This Asian-inspired vegan grain bowl with roasted broccoli and sesame-ginger sauce is a healthy and versatile weeknight favorite.
Have you noticed how the popularity of “bowls” has skyrocketed in the recent years? I’m not referring to the bowl as the round, high-sided vessel – I’m talking about the bowl as a type of food.
I think the popularity of the “bowl” can be partially attributed to our fast-paced culture. You see, foods in bowls don’t require a knife to be eaten – just a spoon or fork. Thus, you only need one hand to scoop the food into your mouth, leaving the other one free to type emails or reply to texts. (Which absolutely cannot wait until after lunch, because we all know our lives would implode if we put our phones down even for 10 minutes, right?)
Whatever the case may be, I’m a huge fan of the grain bowl since it’s the fastest foolproof way to a healthy meal and most variations can be batch-prepped in advance. So how do you make the perfect weeknight grain bowl?
The key to a satisfying grain bowl is the contrast of hot and cold temperatures, and of chewy and crunchy textures, as well as a killer dressing to tie it all together.
Here’s my vegan grain bowl formula:
- A warm grain, like brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, or farro
- A warm cooked vegetable, like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, or beets
- A cold raw vegetable and/or greens, like carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, avocado, radishes, spinach, kale, or arugula
- A plant-based protein, like beans, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, tofu, or tempeh
- A yummy sauce, like vinaigrette, creamy tahini dressing, or the sesame ginger sauce below
- A fun topping or 2, like sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, nuts, croutons, crumbled nori, fresh herbs, or sprouts
What’s In This Asian-Inspired Grain Bowl
This impressive, veg-packed grain bowl consists of several elements: warm quinoa and millet (you can, of course, just use one type of grain), charred broccoli, massaged kale, crunchy purple cabbage, shelled edamame, and a savory sesame ginger dressing.
The “Asian” influence comes from the soy sauce-based dressing as well as edamame, which hails from China and Japan. The great news is that all of these elements can be made in advance and assembled into grain bowls as needed for quick meals.
How to Make This Bowl
Start by getting the grains cooking in boiling water. While they do their thing, preheat your oven. Chop up the broccoli, season it with oil and spices, and pop it in the oven to get it nice and brown.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking up minced garlic and ginger with soy sauce, maple syrup, peanut butter, and sesame oil. This dressing is delicious on everything from salads to noodle dishes to roasted vegetables, so I encourage you to double the recipe and keep it in the fridge to use throughout the week.
Next, tear up the kale into bite-size pieces and drizzle on some of this dressing. Using your hands, massage the kale until it is soft, bright green, and juicy – 1 to 2 minutes. Last but not least, arrange everything in a bowl and enjoy!
Ingredients and Variations
- Quinoa and millet: I love the combo of earthy quinoa and chewy millet in this Asian-inspired grain bowl. You can use either grain alone, or sub with brown rice, barley, or couscous.
- Broccoli: Feel free to substitute with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, or sweet potatoes. They can all be cooked the exact same way.
- Edamame: These green beans are actually immature soybeans, which are full of micronutrients (like calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate) and happen to be a complete protein. They’re available in most supermarkets, in the frozen vegetables aisle.
- Purple cabbage: I love the bright purple hue of this vegetable in this bowl, but you can definitely use green cabbage. (Let’s face it – they taste the same.)
More meal prep ideas…
- 20+ Vegan Meal Prep Recipes
- Crispy Tofu Bowls with Charred Broccoli and Peanut Sauce
- 7 Make-Ahead Grain Bowl Sauces
- Farro Bowls with Garlicky White beans and Roasted Veg
Make a double batch of the sesame ginger sauce and keep it in the fridge for drizzling on basically everything, or for marinating tofu, tempeh, or vegetables.
For the Bowl
- Sea salt, to taste
- ½ cup quinoa (See note below)
- ½ cup millet
- 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets (See note below)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 bunch curly kale, stemmed and torn into bite-size bits
- 2 cups thawed shelled organic edamame
- 1/4 head purple or green cabbage, finely shredded (about 2 cups) (See note below)
For the Sesame Ginger Sauce
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 3 tablespoons avocado, organic canola, or another neutral-tasting oil
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and add the quinoa and millet. Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly with a lid, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes – do not stir during cooking. Then turn the heat off and let stand covered for 10 more minutes to steam.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the broccoli on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Season with the paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking, until the broccoli is brown and crispy.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. (The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 10 days).
- Right before serving, place the kale in a bowl and drizzle with a tiny bit of the dressing. Using your hands, massage the kale for 1 minute, until it is wilted.
- Divide the kale among 4 bowls and top with the grains, broccoli, edamame, and cabbage. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you want and serve with the dressing.
- Feel free to use either quinoa or millet – or another grain like brown rice, barley, or farro.
- Instead of broccoli, feel free to use cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, or sweet potatoes. They can all be cooked the same way.
- For uniformly shredded cabbage and to save time, use your food processor fitted with the shredding attachment.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe with dressing
- Calories: 488
- Carbohydrates: 55.1 g
- Fiber: 10.1 g
- Protein: 18.1 g
Keywords: grain bowl sauces, sesame, ginger, sauce, broccoli