This Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl Meal Prep is loaded with roasted zucchini, bell peppers and chickpeas, and served with a creamy lemon dill hummus. Enjoy this deliciously filling vegetarian make-ahead lunch hot or cold!
This gorgeous grain bowl meal prep is the newest make-ahead lunch recipe on Project Meal Plan! No matter if you’re generally a meat-eater or not, this vegetarian lunch bowl is packed with filling and delicious ingredients to keep you satisfied until dinner.
Quinoa makes up the grain base of these bowls, followed by a seasoned medley of zucchini, bell peppers, chickpeas and olives. The lemon dill hummus is what ties everything together! And it’s so easy to whip up in the container from the store, you’ll be shocked!
Since you can enjoy this lunch heated up or straight from the fridge, it’s great for any office or work setting, as long as you have a fridge or a cooler available. This is the kind of lunch that’ll make your co-workers envious! I’m positive you’ll enjoy it 🙂
What does “Mediterranean inspired” mean?
This recipe is Mediterranean inspired, meaning the ingredients were inspired by the traditional foods eaten in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, and more.
This way of eating includes a strong emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, seafood, nuts and seeds. Generally, processed meats, red meat, and added sugars are consumed very sparingly (read more on the Mediterranean diet here).
What is a grain bowl?
A grain bowl is a complete meal with a base made of a cooked grain, including anything from rice to more fiber rich carbohydrates like farro, quinoa, or barley. Here’s a list of amounts of fiber in whole grains from the Whole Grains Council, if you’re curious.
After the grain base, there’s usually a protein (meat or plant-based), followed by lots of vegetables (and/or greens) and maybe some herbs. Finally, there’s always gotta be a dressing or sauce to bring it all together (lemon dill hummus for this one!). Read more on how to build grain bowls here!
Grain bowls come in all sizes, colors, and ingredients. There’s no wrong way to make them as long as you enjoy it! This recipe combines ingredients of the Mediterranean way of eating with the grain bowl trend, and I’m fully on board!
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep: Make-Ahead Friendly
What are the ingredients in this Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl Meal Prep?
This recipe combines quinoa, plant-based protein from chickpeas, tons of roasted veggies, and a delicious lemon dill hummus to top it off. All of these ingredients should be super easy to find at your local grocery store (or maybe even in your pantry!).
Here are all the ingredients used in this recipe and a little more info on each:
- quinoa – This is our grain base for the grain bowls. If you aren’t a big fan of quinoa, feel free to use another grain such as farro or barley. You can even use rice if you want!
- bell peppers – Three different colors of bell peppers are chopped and roasted to make the most colorful sheet pan of veggies!
- zucchini – Adding a big heaping cup of zucchini gets even more veggies in the bowl. Try to chop the pieces about the same size as the peppers so they cook evenly.
- chickpeas – Our plant-based protein of choice for these grain bowls is chickpeas! Roasting them with the vegetables creates a crispy crunchy salty addition that I love!
- olive oil or avocado oil – Use your preference of olive oil or avocado oil.
- dried oregano – It’s super important to season the vegetables and chickpeas well for the best flavor in the final dish. Oregano is our Mediterranean seasoning of choice! Along with…
- kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper – Use a generous amount to season the veggies. You can also add a dash of salt at the end if you think it needs it!
- black olives – Olives and olive oil are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Add them to the sheet pan later on during the roasting (they don’t need to cook as long as the other ingredients.) You can use sliced or whole olives!
- hummus – Grab a 10 ounce container of plain hummus at the store. This is the base of our lemon dill hummus! All you do is stir the lemon zest, juice and dill into the container. SO EASY.
- lemon – We’re going to use both the juice and the zest of one small lemon. If you have extra lemon juice leftover, save it and add over the top of your grain bowls before eating for a nice fresh burst of lemon flavor.
- fresh dill – Along with the lemon, adding a couple tablespoons of dill to the hummus gives it the best flavor. You can mix the lemon and dill right into the container from the store.
How do you make these grain bowls?
This Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl Meal Prep recipe has three main parts: the quinoa, the roasted veggies, and the hummus. Each component is excellent on its own, but they’re all even better when you put them together!
First, get the quinoa started. Sometimes I make quinoa in my Instant Pot, and sometimes I make it on the stovetop. Either way works! Follow the package directions to cook the quinoa until fluffy and no liquid remains.
For the cooking liquid, use either broth or water. If you’d like to keep this meal vegetarian/vegan, be sure to use vegetable broth or water. However, I like to use chicken broth for max flavor. Once the quinoa is done, set it aside with the lid on so it can cool while you work on the rest of the recipe.
Chop up the bell peppers and zucchini and toss them directly on the prepared sheet pan. Add the drained chickpeas, then season with the dried oregano, salt and pepper. Mix it all together to disperse the seasoning, then roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
When the 20 minutes is up, add the olives to the pan and toss all the veggies together. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes to finish roasting.
Meanwhile, grab the hummus, lemon and dill to make the lemon dill hummus. Zest and juice the lemon, then add them to the hummus container, along with some chopped dill. Stir it up and give it a taste! Add a little more lemon if you think it needs it.
Once all the components are prepped, cooked and cooled, get out your meal prep containers. Portion the quinoa and the veggies evenly between 3-4 containers.
If you’re planning to microwave the bowls, store the hummus separately or in a cup that you can remove from the bowl before reheating. Otherwise, portion the hummus evenly between the meal prep containers as well.
Grains to use for grain bowls:
In my opinion, the best grain to use for a grain bowl is the one you like the most! I’m super familiar with quinoa, so that’s what I tend to gravitate towards. You can even use rice if you want to practice making the bowls without introducing a new grain quiet yet.
Generally, any grain can be used for grain bowls. Using a whole grain is recommended by some. Quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, farro, barley, and bulghur are all great choices for grain bowls.
Best tips for making these grain bowls:
Here are my tips for making the best Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowls:
- Store hummus separately or in removable cups (pictured) so you can reheat the bowls without heating the hummus. You can also add a fresh squeeze of lemon juice or more chopped dill to brighten up the dish before serving.
- Customize it! Grain bowls are meant to be customized. If you have a favorite veggie you want to add or you want to use a different grain, I say go for it.
- Use a sharp knife. Cutting and prepping lots of vegetables can take up some time, but using a sharp knife makes the process a lot safer and more efficient. I use my Misen Chef’s Knife almost every day!
Ways to customize this grain bowl meal prep:
Here are a few ideas for customizing this recipe:
- Change up the roasted veggies or the grain choice with your favorites.
- If you plan on serving the bowls warm (they are however delicious cold!), red onion and diced eggplant would make great additions.
- If you’d like to change up two of the portions, stir 1/2 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika into half of the hummus mixture.
- Don’t be afraid of adding more toppings – lots of grain bowls also have some nuts or seeds included, or maybe even some fresh veggies like cucumber or something pickled like red onions.
Where do you get those meal prep containers?
The containers I used in the photos for this recipe are 3-cup Rectangular Glass Containers made by Pyrex. They’re good, but not great: the plastic lids tend to warp after a while (I try to always hand wash them), and if you’re not careful, the edges of the glass can chip.
I’ve stopped stacking any kind of glass containers inside of each other because I realized this increases the chances of chipping the edges of the glass or getting the containers stuck together. I love glass containers, but sometimes there can be downsides!
How do you meal prep this Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl recipe?
This recipe was made for meal prep! The instructions include a basic meal prep strategy of portioning all the ingredients into containers with lids. Here are all the ways to save time with this meal prep recipe:
- Complete meal prep: Make the recipe as written and portion the ingredients evenly into four meal prep containers. Keep the hummus separate or in small removable cups if you’re planning to reheat the meal. Enjoy the meals over the next 4 days.
- Ingredient prep: Prep some of the ingredients for this recipe, so when you’re ready to make it later or tomorrow, some of the work is already done. The quinoa can be cooked ahead of time, and the lemon dill hummus can also be mixed up ahead of time. Chop and prep all the veggies too if there’s time! These steps could save significant time when you go to cook the recipe, if that’s what you need.
- Enjoy now & later: Prepare all the ingredients and make the recipe as written. Enjoy a portion for lunch or dinner right now, then store leftover portions in meal prep containers with lids and use up with 4 days.
Is this recipe freezer-friendly?
I would not recommend freezing this recipe as a whole due to the roasted vegetables. They would definitely change texture after being frozen and I don’t think the recipe would be quite so enjoyable.
It is possible to freeze hummus or cooked quinoa if you find yourself with leftovers. I love using my Souper Cubes trays for freezing stuff like this (1-Cup Souper Cubes Trays or a smaller size would work best.)
How to store this Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl Meal Prep:
Store airtight meal prep containers in the refrigerator and enjoy within 4 days. If you plan on microwaving these bowls to serve warm, store the hummus separately in the fridge or in removable cups within the meal prep containers.
How to reheat this Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl Meal Prep:
These bowls are delicious directly from the fridge! But they’re also delicious warmed up. To reheat, loosely cover the meal with the lid and microwave on High in 1 minute intervals until heated through before serving with the hummus. This recipe would also reheat well in a HotLogic Mini Oven – read my review here!
This Mediterranean Inspired Grain Bowl Meal Prep is loaded with roasted zucchini, bell peppers and chickpeas, served with a creamy lemon dill hummus. Enjoy this deliciously filling vegetarian make-ahead lunch served hot or cold!
For the Grain Bowls:
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 3 large or 4 medium red, yellow and orange bell peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, about 1 heaping cup chopped
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- kosher salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup black olives
For the Lemon Dill Hummus:
- 1 (10-ounce) container plain hummus
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- Cook the quinoa: Cook the quinoa as per box directions in either water or low sodium chicken broth.
- Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 430F and toss the chopped peppers, zucchini and drained chickpeas together with the oil, dried oregano and a generous amount to salt and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Add the olives to the sheet pan and toss the vegetables so they cook evenly. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
- Make the Lemon Dill Hummus: Stir the lemon zest, dill and lemon juice into the hummus. Add a little more lemon juice to taste, if needed. This will depend on your brand of hummus. If your hummus is still not of a (relatively thick) spooning consistency, thin it with a little cold water.
- Meal prep it: Divide the cooked quinoa, roasted veggies and the Lemon Dill Hummus between 3-4 meal prep containers. If you plan on microwaving these to serve them warm, store the hummus separately. Put the lids on and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, loosely cover the meal with the lid and microwave on High in 1 minute intervals until heated through before serving with the hummus.
Customize: If you plan on serving the bowls warm (they are however delicious cold!), red onion and diced eggplant would make great additions. If you’d like to change up a few of the portions, stir 1/2 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika into half of the hummus mixture.
Quinoa: If you’re prepping quinoa for multiple recipes, this recipe uses 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.
Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 490
- Fat: 24g
- Carbohydrates: 51g
- Protein: 16g
Recipe developed by Rachel Phipps.