Chicken Vegetables and Grains Protein Bowl

Protein-rich chicken vegetables and grains recipe

Protein-rich chicken vegetables and grains recipe

Our chicken vegetables and grains protein bowl has more than four layers to it. Separately each layer is a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor, but together the whole thing is almost decadent. The mixed grains are hearty, crunchy and soft. The yams are sweet and sour. The chicken is flavorful and moist. The mushrooms are subtle and full of umami. The onion is tender with a slight bite. And the pesto brings it all together with a zesty herbs, slight bitterness, garlic and just enough oil to add moisture where it is needed.


Is it Yams? Is it Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes of any variety work well with this recipe.

Protein Rich Grains

Farro and Quinoa

Protein-rich grains that give chicken a run for its money.

Chicken Vegetables and Grains Bowl

This recipe was inspired by the Ancient Grains Bowl at True Food Kitchen. We modified it to include chicken, and simplified the vinaigrette for the sweet potatoes.

by The Lore | March 2019

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 75 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 8



  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced *
  • 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric, minced *
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced *
  • 8 cloves cardamom slightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves *
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups of water

Not-Overly-Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce *
  • 2 tablespoons spicy yozu or sesame chili oil *
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil *

Vegetables & Chicken

  • 2 medium onions, cut thin *
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms (any variety)
  • 4 sweet potatoes, cubed into 1 to 1.5 inch pieces *
  • 10 ounces snap sugar peas *
  • 10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs *
  • 12 cloves of garlic, minced*
  • 3 avocados, sliced or cubed
  • Olive oil*
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout spices
  • Salt to taste

Cilantro Pesto

  • 2 bunches cilantro, leaves and stems *
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (salted or unsalted)
  • 8 garlic cloves*
  • 4 oranges juiced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4 limes juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil*
  • 1/2 cup olive oil*



  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Adjust the oven rack to the middle (or lower middle) position.
  2. Wash all the grains (farro, rice, quinoa) well. Soak the grains for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  3. Place the grains in an oven-safe dutch oven or baker with a lid, add all the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 75 minutes or until the grains reach the level of tenderness/doneness you like.
  5. When the grains are cooked through, remove from the oven. Take out the cardamom and bay leaves and discard. Use the back of a spoon to fluff the grains. Put the lid back on to retain the heat. Serve warm.
  6. While the grains are cooking, work on the pesto, vinaigrette, and vegetables and chicken.

Not-Overly-Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette

  1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine.

Vegetables and Chicken

  1. Sweet Potatoes: place the sweet potato cubes on a baking sheet and bake in a 375ºF oven for 30 minutes or until soft and tender. They can be cooked in the same oven with the grains.
  2. Let the potatoes cool then place them in a medium bowl and drizzle the Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette all over them. Toss to make sure every piece is covered with the vinaigrette.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  4. Chicken: mix ras el hanout with two tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Rub each chicken piece with the spice mix. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes or up 24 hours.
  6. Heat a large skillet or braiser (that has a cover) on medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken to the oil.
  7. Brown the chicken on one side only. Turn the chicken and lower the heat to low. Add 3/4 of the minced garlic (9 cloves) and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix. Cover the skillet and let the chicken cook for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF.
  8. Once cooked take off the heat and let the chicken cool slightly. Salt to taste.
  9. Shred or cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Serve warm.
  10. Mushrooms: heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the mushrooms and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and 3 minced cloves of garlic (what was left after we used some for the chicken). Salt to taste and stir. Let it simmer and reduce uncovered for 10 minutes.
  11. Snap Sugar Peas: heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the snap peas and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water. Let it simmer and reduce uncovered for 15 minutes.
  12. Onions: heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until golden brown. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes.

Cilantro Pesto

  1. Combine all the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until it liquifies.
  2. The pesto should be thick but you can thin it further by adding more olive oil.
  3. Serve the pesto at room temperature.

To Serve

  1. Serve all the layers that make up the chicken vegetables and grains bowl in separate serving plates and let everyone layer their own bowl however they like.


  1. All the layers of this bowl can be cooked in advance and heated (minus the avocado and the pesto) minutes before serving.
  2. Not all cilantro bunches are the same weight. When making the pesto, add the olive oil gradually to gauge the liquidity of the mixture.
  3. Start checking on the grain to test for doneness after 45 minutes of cooking.
  4. Goat cheese and eggs, salmon and sesame, or grilled steak, can be substituted for the chicken.

Denotes items that we prefer to be organic. Read more about it here: Items to buy organic when grocery shopping.