Baja Grain Bowls.
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
Baja Grain Bowls
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.
Did you make this recipe?
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47 Comments on “Baja Grain Bowls.”
This looks so good! Definitely putting it on our meal plan next week!
I just have to run out and get avocados and limes for this……..shhh.
mmm…looks incredible! This is my favourite type of meal, everything in a big bowl that you can mix together and get a taste of all the flavours in one delicious bite.
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Putting it in my meal
Do you have to cook the corn and black beans before adding them to the grains?
This looks amazing! What kind of rice did you use? basmati?
brown jasmine rice!
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This looks amazing, and I have all the ingredients for it already! WIN. I also have started mixing rice with quinoa, and we LOVE it. The mixture of textures is fantastic, and I don’t feel AS guilty about devouring the bowl since it’s not ALL rice…quinoa is healthy! I love quinoa, but sometimes you just want a little more oomph from rice in there :-) Will definitely be making this dish!!
I love Panera’s Baja Bowl and this is a dead ringer recipe. It is sensational. I added grilled chicken to my husband’s and he thought it was great.
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This is not just another southwestern grain bowl – the sauce is EVERYTHING. So good. Make the sauce!
This was insanely delicious. My bf was highly skeptical as I was prepping the meal and still when I made the plate, but he loved it the moment he took a bite. Thank you for the recipe! The only change I made was adding some lime, salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of grated garlic to the sour cream for extra flavor. It added soo much. Thanks again.
When all the ingredients come together, this bowl tastes amazing and packs a good punch. This dish will be on our monthly menu rotation for sure.
I think your recipe is missing the tangy inions. There are slivers of onions that have been marinated in something and it is, to me what makes this bowl phenomenal!
yes those are pickled onions! here is the recipe for them: https://www.howsweeteats.com/2020/04/three-things-i-make-keep-in-my-fridge-to-elevate-everyday-meals/
Yummy, yummy, yummy! We have made this twice already, in the past month. I made it the first time, the second time, my 16yo daughter was the chef. IT IS DELICIOUS!!!
PROS: Very easy to assemble and make.
Family of 6 devoured it. Very little “I don’t eat that” pickiness.
Carnivorous “where’s the chicken?” husband forgot that it didn’t have meat.
CONS: clean up ;-)
For us, this was a great way to throw a vegetarian meal into the mix once in awhile. Thank you for posting this–I will try it with the pickled onions next time, too!
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This is AMAZING. Actually, everything I make of yours is amazing Jessica! My husband didn’t even complain that there wasn’t any meat! lol Thank you for sharing all this goodness!
YUM! This recipe doesn’t have the caramelized onion, which I believe is in the Panera version, and I’d add them. But – this dressing is AMAZING!! Get roasted corn, or make it. Could use Mexican cotija cheese instead of feta.
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Very good but does not have the spice that Panera’s has. I would not put honey in the vinaigrette next time and I might try adding jalapeños to add some heat.
Loved it! The dressing is the bomb!
I absolutely love this recipe!! I didn’t expect it to taste so similar to Panera, but it did!!
Just enjoyed this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I broiled some chicken breasts and thinly sliced them, and used just quinoa because we are trying to cut out rice. Yum yum, so simple and fresh!
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Thanks for this recipe! I add some pulled chicken, substitute riced cauliflower for the rice, and use avocado salsa (20 calories per 2 tbsp) instead of the avocado and the dressing. So good and I’ve been eating it every day for lunch!
Our Baja Salad turned out amazing, just like the one at Panera Bread! Thanks for the awesome recipe
tastes just like the bowl from panera! super yummy
three words: love, Love, LOVE!!
Fantastic! The dressing brings this dish to life. We forgot to put in the feta but didn’t miss it one bit. I bought a bag of brown rice / quinoa that you microwave. Whole thing took 10 minutes to make. Delicious.
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Did you add the salsa verde and pickled onions?
This bowl is EVERYTHING. Definitely do not skip the dressing, it does make the whole thing. I did brown rice and quinoa. SO GOOD!
Oh my goodness!! Panera Bread recently opened in my town, and I looked online to see what I might enjoy. Yep – Baja Bowl. BUT when I drove over to Panera Bread, it wasn’t on their menu board. According to the sweet and apologetic young lady, it wouldn’t be(corporate decision?). I couldn’t get that description out of my head- thank you for this ‘copycat’. I found some organic precooked quinoa/brown rice containers at the grocery. Talk about a taste treat!! That dressing is amazing!! This will be a regular on my meal rotation – and for far less than Panera Bread charges!!
A win with all I’ve served it to. Usually serve with sliced chicken and as a make your own buffet.
Fantastic. My family requests this over and over. Love!!
its sooo good!!!! amazing recipe!!
One of my FAVORITE lunches that I make all the time! It’s so delicious. Sometimes I cut the grains back and add kale. I usually put less honey in (just personal preference). Sometimes I add pepitas for crunch. I love this way more than the one at Panera it’s that good!
Never liked quinoa before trying this recipe; the cilantro-lime dressing make it delicious; great for meal prep!!
This was great! Thanks for the recipe. I love the Panera version but always wonder why they don’t add more veggies- it’s really just a bowl of rice, yogurt and hummus. I added roasted broccoli and brussel sprouts and it was excellent.
I love this…but where’s the nutritional information?