make your own or use a store-bought option. Alternatively, substitute it with tahini, hummus, or a yogurt-only dressing.
- Cilantro: Provides a fresh herbaceous flavor to finish the bowl off. Other options include parsley, dill, green onions, or chives.
How to make the perfect grain bowl
- Prep the potatoes: Combine the sweet potato rounds with olive oil and spices. Make sure they’re evenly coated for the best results.
- Roast the potatoes: Lay the seasoned potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let them roast until they’re tender and slightly crispy.
- Cook the quinoa: While the potatoes are roasting, cook your quinoa by following my Instant Pot quinoa recipe. Once done, give it some time to cool.
- Assemble: Start by massaging the kale, then layer in cooked quinoa, cabbage, chicken, and onions. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, slices of avocado, and a generous drizzle of creamy chipotle sauce on top, then finish everything off with a sprinkle of cilantro.
The best toppings for a grain bowl
You can make your grain bowl feel like a completely different meal just by switching up the toppings and garnishes. Here are some of my favorites:
- Sesame seeds or sliced almonds
- Pickled onions or pickled cabbage
- Sliced jalapeños
- Baba ganoush
- Basil pesto
- Feta cheese
- Roasted chickpeas
- Greek yogurt or tzatziki
- Grilled corn
- Pickled radish slices
Frequently asked questions
The chipotle sauce has a nice kick, but you can adjust the spice level by reducing or increasing the amount of chipotle peppers.
Cooking quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water helps enhance its flavor. You can also toss cooked quinoa with a splash of lemon juice and some chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley.
You can replace quinoa with cauliflower rice or broccoli rice for a low-carb alternative, and consider reducing the amount or omitting the sweet potatoes.
Keep your grain bowl fresh by following these simple storage instructions:
- Fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
- Freezer: You can freeze the chicken by letting it cool, removing the meat from the bones, and freezing it in freezer-safe bags or containers. You can also freeze the quinoa, but I don’t recommend freezing the fresh vegetables.
- Meal prep: Cook the quinoa and sweet potatoes ahead of time, then assemble your grain bowls in meal prep containers and store them in the fridge. Drizzle the sauce and add fresh garnishes just before serving.
- Spicy: Add jalapeños or extra chili powder if you love spice.
- Vegan: Replace chicken with tofu or chickpeas and a dairy-free dressing, like hummus or vegan tzatziki, for a vegan-friendly option.
- Different protein: Add grilled steak or shrimp for a unique texture and flavor.
- Grains: Instead of quinoa, try bulgur, farro, buckwheat, or millet.
- Don’t overcook: Keep an eye on the sweet potatoes to prevent over-roasting them.
- Dress last: Drizzle the sauce just before serving to keep the ingredients fresh.
- Massage the greens: Massaging kale makes it more tender and easier to digest. Don’t skip this step!
- Layer correctly: Assemble the bowl by placing heavier ingredients at the bottom and lighter ones on top.
Looking for more bowl recipes?
If you enjoyed this grain bowl recipe, check out some more of my favorite bowls like these:
If you try this Grain Bowl, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Nourishing Grain Bowl
- 1 medium sweet potato cut in ¼-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken shredded
- 2 cups kale finely chopped
- 1 cup quinoa cooked
- ¼ small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup red cabbage shredded
- 1 medium avocado sliced
- ½ cup creamy chipotle sauce see link for recipe
- 2 tablespoons cilantro torn
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place cut sweet potatoes into the baking sheet, and toss with oil and salt. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway.
- Make the Creamy Chipotle Sauce.
- Cook the quinoa (see recipe for Instant Pot Quinoa) while the sweet potatoes bake, once done cooking let cool before adding to the bowl.
- To assemble the grain bowl, add the kale and ½ teaspoon kosher salt to a bowl, massage the kale. Then add the quinoa, cabbage, shredded chicken, onions, toss to combine. Then add the cooked sweet potatoes, avocado and drizzle the sauce on top, then sprinkle the cilantro leaves. Enjoy.