My Go-To Formula for the Savory Breakfast Grain Bowl

Breakfasts for me used to always be sweet. Maybe because I am such a sweetie.

I definitely inherited my mother’s sweet tooth, because I always wanted pancakes, waffles, or that yogurt that is basically chocolate mousse in a cup. Do you know what I am talking about? Yoplait Whips were definitely breakfast food back in my 10 year old mind. That being said, I also love a good eggy meal…only I usually make them for lunch or dinner instead of breakfast. I dunno why, but it might have to do with the fact that I never really got into eggs until I was in college. Being a vegetarian and in need of some protein, I learned to get over my dislike of eggs. I still ate pancakes, but eggs were just such an easy option for a busy college student at 9 PM who had not eaten anything

So on weekend nights, I virtually inhaled omelets

However, lately, I’ve been veering away from my sweet breakfasts and have been all into the savory breakfasts. One of my go-to’s is the savory grain bowl. I have always and will continue to love the carbs. Lately, my favorite snack has been just a bowl of quinoa with some avocado, preserved lemon, olive oil, and sea salt. Do not knock it until you try it. It is just so darn good. But, when I am making a grain bowl for a meal, I add more things to make it more substantial. It remains one of my most popular types of Instagram posts and I get a ton of questions as to how I make them.

I always have a formula for these bad boys when I make them for myself. The original bowl was inspired by a bowl at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Slipstream, but lately I’ve been sticking this basic formula, but changing up the components. All you def need is a grain, a green, and the egg. I also inevitably add some sort of veggie and sauce, but you can feel free to do it however you want. So many layers of awesomeness right? What I really love about this recipe though is that you can pretty much prepare everything in advance and then assemble in the morning. And, if you are into the whole breakfast for dinner thing, it is a quick and easy dinner in under thirty! Oh yes!

Part #1: The Grain:

For me, a good grain bowl starts with, well, the grain itself. The grains contain a ton of fiber, which will keep you feeling full and complex carbohydrates to provide you energy for your morning. I have found that a good breakfast grain is something that can last in the fridge without getting goopy or weird. My personal favorites are farro, red wheatberries, and brown basmati rice (aka my go to!). However, I have also enjoyed bowls made with steel cut oats, quinoa, barley, freekeh, and even polenta. To cook wheatberries, rice, or farro, I boil it like pasta until the grains are tender, approximately 35-40 minutes.  Every grain listed here will last in the fridge for 4-5 days, so I like to make a batch to lasts for breakfasts throughout the week. I sometimes will just serve the grains plain, but I might also add sliced green onion, lemon or lime juice, or onion salt.

How to make delicious brown rice

Add 12 cups (yes, 12 cups) of water to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add rice and cook for 30 minutes. Then drain for 30 seconds, return to pot off of heat, and cover for 10 minutes. Set aside.

How to make delicious farro

Rinse farro under cold water, drop it in a medium saucepan and cover it with a bunch of fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, or until it’s cooked through, but still slightly chewy. You can add more water as it cooks if necessary.

Part #2: The EGG (or your fav vegan protein)

Now, if you are vegan or have an egg allergy, you can easily substitute scrambled tofu or chickpeas. However, my favorite part of these bowls is the egg. There is something so luscious about incorporating the yolk with all of the greens and grains. Plus, eggs provide the protein in this bowl, so I am all over this. You can cook the egg whatever way you would like. MY favorite way to do eggs for this bowl is soft boiled. Not only do they taste luscious, the yolk helps to create the sauce for the bowl. I call it the lazy man’s poach just because they are so darn easy to make.

To make the soft boiled egg:

Heat water in a pot over medium heat until the water comes to a rolling simmer. Lower eggs into water using a slotted spoon and set the timer for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Once the timer goes off, remove eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and run under cold water for about 5 minutes. Cooked eggs can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Part #3: The Greens

I pretty much eat something green in every meal I make, so greens for me are a non-negotiable. Because I normally bring this bowl to work, I will pick greens that will stand up to reheating. My personal favorite is arugula, but feel free to add Swiss chard, kale, spinach, or even a mix! If you do not plan to reheat the bowl once you make it, feel free to toss in some romaine or mixed greens. If I am using kale or swiss chard, I might saute them in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Otherwise, I would massage kale or swiss chard in olive oil and salt.

Optional But Highly Recommended Add Ons

Part #4: Something Veggie

Now, this aspect of the bowl is completely optional. However, you have not lived until you have added some sort of raw, roasted, or fermented goodness into your bowl. This is truly where you can be creative and let the flavors of the season shine! Some of my favorite add-ons are kimchi, shaved radish, avocado, tomatoes, and roasted cauliflower

Part #5: The Sauce

Again, totally optional, but I never miss an opportunity to sauce it up. There are so many options for this, so feel free to dip into your refrigerator to mix and match all of your favorite condiments in your fridge. Hot sauce, Sriracha, yogurt, Dijon mustard, hummus, guacamole, and pesto are all fantastic options.

Some combos!

Farro + Radish + Avocado + Kale + Thai Curry Hummus + Hard Boiled Egg

Brown Basmati Rice + Spinach + Pesto + Pickled Beet + Soft Boiled Egg + Everything Bagel Seasoning

Beet Juice Polenta + Fried Egg + Red Cabbage + Beets + Chickpeas

Basmati Rice + Fried Egg + Green Beans + Roasted Beets + Spinach + Green Hot Sauce + Yogurt

Wheatberries + Green Onion + Soft Boiled Egg + Kimchi + Watermelon Radish + Sesame


Now go forth and make some savory breakfast bowls. You’ll thank me later.


  1. GENIUS! I have been having the same breakfast for years now (a chocolate protein type powder, with water and ice and 1/4 cup oatmeal, a banana, and pb powder all blended up) and am ready for a more "whole food" type breakfast and this combo sounds great! Thanks for sharing!
    1. Yes babe! I was in the same rut too so I totally understand.

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