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A large white bowl filled with autumn grain bowl ingredients: shredded kale, wild rice, quinoa, apple, roasted sweet potato, diced red onion, shredded cheese, chopped walnuts & shredded chicken. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, surrounded by sprigs of fresh thyme & a striped linen napkin. Next to the bowl are some whole walnuts & a jar of maple balsamic dressing.

Cozy Autumn Grain Bowls

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (includes inactive time)
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Entree Salad & Bowl Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Baked, Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Hearty & healthy autumn harvest grain bowls are loaded with fall-inspired ingredients – kale, wild rice, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, apple, & smoked gouda – & finished with creamy cinnamon maple balsamic vinaigrette.

Meal prep-friendly, easily vegetarian, vegan, &/or dairy-free – see Recipe Notes, below, for tips!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice (see Recipe Notes)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (see Recipe Notes)
  • 12 cups shredded Rotisserie chicken (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch kale, destemmed & finely chopped
  • 1 large apple, diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda or sharp white cheddar

for the Cinnamon Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

Instructions

A large white bowl filled with harvest grain bowl ingredients: shredded kale, wild rice, quinoa, apple, roasted sweet potato, diced red onion, shredded cheese, chopped walnuts & shredded chicken. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, surrounded by sprigs of fresh thyme & a striped linen napkin. Next to the bowl is a small cutting board with whole walnuts & a paring knife, as well as an apple & a jar of maple balsamic dressing.

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cook the wild rice & quinoa according to package directions. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
  2. Roast the sweet potatoes: Place the diced sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, & kosher salt. Toss to combine. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender & crispy around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Make the cinnamon vinaigrette: Meanwhile, as the sweet potatoes roast, mix up the cinnamon maple balsamic vinaigrette. Add the olive oil, balsamic, maple syrup, garlic, cinnamon, kosher salt, & ground black pepper to a blender or food processor. Blend until emulsified & creamy, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a jar or airtight container, then add in the fresh herbs. Shake or stir to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
  4. Other prep: Meanwhile, as the sweet potatoes roast, prep the remaining grain bowl ingredients – pull the chicken, shred the kale, finely dice the red onion, dice the apple, shred the cheese, & chop the nuts. 
  5. Assemble the grain bowls: Place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Drizzle a little of the cinnamon balsamic vinaigrette over top. Using your hands, massage the vinaigrette into the kale until vibrantly green & softened. Add the wild rice, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, shredded chicken, red onion, apple, cheese, and walnuts to the bowl. Drizzle more of the cinnamon vinaigrette over top, then toss to combine.
  6. Serving: These grain bowls are great warm, room temperature, or cold. See Recipe Notes, below, for more meal prep tips. Enjoy!

Autumn grain bowl shown in a large white bowl. The salad ingredients are all tossed together & the harvest bowl is topped with roasted sweet potato, diced apple & lots of grated cheese. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, surrounded by sprigs of fresh thyme & a striped linen napkin. Next to the bowl are some whole walnuts & a jar of maple balsamic dressing.


Notes

  • Grains: I love the hearty, textural combination of wild rice & quinoa in these autumn grain bowls, but any blend of grains will work great (brown rice, farro, etc.). Using a pre-mixed grain blend is also a great grain bowl shortcut! Make it your own by using whatever you love most, & if quick-cooking rice is your jam…go for it!
  • Make-ahead & Storage: These harvest bowls are super hearty & store very well. Feel free to prep & assemble in advance, omitting diced apple until serving. Store your grain bowls individually or in one large airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
  • Meal prep: A little bit of meal prep will goes a long way in making grain bowls a little easier to throw together, cutting down on the active prep time involved. There are a couple of different routes you can go for this grain bowl recipe:
    • 15-Minute Meal Prep: Cook the grains in advance to eliminate any stove time the day or night you’d like to make Autumn Grain Bowls. 
      • Cook the wild rice according to package directions. (~5 minutes active)
      • Cook the quinoa according to package directions. (~5 minutes active)
    • 20-Minute Meal Prep: Prep grain bowl components, chopping, dicing, shredding, etc. All you have to do at dinnertime is roast up the sweet potatoes & make the vinaigrette – easy!
      • Shred rotisserie chicken. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
      • Destem & finely shred kale. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Place a piece of paper towel in the container to soak up any condensation or moisture.
      • Dice 1 large sweet potato. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
      • Dice an apple. Store in an airtight container submerged in water to prevent browning in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
      • Finely dice a small red onion. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Keywords: Autumn Grain Bowls, Harvest bowl, harvest grain bowl, healthy, hearty, fall, salad, warm, meal prep, make-ahead, maple balsamic vinaigrette, grain bowl dressing, warm grain bowl recipe