A build your own grain bowl to get you to spring

Photo Credit: Equal Parts

I’m just back from a week vacation in Southern California and while I really appreciated a week of eating out and the break from cooking, I’m very happy to be back in my own kitchen. Unseasonably warm temperatures in Brooklyn the past couple of days have felt like a spring tease and have me craving all the flavors and produce of a new season. The transition from one season to the next, especially from winter to spring can can make it hard to find cooking inspiration. I’m tired of soups, stews and one pot meals and spring produce is still a few long weeks away.

One meal I keep coming back to week after week is a build your own grain bowl. I’ll usually forage my own fridge for inspiration and recently created one for Equal Parts featuring everything I love (a big batch of grains, a protein, topped with something crunchy, tangy and a little sweet). I’ve included the complete recipes below but these are really just suggestions. Feel free to swap out grains, proteins, vegetables and toppings especially as spring vegetables like asparagus radishes and peas start to make an appearance at the market. The grain bowl flavors will continue to blend together overnight so any leftovers will make a delicious repurposed meal. Try topping leftovers with a fried or poached egg for a savory and hearty breakfast.

Grain Bowl with Pan Roasted Salmon and Greens

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Recipe created for Equal Parts


    For Pickled Onions
  • 1 large red onion very thinly sliced
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 ½ tbs honey
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c farro
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7 tbs olive oil (divided)
  • ½ lb salmon (1 large piece or 4 small filets)
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced up until green part
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (save fennel fronds, set aside for topping)
  • 1 bunch of dinosaur kale, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup toasted pistachios, sliced almonds, or other toasted seeds
  • ¼ grated parmesan, manchego, or feta cheese
  • ½ c fresh herbs, chopped (dill, parsley, basil, mint, or any combination)
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Start preparing quick pickled onion. Place sliced onion in a mason jar or airtight container. Add remaining ingredients to a small saucepan, bring to a simmer. Let cool and then pour over onions. Give the jar a shake and push onions down so they’re coated in vinegar mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 min. Note: pickled onions are best used within 3 days but will stay in fridge 2-3 weeks and will liven up many other dishes.
  3. Combine farro in small saucepan with 2-3 cups of water, add 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, approx 30 mins or until water has been absorbed and farro is tender to touch. Add more water if necessary.
  4. While Farro is cooking, rinse salmon filets and pat dry. Place on prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast salmon in middle rack of oven for 15 min.
  5. As the farro and salmon are cooking, turn your attention to the veggies. Start by heating 2 tbs olive oil in large pan. Add sliced leeks, saute for approx 3-4 min. Add fennel and stir to combine, continue cooking for an additional 5 mins until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent over browning. Add kale, drizzle an additional 1 tbs of olive oil, stirring to coat and cooking another 10-15 min until kale has softened.
  6. By this time, salmon and farro should be about done and you can start getting creative with how to assemble the grain bowls. To serve family style, place farro in a large serving bowl, drizzle with 1-2 tbs of olive oil, squeeze juice from about ½ lemon, adding salt and pepper to taste. Top with greens and mix to combine. Sprinkle nuts (if using) and grated cheese, giving the entire bowl another stir. Top with pieces of flaked salmon and sprinkle with fresh herbs and chopped fennel fronds. You can also plate salmon on a serving dish and set up the rest of the ingredients like a DIY grain bowl bar, so everyone can customize to their taste.

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