Say hello to baja grain bowls for lunch and dinner and maybe even second dinner?
Lots of things I love get to make out together in this bowl and it is a go-to meal! With a side of tortilla chips of course.
OH MY WORD. This is incredible and curbing all my taco cravings right now.
Which is great, since I’ve been demanding Mexican take-out at least twice a week.
This is my attempt at a copycat Panera bowl.
The Panera by us has been closed for a month or so now and I have to say – I really miss the salads and soups! We would get Panera every other week and oh my word, their new-ish grain bowl? It was SO GOOD.
Like it was sort of close to Chipotle level good. Of course, no queso or guac. But still really, really good.
Nearly every thing I love goes into this bowl. It’s loaded with flavor and texture. You can use up leftovers. All the things!
Here’s how it goes down!
The grains are the biggest part of the grain bowl… duh. I like to mix rice and quinoa. The long and short grain mix is so good! The texture really works in a bowl, plus this means it’s super filling too. Of course, use WHATEVER grains you have in your kitchen right now. Seriously, anything works as long as you like the the grain. That’s the important part!
Next, make this cilantro lime vinaigrette. This is so delicious and one of my favorite things for salads and bowls. Even if you don’t like cilantro, you may like this. It’s not overly cilantro-y and has more of a tex-mex lime dressing taste. It’s fantastic.
Drizzle a bunch of this all over the grains and toss them up. It’s the start to the layers of flavor.
Next, throw on some beans. I’m partial to pinto but I’m out, so black beans will have to do.
Then comes the chopped tomatoes and corn. I wish I had corn on the cob, but nope – I just used frozen.
The mix of the black beans, corn and tomatoes is wonderful. Feels very taco-ish of course.
Then! Throw on some feta cheese, a big scoop of greek yogurt or sour cream and another drizzle of the vinaigrette.
I hesitated even sharing a recipe like this because it is weirdly simple. All of these ingredients are pretty basic, but the thing is that when they are combined? This bowl is absolutely amazing! It’s very satisfying. And super flavorful. It’s loaded with a ton of texture. And it can take on whatever else may be in your fridge. The dressing absolutely MAKES it, so I wouldn’t suggest skipping it. You can always use a bottled version or another dressing you really like – just be sure to have one. It brings everything together!
And now dinner is done.
Baja Grain Bowls
Yield: 2 people
These baja grain bowls are a delicious copycat of the Panera baja grain bowls! Rice, quinoa, beans, tomatoes and cilantro lime vinaigrette!
cilantro lime vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup diced tomatoes
- ⅔ cup corn
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- plain greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving
- lime wedges for spritzing
- salt and pepper
cilantro lime vinaigrette
In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice, honey, garlic, cilantro salt, pepper, pepper flakes and olive oil. Blend until combined and smooth (some pieces of cilantro may remain). Leftovers stay great in the fridge for a few days! Store it in a sealed container.
To assemble the bowls, divide the rice and quinoa between 2 bowls. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette and toss. Divide the beans, avocado tomatoes, corn and feta between the bowls. Sprinkle each with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top with the fresh cilantro and sour cream. Drizzle on the remaining dressing and serve with lime wedges.
Just needs chips.