Fitness Focus: Super Fuel Grain Bowl

As I may have mentioned, I am constantly hungry at work due to the whole running in the AM thing. I may have found something to counterract it, though. This bowl:

It’s the perfect package of healthy fuel for your body, whether you are running, working long hours or just wanting to enjoy a fresh (vegan!) meal. Here is how I know: I had one late last night for dinner after I ran an unusually fast four miles. This morning, I wasn’t that hungry. I am usually STARVING. I still ate a good breakfast (fruit/yogurt smoothie!) and may have also had a cookie, but when lunch rolled around, instead of my usually ravaged hunger I was just kinda hungry. I started eating at 1:15. That never happens!

And if you need more convincing, here’s what this grain bowl brings to the party: whole grains, tons of iron, protein and vitamins!

This will definitely be a recurring and endlessly flexible lunch food in my playbook. It can also be gluten free so easily – just use quinoa instead of the bulgur wheat.

For two large servings, you will need:

  • 1 cup of dry bulgur
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked/cannedĀ chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seed meats
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach, torn (yes, this much! because it will reduce down to less than half of that šŸ™‚ )
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh mincedĀ garlic (or more to taste)

Start by preparing your bulgur.Ā Add it toĀ the 2 cups water and a large pinch of salt in a saucepan, cover and bring it to a boil. Cook until the water is absorbed – ten minutes or so. When the water is absorbed, remove from heat, stir in the fresh parsley and lemon juice.Ā Replace the lid and set aside while you finish the rest. This will infuse the bulgur a little bit – I also loveĀ using the same method with with cilantro and rice!

Meanwhile, put 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic and spinach. Salt liberally and stir to make sure it wilts evenly.This will take maybe five minutes to wilt down to probably a cup and a half – if that.

Serve in bowls: use the bulgur (or quinoa!) as a base. In this case I did a fun stripe pattern, but you could also do layers (start with the spinach, then chickpeas). Chop the tomato (or you could roast it like I did earlier this week) and add it on top of the chickpeas and follow with the sunflower seeds. Season liberally with freshly ground pepper and coarse salt. You may wish to drizzle with a little bit more olive oil, or what I really enjoy is using a lemon-infused olive oil that we bought at Oregon Olive Mills (nonsponsored recommendation, FWIW).


  1. I haqve been handling the exercise (with you as a cheerleader) but I am missing the mark on food – this is what I need! Perfect!!!!

    Comment by Missy — July 6, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  2. I am obsessed! You have to try it šŸ™‚

    Comment by bekky — July 6, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

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